This weekend, June 25-27, 7 p.m., New York-based nonprofit performing and teaching organization Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company – founded by the eponymous producer, director, educator, filmmaker, dancer and choreographer in 1998, and known for its playful virtuosity, stylistic versatility, physical toughness and universal themes – launches its new digital educational platform dance with us.
The mission of this multi-faceted project is to explain ways of seeing and talking about dance, using performance and studio images to demystify concert dance by teaching the fundamental concepts of the art form. The free digital resource will be widely distributed, to chains, institutional libraries, public and private schools (K-12 and higher education) and cultural organizations, contributing to the open educational resources (OER) movement, with a commitment to the equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
“Contemporary dance has increasingly seeped into mainstream culture for decades, bolstered by the advent of performances such as So you think you can dance and Dancing with the stars. With the proliferation of line dancing, which has grown exponentially during the pandemic, arguably more people are seeing contemporary dance than ever,” Gwirtzman said. “The ubiquity of dance in movies, finding more currency in popular culture, is not going to change. This platform gives everyone, regardless of their exposure to dance, tools to talk about dance, the encouraging people to understand that their point of view is as valid as that of an “expert.” At a time when there is so much dance to see, this platform seeks to serve as an introduction to the practice.
Highlights of the free interactive launch program, mixing discussions and dancing, include a pre-event slideshow of 200 company photos starting at 6:45 p.m.; the two-minute ensemble film Appetizers: Parade; a virtual guided walking tour of the website and archives of the dance and performance film library documenting the history of the Company; excerpts from educational films; and a preview of six new upcoming dance movies that will debut monthly through the end of 2021.
The launch will also include the world premieres of three new dance films produced during the pandemic: willowset to Scott Joplin’s “Weeping Willow” and inspired by the process of a tree’s transformation; dolls house, a series of vignettes on a fast version of “I Got Rhythm” by Gershwin (played by pianist Jonny May) and filmed in an eccentric interior where the dolls come to life; and The Fantasyland Projecta collaboration between choreographer Gwirtzman and a cast of sixteen dancers, exploring the notion of fantasy through a range of lenses.
The inaugural program will be repeated on three successive nights, with emcee Gwirtzman joined by special guest hosts each night: Dante Puleio, artistic director of the Limón Dance Company, on Friday June 25; Tiffany Rea-Fisher, artistic director of Elisa Monte Dance, Saturday, June 26; and Seán Curran, artistic director of the Seán Curran Company, on Sunday, June 27. Michael Novak, artistic director of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, will appear virtually with a special message on all three nights.
Each live stream will conclude with a half-hour interactive discussion in an open forum from 8 p.m. 9 p.m., with Gwirtzman and this evening’s special guest teach an array of easy-to-learn social dances. Daniel and Dante, the dynamic DJ team known as D and D, will be the co-hosts of the evening.
dance with us is free, with prior registration required; to RSVP, go in line. Donations are accepted through the company’s PayPal Giving Fund, with 100% of contributions supporting the nonprofit organization. For a preview, watch the trailer below: