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Dance With Us Platform Launch and Party with Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company

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Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company launches Dance With Us, an educational digital platform centered around the premiere of multiple dance films.

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Dance With Us: An Educational Digital Platform Launches!

With Premieres of a Series of New Dance Films

June 25-27, 2021 at 7pm ET

New York-based nonprofit performing and teaching organization Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company presents Dance With Us, an educational digital platform centered around the premiere of a series of new dance films. The resource launches from June 25-27, 2021 at 7pm ET (same program repeated on three successive evenings) with the premieres of the films and the reveal of the platform, a website whose URL will go live at this moment.

Opening Night will be hosted by emcees Daniel and guest Dante Puleio, Artistic Director of the celebrated Limón Dance Company. The kickoff events include an exclusive guided tour of the website, a screening of several short films, the World Premieres of Willow and Dollhouse, and previews of six new dance films that will launch monthly through the end of 2021. The events are free with advance registration. Donations are accepted via the Company’s PayPal Giving Fund, where 100% of contributions go to the nonprofit. Mixing discussions, dancing, and conversations, the interactive premiere promises to be highly accessible, entertaining and educational.

This multi-faceted project explains ways to view and speak about dance. Utilizing performance and studio footage, the resource demystifies concert dance by teaching fundamental concepts of the art form. This digital resource will be distributed widely and freely, contributing to the Open Educational Resources movement (OER), a commitment to equity, inclusion, and accessibility. The resource will be available to anyone regardless of geographic location. Multiple partnerships will ensure the impact on students, professionals, and the general viewership. The Company will also provide the resource to channels, institutions, libraries, public and private schools (K-12, Higher Education), and culturally based organizations.

Schedule of Events

6:45pm: House Opens with Pre-Show Slideshow of 200 Company Photographs

7:00-8:00pm: Program: Film Premieres and Special Guests

8:00-8:30pm: After Party: Dance With Us!

8:30-9:00pm: Cool Down and Discussion

Watch the exciting DANCE WITH US Trailer!

Says Daniel, the Project's Choreographer and Filmmaker

“Contemporary dance has been seeping more and more into the mainstream culture for decades, enhanced with the advent of shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars. With the proliferation of dance online, increased exponentially during the pandemic, more people are arguably seeing contemporary dance than ever. And an appetite for innovative choreography is a byproduct of this exposure. The development of Dance With Us was in place years before the pandemic, with resources that have been created over the past two decades, an extension of programming we have offered as a company since our inception in 1998. We have long been committed to conversing about dance, empowering audiences to trust their opinions, and gain more knowledge of dance in pursuit of expanding one’s dance literacy. The ubiquity of dance on film, finding more currency in popular culture, is not going to change. This platform gives everyone, regardless of their exposure to dance, tools to use to speak about dance, encouraging them to understand their viewpoint is as valid as that of an ‘expert.’ At this moment when there is so much dance to see, this platform seeks to serve as a how-to primer.”

Highlights of the Program Launch

  • Parade, a brief film for the ensemble, acts as a curtain for the evening.
  • Tour of the Site: the platform will be revealed and explained.
  • Watch excerpts of the pedagogical films.
  • View the Library, an archive of dance films and filmed performances.
  • Featured films Willow and Dollhouse premiere.
  • A first glimpse at a suite of new films produced during the pandemic.
  • Sneak Peek at the upcoming dance films to be launched this year .

Premieres

Willow and Dollhouse. These films were created in August 2020, early on in the pandemic, when the Company came together for a residency in Newfield, NY, near Ithaca. Precautionary measures to test, self-isolate and stick to a limited bubble, allowed the dancers to rehearse and create outdoors in a range of stunning landscapes, from forests to meadows.

Willow

The film, showcasing an ensemble of dancers moving in unison in a variety of natural settings, finds inspiration from the transformative process of a tree. Filmed last summer, the title of the piece and the nature of it resonates at this time. Trees bloom again and so will we. There is much beauty in what we can accomplish despite seemingly stagnant positions. The metaphor of the willow suggests the good that can come from reconnecting to one's roots, or from planting new seeds in order to form new roots, or connections, in one's life. An elegy for those that passed from the pandemic, Willow is set to Scott Joplin’s stirring Weeping Willow.

Dollhouse

Filmed in an eccentric interior, a series of vignettes animate an eclectic cast of ten in this dollhouse which comes to life. Dollhouse toys with the trope of a traveling troupe of performers seeking to entertain, challenging the viewer to determine for whom the performance is happening, questioning the perspectives of performance itself. Colorful, humorous, moody, and exuberant, Dollhouse features unmasked dancers in proximate relationships set to a breakneck version of Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm, played by pianist Jonny May.

After Party

Each night, the Company will host a 30-minute interactive dance party, with Daniel--and guest Dante Puleio opening night--teaching an array of fun, easy-to-learn social dances, including his signature, the 1970s classic The Bus Stop. Designed for everyone, the night promises to finish on a high and energized note.

Discussion

Then stay with us immediately after for an interactive half-hour to cool down and continue the conversation of dance, an open forum where viewers can engage directly with the Company.

History of Dance With Us

This project is aligned with the Company’s core values, pedagogy, and programming, which have consistently gained acclaim. Narrated films will present favorite dances from the Company's repertory, illuminate dance histories, provide wellness best practices, and showcase the Company through behind-the-scenes footage and inter-views. The project is also aligned with the production of dance films the Company has consistently created the past ten years. April 2021, the Company’s acclaimed film Terrain (2015) screens at the Videoskin Festival in Nepal. Watch the 40-second Trailer!

Six months prior to the pandemic shutting down life in the U.S., the Rockefeller Brothers Fund allocated a grant to the Company toward the creation of an interactive educational digital resource geared toward a general viewership. Dance With Us seeks to bridge the divide separating dance from mainstream culture, underscoring the primacy, purpose, and possibility of dance in contemporary life. Combining the instructional with the performative, the resource aims to increase the public’s knowledge of dance and their dance literacy, to share the love of dance, and to introduce ways to view, speak about, and participate in dance with comfort. The platform seeks to demystify concert/contemporary dance.

“Being in touch with humanity and understanding empathy is articulated and sharpened through the arts,” said Daniel. “Art in general provides that opportunity to be in touch with the range of emotions and the range of connections that make us tick as humans. And dance specifically, where you are literally sharing somebody’s weight, you’re holding somebody’s hand, you’re looking in their eyes. You’re having an analog connection, not a digital connection, in this increasing age of more and more technology and distractions. The spirit of being alive comes through art.”

About Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company

A teaching and performing organization celebrating its 22nd Anniversary in 2021, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company has demonstrated a commitment to education since its inception. The Company has stayed true to its mission of cultivating the creation of innovative art and presenting this to the public in interactive, accessible, and meaningful ways. The Company believes everyone can join the dance. Programs encourage audiences to be active participants, integrating communities into the dance-making and performing processes, and teaching how dance can play a meaningful part of one’s physical and overall health.

With a large repertory noted for its entertaining flair, stylistic diversity, musicality, and humor, DGDC consistently delivers high-energy performances. Blending virtuosic precision with pedestrian ease, the dancers are renown for their charisma. The Company is “a troupe I’d follow anywhere” (The Village Voice), a “troupe of fabulous dancers” (Back Stage) that “can’t help but smile” (The New Yorker). Operating with the philosophy that everyone can join the dance, DGDC has demonstrated a commitment to education since its inception in 1998. The Company’s interactive programming, known for its infectious energy and accessibility, captivates the greatest common denominator among diverse populations and provides a range of innovative, accessible programming. The Company is known equally for its innovative choreography and for its family-friendly events and community-building projects. DGDC thrives on collaborations with cultural organizations and institutions. All of the programs are tailored through an active collaboration with local presenters. They are interested in a touring model where community ex-change bookends projects in extended ways and technology plays a key role and seek to bridge the divide separating dance from the mainstream culture, underscoring the primacy, purpose, and possibility of dance in contemporary life. The Company believes that dance’s power to shift people’s perceptions and identities, one person at a time, can create transformative ripples into society at large.

About Daniel Gwirtzman

Daniel Gwirtzman–producer, director, educator, filmmaker and dancer–celebrates twenty-six years as a New York choreographer and company director. His diverse repertory has earned praise for its humor, stylistic versatility, musicality, charisma and accessibility. “A flair for the entertaining,” says critic Elizabeth Zimmer. “Mr. Gwirtzman does know that in dance less can be more. And that’s a good thing for any choreographer to know” writes The New York Times. The New Yorker describes him as a choreographer of “high spirits and skill.”

For the New York City-based Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, he has created more than one hundred repertory works known for their playful virtuosity, blending robust physicality with universal themes. His choreography has been performed at venues throughout the country and abroad. He has been awarded commissions, residencies and fellowships from institutions including the Joyce Theater Foundation (NY), Ucross Foundation (WY), The Studios at Key West (FL), Aktuelle Architektur der Kultur (Spain), Dora Maar House (France), The Yard (MA), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (MA), CUNY Dance Initiative (NYC), Djerassi Resident Artists Program (CA), Sfakiotes (Greece), Gdański Festiwal Tanca (Poland), Raumars (Finland) and the Sacatar Foundation (Brazil).

A master teacher, Gwirtzman has worked at numerous universities. He has been a full-time faculty member at SUNY Buffalo State, Kennesaw State University, and The University of the Arts and is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Ithaca College’s renown Department of Theatre Arts. Daniel holds degrees from The University of Michigan and The University of Wisconsin. He danced in the companies of Garth Fagan Dance and the Mark Morris Dance Group among others. He co-founded Artichoke Dance Company in 1995, which The New York Times called “a welcome addition to the New York dance scene.” As a dancer he has been described as “a willowy John Travolta, sensual, playful, a rag doll, unusually supple, and one who moves like the wind.”

About Daniel and Dante

Daniel and Dante, known as D and D, will co-host opening night’s launch. Known through the National Dance Education Organization, as a dynamic dj team, the duo has kept the party going for the past three years running, starting in La Jolla, CA (2018), then to Miami, FL (2019), before hitting a feverish pitch for NDEO’s first annual virtual conference. Their choreographed antics bring full-on theatricality and full-on spirit to any dance party.

View D and D in action!

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