BWW Interview: The Architecture of a Gesture - Daniel Gwirtzman at BAM
Over the past eight weeks the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company has been celebrating its 15th birthday with a dance film series that encompasses the spirit and breadth of the Company's work. From site-specific vignettes, to the exploration of relationships between dancers and their environments, each film serves as a narrative of Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company's creative prowess.
The celebratory film journey began with a series of films "For the Camera," showcasing Gwirtzman's versatile approach to choreography. The first five films in the series, which are available on YouTube, explored on-location influences-from the bustle of Grand Central Station, to the exploration of an abandoned barn through movement. Series 2, "Made in Brazil," a collection of five dance film premieres, takes Gwirtzman back to Brazil 10 years after a fellowship which presented him an opportunity to travel and work in Bahia. These films depict Gwirtzman's intimate journey through the landscapes and people of Brazil.
"It was about time and space. A rejuvenation, through topography, through weather, but most importantly through the people," Daniel says.
The "Bahian Time," Gwirtzman explains, gave him the depth of breath to explore new movements through an "eloquent joy," a time of reflection that turned out to be a celebration of what Gwirtzman has been doing for the past 15 years - bringing people together through dance gestures.
"Energy, energy, energy," he declares. Gwirtzman's work explores the dynamics between people through abstraction of movement. It is a search for a human essence in the aesthetic, never just form for form's sake.
The sense of community is a recurring theme in his work and films. In the series there is a film called "Into the Streets." Filmed during historic protests over economic crisis, Gwirtzman and a cast of Brazilian dancers took to the streets of Salvador "in a peaceful response to the violent uprisings."
"It was an act of solidarity," he explains. This emphasizes Gwirtzman's mantra that "Dance is for everyone."
Through collective intersections, there is a cohesion that comes together in his oeuvre, where a raising of an arm can mean unity, as in the case of "Into the Streets." He calls it "humanity at work."
The film series will culminate in three dance shows at BAM, which Daniel sees as a totally different way of engagement.
"In film, your energy focuses towards the camera," he explains. "There are variables on locations that affect the movement, the gaze, and the conversation."
"The interaction with the audience is something completely different. The energy is focused through the relationship of the dancers in the space."
"It's not the stage. It's the camaraderie, the effort to try something new."
His live work is shaped by the audience as a kind of a vessel in which the dancers move. They share the energy with the audience, engaging not only in the moment, but even after the show in conversation and dialogue.
"People, not just abstractions," he reiterates. For him, an interaction with people is the means for the individual to find a way into the dance.
Also an educator, Gwirtzman promotes the idea that the dance is ubiquitous because for him dance," explores the complexities of human relations."
"How do I see Daniel Gwirtzman 30?" he laughs.
"A deeper institutionalization of the company, cultivating partnerships, and continuing our joyful mission to engage people in dance, because there is room for everyone at the table, and the more people there are, the bigger the table."
For information of the 14 dance films, part of this 15 year anniversary celebration, go to http://gwirtzmandance.org/schedule.
The company will culminate their 15th Anniversary season with a large robust cast of dancers in a weekend long season-the first multi-show season in five years. "The Oracle" will premiere on May 30th at BAM Fisher.