REHEARSING AND PERFORMING
On this page you can gain insight into the way dancers prepare and practice for performances. Enter the intimacy of the studio through rehearsal videos and observe how it is that dancers work. Again, Again, Again! The dancer's live is built around repetition. The process of acquiring and maintaining technique is life-long.
IN THE STUDIO WITH ENCORE
In this rare, never-before-seen, footage, you can enter the rehearsal studio with the Company and watch the dancers as they rehearse Encore for the 2009 New York Musical Theater Festival production. Founding Company member Cary McWilliam, pregnant at the time, makes an appearance, supporting the choreographer as the rehearsal director. The all-star cast works hard while maintaining a great sense of levity. The energy of the room is palpable! Enjoy this fun opportunity to go behind-the-scenes!
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THE REHEARSAL PROCESS
It’s insightful to observe the rehearsal process. When Encore was set on students at the Joffrey Ballet School, a mini-documentary was made which includes interviews with the dancers and close-up footage of the dances. Encore means again in French and there’s no getting around how central repetition is to a dancer’s life. Enjoy this rare look at these pre-professional dancers tackling the challenges of Encore’s quick and complicated choreography.
Warming up and stretching is most important for the dancer. The body has a great capacity to stretch. While some people are naturally more flexible, stretching the body over time can increase one’s flexibility. Warming the body is to prepare the body, along with the mind for the focused work dance requires. There are several videos to view on The Dancer page!
The dancers take a class in the show Encore. They demonstrate the way dancers work together to perfect their craft, a source of daily pleasure and inspiration. The name of this dance is Class.
The muscle memory dancers speak about is an important aspect to performance. With the repetition of rehearsals, the body gains a knowledge of steps and sequences that eventually becomes a second nature. The dancer’s mind does not have to work as hard to remember or focus on the choreography, liberating the artist to focus on how one is performing, rather than on what one is doing. To hear more about muscle memory, watch Ivy's interview on the Dancer Interviews page.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Get a closer look at dancers rehearsing in the studio in the photos below.
EXAMPLES OF REHEARSALS
Concise films of rehearsals bring viewers into the dance-making and dance-rehearsing processes, and edited films from talkbacks provide hours of content explaining both the technical and practical sides of the art and the interpretive. Up-close and personal footage of celebrated casts!
LEARNING NEW MATERIAL AS A TRIO
SERIOUS FUN IN THE STUDIO
REHEARSING I GOT RHYTHM
IN THE STUDIO AS AFFRONT IS CHOREOGRAPHED
FROM THE STUDIO TO THE STAGE
Hover over a photo to see the rehearsal version transform into the stage version.
Dance is a performing art for a reason. The transaction of performance is not complete until it has been presented, whether that’s for a sizable audience or a single viewer. While the dancer spends most of their time in the studio rehearsing, it is only in performance that the full range of the dancer’s magic comes to fruition.
PUTTING A SEASON TOGETHER
Accompanying the process of moving from rehearsal to performance is the simultaneous promotion of the performance event. Promotional videos are designed to share with a potential audience some of the content, or similar content, that they can expect to see at the performance. This compilation features promotions for two seasons: 2019’s Intersections and 2021’s An Evening of Love Dances.
THE CURTAIN CALL
The bows which follows a performance is called the curtain call, whether it takes place in front of an actual curtain or not. The curtain call is an opportunity for the audience to thank the performers for their work. The bow is the dancers’ acknowledgment of this applause; it is the way the dancers express their thanks in return. The transaction between the audience and the performer continues all the way through a show. With the curtain call the space which has separated them, referred to as the fourth wall in the theater, is erased or broken. In this choreographed bow, from the show Encore, the conceit is that the choreographer is teaching an idea for a bow in real time, spontaneously, to the dancers, in front of the actual audience. The fourth wall is not broken, meaning the dancers are portraying their characters in earnest without acknowledging the audience. This is a choreographed bow within the context of a scripted show.
A CHOREOGRAPHED BOW
One of the most important positions in all of dance, show business, and theater is that of the understudy. A dancer that is as skilled and talented as any other dancer in a cast, the understudy learns multiple roles and is there waiting in the wings to go on in the event they are needed. Being responsible for numerous dancers’ parts make this job incredibly demanding intellectually as well as physically. In this video of Rose Room you can observe the scripted understudies learning the duet the main couple is dancing.
There are only so many audience members in one’s hometown, even if that is a large city. Touring is a part of a dancer’s, and a dance company’s, life. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile -- a van is typically more common when driving is possible -- touring brings new dances to a community, and brings new places to experience to the dancers. Historically, dancers have been used as ambassadors to promote good will and friendship along with their art, when touring to other countries.
APPRENTICES AND INTERNS
Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company’s GATE Apprenticeship Program, structured formally as such since 2012, provides training for budding professionals. Select dancers, whether by application or direct invitation, work closely with Artistic Director Daniel Gwirtzman and the Company.
The Company recognizes the importance of the time-honored tradition of apprenticing with a master. We believe there is neither a shortcut for devoting time in the studio to practice one’s craft nor is there a substitute to receiving specialized hands-on attention, direction and supervision. With a sensitivity to the economic climate, and the shortage of dance jobs, the Apprenticeship Program provides paid opportunities for unemployed and underemployed dancers to continue their education while developing a relationship with a choreographer and company director. The program provides mentoring from the Director as well as from other Company members.
Form a community that meets both inside and outside of the studio
Learn repertory and new choreography
Have opportunities to engage in community outreach through workshops and performances
Expand their instrument’s range through rigorous training
Cultivate their artistic, individual voice
Bridging the gap between collegiate, pre-professional work and professional employment, the Program acts as a gate toward achieving one’s professional goals. GATE (Gwirtzman Apprentice Training Ensemble) is a performing arm of Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company.
APPRENTICES INVOLVED WITH DANCE WITH US
The Company has a history of working in partnership with various universities and colleges, both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2002, college students in Finland joined and performed as apprentices. In 2007, at The University of Michigan, dancers in the Schools of Music, Theater and Dance were integrated into a professional production of Encore with Company dancers. In 2011, college dance students joined the Company in performances at the Nazareth College Summer Dance Festival. In 2015, students from Kennesaw State University performed at Bryant Park in Manhattan with DGDC through the apprenticeship program. Most recently, this past year, June 2020-June 2021 at Ithaca College, eight students and alumni apprentices joined in Dance With Us: Kaitlyn Jackson, Joel Oliver, Usman Ali Ishaq, Lydia Kelly, Colin McKechnie, Julia Zoratto, Madison Hertel, and Neftali Benitez. Each apprentice has been interviewed and profiled on our Social Media accounts. These interviews live here on the Company’s site on a dedicated page. To read Daniel's interview on how working in academia duels his professional work, visit his page.
The Company has a history of attracting and employing summer interns from all over the country in areas of graphic and web design; photography; communications and public relations; marketing; arts administration and arts management; writing, dramaturgy, and costuming. Past interns have graduated from schools including Ithaca College, The University of Michigan, Kenyon College, Skidmore College, Barnard College, Idaho State University, The University of Florida, and The University of Miami. Terrific friendships have always bloomed between our interns. An internship is an opportunity to develop new ideas, expand one’s portfolio, and gain expertise working for a nonprofit.
DANCE WITH US LEAD INTERN
Brian Hanshaw, who graduated from Ithaca College's Theatre Studies program in 2021, began working on the platform as the Lead Project Manager Intern, coordinating various projects and streamlining the communication between dancers and collaborators. In September 2020 he was hired to work as a staff member for the Company. He is the Project Manager of Dance With Us.
Brian and Daniel after a shoot of Willow. Daniel just finished dancing. Brian just finished flying the drone. The result of their efforts can be seen in the dance film Willow.