Home >> Learn >> The Dancer

THE DANCER

EVERYONE CAN DANCE

It is a cliché but not uncommon to hear someone remark, I can’t dance, I have two left feet. The Dance With Us platform seeks to erase these thoughts. The platform believes not only that no body has two left feet, but that no one should believe they have two left feet! Anyone can be a dancer if they want to dance. It is important to learn to dance in a supportive environment. Regardless of aptitude, physical and cognitive, the aptitude of expression is always available. The Dance With Us philosophy believes everyone can dance. The platform was formed to foster the engagement of dance for all.

 DANCERS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT

This trailer for the original production of the evening-length show Encore demonstrates the dancer’s range of proficiencies in the natural setting of the studio: working as a soloist, fitting in with a group, demonstrating mastery of the body through technical control, collaborating with other dancers through partnering, and adding individual style, flair, and expression through performance.

WARMING UP

 

TUNING THE INSTRUMENT

The dancer’s instrument is the most fragile of all instruments, that of the human body. This body has a mind and it also has a spirit, a heart, a soul. There are multiple reasons why the dancer needs to warm up, essential to one’s practice. Each part of the dancer needs to be focused and prepared to attend to the countless demands of the dance. Dancing requires tremendous concentration, intelligence, and discipline. An elasticity of the mind is necessary, equal to the flexibility of the body. Observe the dancers warm up.

CLASS

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. Listen to Stacy Martorana narrate her performance from 2007, Encore’s premiere, from the vantage of 2021.

 

TECHNIQUE

KING PORTER STOMP

Technique is on virtuosic display in King Porter Stomp, a revered dance within the Company by those that have performed it. A three-minute non-stop sprint through treacherous choreographic passages asks the dancer to perform intricate shifts of weight and directional changes at a very fast tempo. There’s an exhaustion that comes from performing it -- the dance is rarely performed in isolation either, with dances coming before and after -- and an elation. Watch and listen to Jamie Scott below. Listen to Derek HERE.

FLEXIBILITY

Observe the dancers stretching. Flexibility is neither required to be a dancer, nor a great dancer. But having an ample amount allows the designs the body makes in space to stretch, elongate, linger, expand. When one has the flexibility to kick and loft the leg high into the air, the action lasts longer, allowing the viewer the satisfaction of seeing the fullest arc of the movement.

BAREFOOT

Modern dancers primarily work barefoot. However this doesn’t mean they will end up as dirty as this photograph depicts! Daniel’s feet were left in this state after dancing in a quarry in the Luberon, in the region of Provence, France. While most professionals do not execute their work without shoes or socks, for modern dancers this is typical and normal.

RELEVÉ

Lifting one’s heels and going up on one’s toes is an action that allows the dancer to defy gravity and push away from the earth’s pull. A dancer pushes into the ground in order to elevate. Called relevé in French, the word means to rise.

PIROUETTE

Pirouette, another ballet term, describes a turn on one leg. The dancer maintains control to stay up on relevé while making the revolution. The movement and the term is used in multiple genres of dance including modern and jazz dance.

 
 
 

A DANCER'S LIFE

Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company enjoys talking with the audience after a matinee performance for students in Rochester, NY. In this video, the dancers answer questions and share insights into their lives.

Dance technique can be evidenced anywhere, including in a grocery store! Lauren Kravitz dances one of the solos she has performed in the finale of Encore. Her high kicks capture attention whether on the stage or in the bread aisle!

 

DANCE IS FOR ALL

ANYONE CAN DANCE

Learning dance does not require any prior knowledge. You have to begin sometime! And it can be anytime! At whatever age. Everybody can learn dance. These videos highlight how young and older adults can be introduced to learning dance.

Listen to administrators and teachers share their observations of how dance has affected their students.

HEIGHT OF A DANCER

The height of a dancer has no impact on having a professional career in modern dance, or, in most dance genres. Traditional stereotypes about the size and shape of a dancer are thankfully disappearing. The Company has always embraced dancers of all heights, ranging from 4’9” to 6’4”. 

DEREK NARRATES INDIANA

Watch this video to hear Derek talk about dancers of different heights negotiating identical movement.

VANESSA'S INTERVIEW

Watch Vanessa’s interview and hear her talk about
what it is like being a tall dancer.

 
 

DANCE BAG

WHAT'S IN YOUR DANCE BAG?

Stacy Martorana (Wiley): Dance clothes, socks, iPod, water, a Cliff bar, makeup, a brush, and most importantly, deodorant.

Derek Crescenti: Anything and everything: tape, ice packs, snacks, extra clothing, anything that I have ever needed once during a rehearsal period usually stays in the bag for good.

Madeline Hoak: Water. Crunchy peanut butter Cliff bar and/or roasted unsalted almonds and dried cranberries. Clean underwear. Clean t-shirt. Notebook. Pen. Ipod. A foam roller. Hair clips. Ibuprofen. 

Daniel Gwirtzman: What’s not?  My gosh!  Being a choreographer/director certainly adds to the baggage.  Which by the way is rarely just one bag.  Tennis balls, winter cap (in case it’s cold), long sleeve shirt (ditto), extra socks, arnica, Traumeel, elastikon for my feet, toiletries, a stain remover pen, extra contact lenses, pens, two iPods, cables, videocamera, water, and always emergency nuts!

 

Jules Bakshi: Water, a onesie, tiny foam roller, snax, Chogyam Trungpa’s Meditation in Action.

 

Jeff Davis: Water bottle, towel, 3-5 shirts (I sweat a lot), at least 2 pairs of underwear, flip-flops, business cards, combination lock, bathing suit, small screwdriver, pens, sketch book, spare phone charger, 6 pennies, 2 nickels, and some beach sand at the very bottom.

 

MIND AND BODY

BENEFITS OF DANCE

To hear from Company Dancers about the Benefits of Dance, visit the Dancer Interviews Page.

MENTAL STATE

The idea that dancers are not smart has been a faulty and dangerous mythology. Nothing could be farther from the truth.