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"Fantasyland views humanity through pink-colored lenses, presenting utopian portraits of harmonious relationships and optimistically-fantastic scenarios."

Daniel Gwirtzman Self-Portrait, The Fantasyland Project.jpg








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The Company premiered a new dance film, The Fantasyland Project, via a live screening and talkback with the artists on Zoom, Friday, July 31 at 7:00pm EST. A collaboration between choreographer Daniel Gwirtzman and a cast of sixteen dancers, this virtual project investigates the notion of fantasy through a range of lenses.

Imagine, just for a second, utopian portraits of harmonious and optimistically-fantastic scenarios flooded with pink-colored undertones. Welcome to Fantasyland! Below, original publicity for the summer premiere.

Through this very socially-distant process, each dancer–eight Company members and eight summer apprentices–has been charged with responding to a series of written prompts to spark the conceptual kernel that interests them most. Working with Daniel to distill the intellectual ideas and ground them in a concrete scenario, the process of creating a unique fantasy has necessitated finding a location, and collaborating with the choreographer, costumer, and composer. The project reflects this moment in time as a springboard from which to explore the mundane, comedic, dramatic, and the horrific. Gravity and levity are presented in equal measure. 

The project’s inception traces back to Daniel’s trip to Greece in July 2019 where he dreamt up the concept and title for the presciently named Fantasyland, which was to have been presented at Long Island City’s Green Space and Manhattan’s Bryant Park.

As he had written then: 


Fantasyland is an imaginative view of the world where perfected beauty, euphoria, and magical charm reign supreme. An antidote to the division which cleaves this Dis-United States, and channeling the gay spirit of Pride, Fantasyland views humanity through pink-colored lenses, presenting utopian portraits of harmonious relationships and optimistically-fantastic scenarios. 


As the world has turned into a scenario most closely linked to science fiction, the harmonious relationships Daniel described could not seem more foreign: for at the heart of Fantasyland was to be the linking and coming together of bodies. The original choreography envisioned the motif of holding hands to gird the new work with a constant intertwining of limbs.


In March, when it became prudent to pause the further progression of Fantasyland, the Company reimagined the project in an effort to keep its artists engaged and employed. Whether diving in with a loving heart or embracing the heart of darkness, these artists have developed solos that together make up the newly named The Fantasyland Project. 


Says Daniel now:


I think this moment in time is one in which we all are fantasizing: about life before, and after, the pandemic; about systemic changes and reforms that will bring racial and economic justice; about being in the company of others without concerns, distance, or masks; of returning to school as ’normal.’ Fantasy to me does not suggest only happy emotions - in light especially of this moment, I think of the fantasies of the full dismantling of racism, the understanding and action of anti-racist policies and practices, the acknowledgment by all in the U.S. of the indigenous lands we live on, the eradication of disparities in wealth, education, access, the fantasy of harmony and true equity, the fantasy of healthcare for all, etc...There could be the fantasy of rage, revenge, grief, protest, darker and uglier themes. To the extent that this project can reflect the urgent events shaping all of our lives - how this theme of utopia and harmony fits against the current climate - is something the Company is interested in investigating. The dancers have explored fantasies that resonate with them. As the director I have coaxed and conversed with the dancers to aid in the process of discovering effective ways to communicate their stories.”


Usman Ali Ishaq

Mariah Anton

Neftali Benitez

Dwayne Brown

Jacob Butter

Derek Crescenti

Daniel Gwirtzman

Madison Hertel

Sarah Hillmon

Madeline Hoak

Kaitlyn Jackson

Lydia Kelly

Vanessa Martinez de Banos

Colin McKechnie

Joel Oliver

Julia Zoratto

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