Natalie Rine, Contributing Critic - New York
Provocative, whimsical, and ethereal, the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company defies expectations of postmodern dance and soars, unafraid to take risks and dazzle with unflinching honesty.
Intersections, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company’s 20th Anniversary New York season and newest dance, sifts through twenty years of repertory to weld together twelve dances into one magnetic whole. The resulting piece explores the intersections of lives, bodies, time, and the dances themselves, existing in a sort of suspended time and universal setting, free from the restraints of costumes, scenery, or spectacle. From the opening moments, the company extends their arms piercing through the air like the relentless hands of time, inviting the audience from the start to ponder the weight and fluidity of our hour with them.
What is remarkable about the company is the ability to breathe and connect with each other in simple gestures as much as grand displays of technical prowess. In a few of the opening dances, intersections amongst couples prevailed thematically, but there was no cliché in sight. In fact, many of the women were doing traditional partnering work, supporting their male counterparts physically around their backs and limbs. Almost parasitic, the men desperate to place a hand, meet a gaze, or connect in general became an interesting mirror to today’s Me Too counteraction toward entitlement of female bodies and spaces.
Further in the show, the piece “Timebomb” displayed the company’s further versatility in an expressive, almost at the drop of a hat mood change between “I love you and I hate you,” with company members lunging for each other’s very essences it seemed, desperate for connection. At times, just the urgency and power conveyed in the dancers’ glances deserved applause; as they circle and vulture each other in life or death moments, quiet expressions sometimes told just as much as their cascading and crumpling bodies. Of particular note, Daniel Gwirtzman and Vanessa Martínez de Baños. Their eyes and bodies told sprawling stories of the human desire to rise above (or leap out of) their emotions while being trapped in these grasping, yearning human bodies piece after piece.
They conclude the evening with energetic pieces (they truly are all energetic, pushing the dancers to extreme stamina limits I’d imagine), with one bustling city soundscape set against a riveting almost primitive and instinctual piece with fancy footwork to rival the Indian style of kathak. The pulsing urgency with hops and stomps spoke of intersections with gravity and the earth that became almost electric. The company shoots energy through every limb and glance the entire evening, and Gwirtzman’s choreography shines through in every piece as an ultimate force of nature.
“Intersections” stars Daniel Gwirtzman, Christian Von Howard, Oren Barnoy, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Stacy Martorana, Derek Crescenti, Vanessa Martinez De Banos, Lauren Kravitz, Frances Samson, Ryan Pliss, Christofer Luis Medina, Simon Phillips, and Simone Stevens.
Directed & choreographed by Daniel Gwirtzman. The music is by Jeff Story, Franz Schubert, Shawn Baltazor, Roxy Coss, Dominic Woosey, and Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company.
“Intersections” ran at 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center (1395 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10128) February 22 and 23, 2019. For more information, please visit www.gwirtzmandance.org.
Photo Credit: Kathryn Butler.