Daniel Gwirtzman

Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance Performance
School: School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Office: Muller Faculty Center 118, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Dance

Daniel's Website

Daniel joined the Department of Theatre Arts in the Fall of 2019, where he teaches dance. Courses include Jazz Dance Technique, Modern Dance Technique, Dance Composition, Survey of Dance History, Dance for the Camera, Partnering, and Advanced Dance Techniques: Repertory.  A producer, educator, filmmaker and performer, Daniel celebrates twenty-six years as a New York City choreographer and company director. Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, a New York City-based nonprofit teaching and performing organization, and its repertory have earned praise for its inventiveness, humor, stylistic diversity, musicality, charisma and accessibility. “Mr. Gwirtzman does know that in dance less can be more” writes The New York Times. The New Yorker describes him as a choreographer of “high spirits and skill.”

The nonprofit has been committed to education since its inception, operating with the philosophy that everyone can join the dance through multigenerational interactive programming. Incorporating dance and story into the film medium has been a consistent practice along with creating original programming for the stage. A body of dance films have screened nationally and abroad in a range of film festivals. Collaborations that erode boundaries, blend disparate genres and disciplines, involve community, promote accessibility, and celebrate performers' individuality and humanity are areas of focus.

Performance highlights include Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, Fire Island Dance Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Bryant Park, La MaMa, Dixon Place, Joyce SoHo, New York City Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Queens Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has been awarded commissions, residencies and fellowships from institutions including the Joyce Theater Foundation (NYC), The Yard (MA), Djerassi Resident Artists Program (CA), Raumars (Finland), Sacatar Foundation (Brazil), Sfakiotes Residency (Greece) Maison Dora Maar (France), Centro Negra (Spain), The Studios of Key West (FL), Gdański Festiwal Tanca (Poland), CUNY Kinsgborough Community College (Brooklyn), and Ucross (Wyoming).

Daniel has been on the faculty at SUNY Buffalo State, Kennesaw State University, The University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and The University of the Arts as well as a guest at numerous other schools including The University of Florida, Princeton University, New York University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Fordham University/The Ailey School, Barnard College, Joffrey Ballet School, American Dance Festival Studios, and the LaGuardia HS for the Performing Arts.

He graduated from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a BFA in Dance and holds a MFA from The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He was a company member of Garth Fagan Dance and the Mark Morris Dance Group among other companies, touring internationally with both.  In 1995 he co-founded Artichoke Dance Company, which The New York Times called “a welcome addition to the New York dance scene.” Artichoke, a title given for its metaphoric value as a repertory company with many layers and textures, continues to flourish.

In 2010, Daniel was selected by the DanceBreak Foundation, supporting the “next generation of great Broadway choreographers.” In 2014, Daniel celebrated DGDC’s fifteenth anniversary with the evening-length premiere of The Oracle at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAM Fisher. Arts/ATL described its “mathematical elegance” and “joyful physicality...a vision that vibrated on a frequency of harmony and brilliance.” In 2017, The Encore Project celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the premiere of the acclaimed show Encore, which was an official selection of the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009. In 2018, it played to critical acclaim at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival where the Democrat and Chronicle reviewed the show as “wonderful, fabulous…a modern dance A Chorus Line.”

In February, 2019, the company celebrated its 20th Anniversary Season with a season of two different programs presented by The 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Intersections culled classic dances from twenty years of repertory and crafted these into a program-length dance, and Welcome to the World of Dance, presented ways to to view and speak about dance during a narrated, interactive performance.

Reviewing Intersections, OnStageBlog’s critic writes: “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.” Read the full review here.

In June 2019, Manhattan’s Dixon Place presented Daniel in Re-Do, an extended dance solo, as part of Moving Men, a series of new choreography featuring all male dancers.

In July, 2019 his film The Performer screened at La Maison Dora Maar in Provence, France where it was filmed (in 2017) thanks to support from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Brown Foundation. Daniel was in attendance at the screening and discussion. 

As a dancer he has been described as “a willowy John Travolta, sensual, playful, a rag doll, unusually supple, and one who moves like the wind.”

Daniel has served as a Board Member for the National Dance Education Organization consistently since 2017. As an Advisory Board Member/Director of E-Communication from 2017-2019 and as a Policy Board member, 2020-2022. In 2022 he was nationally elected to another three-year term as a Policy Board member, 2023-2025. In 2023 he also joins The University of Michigan School of Theatre, Music, and Dance Alumni Board for a three-year term of service.

In the fall of 2019, the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company received received leadership support form the Rockefeller Brothers Fund with a grant of $10,000 to use toward the creation of an interactive educational digital resource geared toward a general viewership. The project, which was to become Dance With Us, provided most of the choreographic and performance work Daniel focused on in 2020 and 2021. The project’s idea was to bridge the divide separating dance from mainstream culture, underscoring the primacy, purpose, and possibility of dance in contemporary life.

In October, 2019 the dance company toured to Wyoming where a week’s residency culminated in a performance of Welcome to the World of Dance at the Whitney Center for the Arts at Sheridan College, in Sheridan, Wyoming for Daniel, three company dancers, and thirty-plus students from the local community, elementary through college-age.

In 2020, Daniel pivoted immediately when Covid struck and was critically recognized for it. The first two years of the pandemic. 2020-2021, held many performance, filmic, and choreographic opportunities.

DGDC was one of the first dance companies to create work online. After the Company’s spring and summer performance seasons were cancelled in 2020—Fantasyland was the name of the cancelled premiere—Daniel re-envisioned the proposed stage shows for the screen. ​The Fantasyland Project​ was the result of this shift, a film created for sixteen dancers.

The film screened in a live format, bookended by the cast and creative team speaking about their involvement. The event was ​highlighted in ​Time Out New York’​ s curated list​ of “the best things to watch online” in theater for July 30 and July 31, joining The Met, Carnegie Hall, and the Old Vic. The film re-screened for four days in October/November and was again featured as a critic’s pick in Time Out New York.

In August, the Company was also recognized as being among the first performing artists to enter a bubble together and work directly. This was only a few months into the pandemic. Daniel invited nine dancers for a two-week filming residency in upstate New York, some of whom were IC alums and current students. The dancers worked safely and produced a bounty of site-specific films for the ​Dance With Us​ platform. Daniel choreographed several films and danced in Willow.

In 2021 the Company offered An Evening of Love Dances, a live Zoom Valentine’s Day Zoom event celebrating the duet form in the DGDC repertory, the push and pull of relationships, and the lauded dancers in the Company. Daniel was joined by dancers Derek Crescenti and Vanessa Martínez de Baños, and moderator Daisy Rudin, an IC alum, who all provided commentary discussing the critical, public, and personal conversations surrounding these favorites from the rep.

In June of 2021, the Dance With Us online platform, conceived to demystify concert dance, launched. The evenings were hosted by Daniel as the emcee with special guests Dante Puleio, Artistic Director of the Limón Dance Company on June 25; Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Artistic Director, EMERGE/125 on June 26; Seán Curran, Artistic Director, Seán Curran Company on June 27, and Michael Novak, Artistic Director, Paul Taylor Dance Company, appeared all three nights virtually with a special message.

The kickoff events included an exclusive guided tour of the website, a screening of several short films, the World Premieres of Willow and Dollhouse, and previews of six new dance films that launched monthly through the end of 2021. Harper’s Baazar selected the launch as among the “Top Best Art, Dance, Theater, and Music Events” nationally. Visit the platform here.

A 2021 interview with The Brooklyn Rail titled So You Think You Can’t Dance illuminates the philosophy that everyone can join the dance.


2020 Screenings:

Terrain and Doubles, solos filmed in Spain and France screened at FilmFest by Rogue Dancer online.

2021 Screenings:

Charged played at the DanceBARN ScreenDANCE Festival in Battle Lake, MN and at the TDP'20 international dance festival's screendance in Tipperary, Ireland.

In December, 2021, he performed Character, a solo he choreographed, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, as a guest artist.

2022 Screenings:

May, Willow screened at enCORE Dance on Film Festival, in Atlanta

July the American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers Festival screened Dollhouse.

August, Charged screened at the Thessaloniki Cinedance International in Greece.

December, Garden Reverie premieres online.

In 2023, Daniel is developing e-Motion, a new evening-length dance. He is a New York State Council of the Arts Grantee, having received a FY2023 Support for Artists grant award sponsored by The Cherry Arts, which is co-producing and presenting the show.

Thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul, and Katherine Nicholls, Chair, and Mara Manus, Executive Director, of the New York State Council on the Arts, Daniel has received a $10,000 choreographic commission grant. This dance-theater work is a collaboration between playwright and IC faculty member Saviana Stanescu, who will create the text, and Gwirtzman’s choreography. The piece will be performed by members of the NYC-based Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. For more information visit this link.

Charged will screen in Reno, Nevada in February as part of the Third Coast Dance Film Festival.


Since joining the faculty Daniel has choreographed the following mainstream productions for Ithaca College’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

2019: Daniel choreographed Pippin. The work was left just before performances were to begin, in technical rehearsals before a spring break of a term from which one never came back in person. The pandemic started in March 2020 and the work never had an opportunity to be seen.

2020: Choreography for Blowout, a 30-minute dance film was produced for the Shifting Spaces, the bi-annual dance concert.

2021: Daniel choreographed Rent. The Ithaca Times review: “All the action (Daniel Gwirtzman, choreography) is unforgettably rendered in a succession of striking stage pictures, of couples, trios, or the entire ensemble.”

2022: Daniel conceived and choreographed Guests Only, a 40-minute theater dance work which premiered November 30-December 4 at the Hoerner Theatre. The production was a collaboration with the School’s Jazz Ensemble, creating a cast of fifteen musicians and nine dancers.

2023: Daniel will be choreographing Newsies for the fall season.