What My Teacher Taught Me: Daniel Gwirtzman
February 7, 2014

Choreographer Daniel Gwirtzman can vividly remember his first dance class with Shelly Taplin in Rochester, New York. Gwirtzman was a tall and lanky 12-year-old; Taplin, reed-thin and tall herself, was a star with Garth Fagan’s company. Taplin, who has since passed away, taught modern classes in association with Fagan’s company at SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Center. For Gwirtzman, their meeting was teacher-and-student love at first sight.

“The first class I went to, I showed up with my mom, and she stayed and watched from the balcony. I’d come into a class that had already met on previous days, and there wasn’t a lot of verbal instruction. Afterward, my mom made a comment like, ‘I guess he’s not prepared for this.’ And Shelly said, ‘What do you mean? I expect to see Danny on Thursday.’ Her encouragement of my creativity was there from the very beginning.”

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, Gwirtzman is releasing 15 weeks’ worth of dance videos, beginning February 14.

Photo by Richard Brownbill

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