IN THE CREATOR’S WORDS
DANIEL GWIRTZMAN (Choreographer)
For me the genesis of Coupling was actually just that, genesis…in the beginning. I thought, what if Adam had come from Eve’s rib? The concept for the dance sprung from that initial premise. In this world, women preceded men, women supported and nurtured men. I’ve always been interested in representing gender equality through choreography and Coupling was a way to subvert the biblical tale.
INTERVIEWS WITH THE DANCERS
What do you remember most about the process of developing this dance?
In Coupling, he really looked for architecture, symmetry, inner timing and the psychological impact of each gesture. He is not a big fan of superficial facial expression, so he really took time on finding the right gestures or movements that would communicate to us and to the viewers.
It was the time when we incorporated Coupling as part of the show Chapters. Danny made us perform the duet in four different angles, which I think was very effective. The audience gets to see the dance in 360 angle and got more out of it.
How did this work challenge you?
There was a time where I wanted to cry because of Danny’s perfectionism. He really cares about his work and he would never show the dance unless it’s well crafted. Every angle of arms, subtle position of legs and feet, where we look and how we look at each other matters to him greatly. There is a part in the dance just seconds before it ends where Cary and I would fall off-balance and would catch ourselves with our palms without looking at them. We attained this through constant drill. These qualities of Danny’s challenging process really influences me whenever I rehearse somebody’s work or create my own.
Did you feel involved as a collaborator in this process?
What is your viewpoint looking back at yourself as a dancer from this point in time?
I was a ballet boy when I first worked with DGDC. Coming from ballet made it difficult for me to understand pedestrian movements. Danny helped me let go and taught me how to break rules in dance. He also taught me how to be respectful of time, studio , fellow artists and value professional etiquette. I am glad DGDC was the first professional company I worked for when I moved in the States. I carry what I’ve learned from him wherever I go and I’m proud to say it got me where I am.
Coupling was fun to be a part of making and a joy to perform. During the making of Coupling I remember Danny asking us to find different ways for Jason to come in front of me while staying firmly planted behind me. We’d come up with different ways – Jason would wrap around me or come through my arms and then he’d just tip over, which made us hysterical. Once the sequence was made it was very difficult to remember we since would always come back to the same starting place. One of us would always mess up the order, which again would put us over the edge with laughter. It was a silly time and we had a lot of laughs (unusual for such an intense dance!) while making this seemly simple dance. We performed it so many times though that it became second nature. We performed for children a number of times and Danny decided to rename it just for them. The Snake in the Tree. The kids loved it.
ABOUT THE DANCE
Coupling was developed during a Joyce SoHo Artist Residency given to the Company by the Joyce Theater Foundation in 2001. The work premiered in New York during our New Territory season at Joyce SoHo in December, 2002. The dance had its world premiere in various cities in Finland during the fall of 2002 when the Company was in residence in Rauma, Finland for two months performing and choreographing. The original cast is Cary McWilliam and Jason Garcia Ignacio.