September 13, 1942
Daniel (Danny) Grossman (born September 13, 1942) is a Canadian dancer, choreographer, and activist. He created the Danny Grossman Dance Company which produced his political dances.
Early life and dance career
Grossman was born in San Francisco, California to a Polish-Hungarian Jewish father and an Irish Catholic mother. When he was ten he walked his first picket line and remained politically active his whole life.
He began folk dancing in grade school but by 1960 he was learning and performing modern dance with Gloria Unti. In 1963 Paul Taylor saw Grossman at a summer course at Connecticut College and invited him to join his dance company. Grossman remained with the company for ten years.
Move to Toronto
In 1973 Grossman was invited to Toronto Dance Theatre as a guest artist and remained in Canada ever since. He joined the faculty of York University and choreographed a duet called Higher. This piece caused Grossman to create the Danny Grossman Dance Company.
In 1976 Grossman created his first political satire National Spirit, which was about American patriotism. In 1977 he created his first solo Curious Schools of Theatrical Dancing which was about a dancing clown in a circus ring. Also in 1977 he collaborated and danced with Judy Jarvis in Bella, a piece inspired by Giacomo Puccini's music and Marc Chagall's paintings of lovers.
In 1981 Grossman premiered Endangered Species at the New York Space and City Centre. The piece was set in a post-apocalyptic world where the dancers fought against military oppression.
In the 1990s, funding for the arts diminished in Canada and Grossman sought other ways to sustain his company. Grossman wanted to preserve Canadian dance as an art form by remounting works by famous Canadian choreographers like Patricia Beatty, Judy Jarvis, Robert Desrosiers and Peter Randazzo. These revivals were not financially successful and Grossman transitioned the company into an institute for licensing and teaching Grossman's repertoire. Grossman stopped creating new works for the company in 2008.
Activism and political work
Drawing on his activism upbringing, Grossman has been involved with many different organisations to promote dance and the arts. Grossman served on the Toronto Arts Council and participated with Toronto's Artsvote campaign to promote local cultural issues. Grossman also promotes dance education by visiting various public schools and post-secondary institutions to teach classes.
Grossman has received the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Choreography in 1978 and a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Choreography in 1988. In 1998 he received the William Kilbourn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Arts Awards and the Dance Ontario Award.
- Danny Grossman archives and the Danny Grossman Dance Company archives held at the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries, Toronto, Canada
- Bowring, Amy (2015-03-04). "Daniel Grossman". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 2015-04-03.
- Anderson, Jack (1981-04-09), "Dance: Danny Grossman Company", The New York Times, retrieved 2015-04-03
- Crabb, Michael (2013-09-07), "Toronto Heritage Dance returns with works by iconic choreographers", Toronto Star, retrieved 2015-04-03
- Crabb, Michael; Cornell, Katherine (2015-03-04). "Danny Grossman Dance Company". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 2015-04-03.
- Brett, Cindy (2010-03-01). "Danny Grossman receives tribute and launches choreographic intensive". The Dance Current. Retrieved 2015-04-03.