What My Teacher Taught Me: Daniel Gwirtzman
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.”