Modern dance with a social conscience

Photo by Cylla von Tiedman

Modern choreographer Danny Grossman enjoys shaking things up. When his send-up of American patriotism, "National Spirit," was performed in a Florida school, the police had to be called in and the principal complained that it would take 10 years to undo what Grossman had done.

It's not likely that the cops will raid the Harold Prince Theatre, but there will surely be something challenging on the program when the Danny Grossman Dance Company comes to the Annenberg Center April 13-15.

For Grossman, the phrase "the personal is political" is not a trite cliche. Instead, it's a principle he routinely follows in his work. Born in the United States to socialist-activist parents, Grossman has kept their spirit alive in his Toronto-based company's repertoire, which includes works dealing with racial oppression, sexuality, spirituality and social issues. But his dances are not pedantic, ponderous pieces: the company (pictured here performing Grossman's "La Valse") is known for its daredevil style and its zany sense of humor.


  • DANNY GROSSMAN DANCE COMPANY: 7:30 p.m. April 13, 14 and 15 in the Harold Prince Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St. Tickets $25, Penn employees/alumni $22, students $15. Tickets/info: 898-3900.

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Originally published on April 1, 1999