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Research Guides

Chamber Dance Company Archive: Daniel Nagrin

A unique collection of video documenting the UW Chamber Dance Dance Company's over 25 year history of performing modern dance classics.

Books by Daniel Nagrin, Available at UW Libraries

Selection from Daniel Nagrin's "Spanish Dance"

Daniel Nagrin

American dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer

We're talking all the time, you, and I are talking. You're talking right now. Your whole body is talking right now. If you're in a dance and you're supposed to be doing something, just do it. Only you explore all the physical resonances of it and the depths of it and the possibilities of it.

               Cynthia Roses-Thema, Journal for the Anthropological Study of Human Movement 2003

Born New York City, May 22, 1917, died Tempe, AZ, Dec. 29, 2008.

Daniel Nagrin has achieved prominence in every area of dance, as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and writer. In a professional career beginning in 1940, he was a major dance soloist in Broadway musical comedies for fifteen years, during which time he was voted Best Male Dancer. He was associated with one of the founders of modern dance in America, Helen Tamiris, with whom he co-directed the Tamiris-Nagrin Dance Company. From 1957 to 1984 he toured his own choreography on the university circuit, with solo programs that are now part of American dance heritage and are performed today by leading dance soloists. Mr. Nagrin has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council for the Arts, and Arizona State University, where he was appointed full professor in 1982. In 1991, he became the first dancer to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of New York. Retiring as Professor Emeritus the following year, he published his second book on dance, Dance and the Specific Image: Improvisation. His first book, published in 1988, was How to Dance Forever. Remarkably Mr. Nagrin danced professionally from 1940 to 1984; he was sixty-seven at the time of his last solo concert. Nagrin is often called "The Lone Dancer" because his fame emanates from a career as a solo artist. Nagrin's focus on creating the "Other" throughout his works correlates with the viewpoint of an anthropologist who searches to understand the meaning of the dance he is studying through understanding the "Other's" culture. He passed away in 2008.

Watch some of Daniel Nagrin's works, including Indeterminate FigureSpanish Dance: An Impression of Flamenco Dance, and Strange Hero at the Media Arcade in Vol. 21 of the Chamber Dance Company Archive (DVD UWDP 001 v.21).