photograph by thomas palmer

Bodies have their own compelling intelligence, finding pathways for getting from here to there, accomplishing what needs to be accomplished along the way. Expressive of personal experience, personal inclination, habit, preferences, movement is never without content.

I work collaboratively with dancers who respond to given movement, instructions, visual images/scores, movement problems and other tasks. Material is fragmented, rearranged, passed from one performer to the next, and is personalized and reshaped by the dynamics and phrasing of each dancer, adding other layers of experience. Presented in a series of changing contexts, elements are isolated, magnified, repeated, made transitional, located in space and sequenced. The object/the outcome of the process is necessarily unknown and, perhaps, uncertain.

Rather than mirroring predetermined structures, the dances are the result of the decisions and processes by which material was produced and attention to who was at rehearsal that day, what they did and how they did it. Each dance quietly develops a non-linear and non-narrative logic that embraces the beauty and possibility present in what happened. Moments of connection and beauty are revealed where least expected.

Making dances enables me to move beyond what I already know and provides a welcome opportunity to bring people together to focus on a shared enterprise. Pleasure in movement and making motivate me.

"Daniel McCusker’s ravishingly pure dances might be best described as brief epics, since they tell you a whole lot in a little time."

— Theodore Bale, Boston Herald, 2006

“Top Ten Dances of 2003”

— Christine Temin, Boston Globe

“Daniel McCusker’s long-limbed geometrical dances fairly burst with heart.… That’s because their rigorous structure, their edgy dynamics, and their idiosyncratic gestures permit them to show rather than tell their stories, as the best novelists do. … [His] creations… are abstract, nearly pristine. Their emotional content, drawn from some of the grand themes -– loss, love, hope –- arise from how the dancers use McCusker’s shapes and traffic to communicate with one another.”

— Thea Singer, Boston Globe, 2003

“Without any publicity or ideology, he has built a multi-generational company, one where teenagers he trained in Maine perform side-by-side with seasoned professionals.”

— Debra Cash, Boston Globe, 1999

Daniel McCusker makes dances for a wide variety of performers and venues and is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama and Dance at Tufts University. In the last seven years he has curated and produced five thISThaT Shows which combine and contextualize the work of local choreographers, composers, poets and visual artists doing work in video/slide installation. He teaches modern technique and Creative Process at the Boston Conservatory and he has been a guest artist in many university dance programs. He has taught at Attitude Performing Arts in Singapore, Antler Ridge Studio in British Columbia, at ACDFA events, Harvard Summer Dance, the American Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow and in France while on tour with the Lucinda Childs Dance Company. He has choreographed for a number of regional companies as well as college dance programs. He was involved with Summer Stages Dance between 2006-2012.

Interesting projects of the last several years include a program of new work to be performed in the fall of 2014; facilitating the current I ARE program at the Dance Complex which will culminate in performances in late October 2014; collaborating with director Natalya Baldyga on a production at Tufts University of bobrasuchenbergamercia; mentoring for the Choreography Fellows Program at Summer Stages Dance; curating and producing the tHiSThaT Show Numbers 4 & 5, at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge; making a dance for Tripod Dance Collective in Victoria, British Columbia and a shared program with Caitlin Corbett and Kelley Donovan produced by Crash Arts at the ICA in Boston.

Daniel McCusker’s choreographic work has been supported by the Arnott Fund of Tufts University, the Monk’s Trust, NYSCA and NEA Choreography Fellowships and through the generosity of private individuals. His work with Ram Island Dance was supported by the UNUM Foundation, NEA Company Grants, NEFA and the Maine Arts Commission.

For seven years, Daniel McCusker directed Ram island Dance, a community arts organization, in Portland ME, with a repertory modern dance company, a small presenting series, a children’s after-school program and classes for adults. Prior to living in Maine, he danced with the Lucinda Childs Dance Company, performing internationally and in New York seasons. While living in New York he performed in the work of many of his contemporaries.

McCusker has served as a panelist for the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the Connecticut Commission on Arts and Tourism, the Pew Charitable Trust, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Artist’s Foundation, NEFA New Works, Maine Arts Commission and Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities. He has been a site visitor for the NEA.

A native New Yorker, Daniel trained with Alfredo Corvino and studied at the Cunningham Studio and with Judy Padow. Classes with Gwyneth Jones and workshops with Debra Bluth and Olivier Besson have had more recent impact on his dancing.