My dances explore and celebrate movement. They are detailed and scaled for the venues in which they will be performed. Clarity, understatement and economy inform my choices. My dances are built as much from what happens during the rehearsal process as what initially moved me.
How things are sequenced and how material can change as context changes is enormously interesting to me. What is enough of a change to be worth looking at? What happens when material is given rhythm and placed in space? What happens when material is fragmented and elements are isolated, magnified, made stationary, made bigger, made smaller, hidden, made obvious, made mobile, rearranged, personalized by the performers?
I try to move beyond what I already know but it always leads back to what I already know. Working with other dancers and engaging them in my process, provides me with opportunities to encounter what I don’t know. We all find our way for getting from here to there: experience and preference merge. Some solutions are more satisfying, others, less so. Accepting what the process engenders is a challenge. Figuring out where things go is another challenge.
I am always looking for what connects and looking at what that means.
In the face of the coarsening and desensitizing effects of current popular and media culture, I value the craft of making dances and working in community.
Daniel McCusker is a dancer, choreographer and educator. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama & Dance at Tufts University, teaching modern dance, ballet, improvisation and composition. He is also a (p/t) Associate Professor, at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he primarily teaches Creative Process. At the Conservatory he has had the opportunity to manage the Cunningham Project at the ICA, in conjunction with an exhibit devoted to Black Mountain College, “Leap Before You Look,” and rehearsal direct Merce Cunningham’s “How To Pass, Kick, Fall and Run.”
He has taught at Bowdoin College; the College of the Holy Cross; co-directed New Dance Studio in Portland, ME; co-directed the Summer Stages Young Dancer’s Program; and taught open classes at the Dance Complex. He has been active in the local dance community as a choreographer, teacher, a dance curator/producer, mentor, and an audience member, since the mid-90s.
Prior to moving to Massachusetts, he was the Artistic Director of Ram Island Dance, Portland, ME. A native New Yorker, his dances were produced by the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, DTW, Creative Time, 14th Street Y, the Riverside Dance Festival and Dance Uptown, as well as in self-produced concerts. In New York, he performed in the work of a number of his peers. He toured in Western Europe and the United States, as a member of the Lucinda Childs Dance Company, in evening-length works and repertory programs.
He has been a guest artist, choreographing and teaching, for several regional companies and many college and university dance companies, as well as Open For Movement (Island Moving Company), Newport, RI; Antler Ridge Studio, Slat Spring Island, BC, Canada; Attitude Performing Arts Studio, Singapore; ACDA, Harvard Summer Dance, ADF and Jacob’s Pillow. He has received NEA Choreography Fellowships and been the recipient of support from the Monks Trust, the Maine Arts Commission, NYSCA. He has been a runner-up for a Massachusetts Cultural Council Choreography Fellowship.
Recent projects include “where we left off” for the Christopher Watson Dance Company, Minneapolis, MN; a choreographic tools workshop for aMaSSiT at the Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA; movement for a production of “Orlando” for Opera House Arts, Stonington ME, directed by Natalya Baldyga; and “Start” a dance for a self-selected group of Boston Conservatory students performed at the Gibney Center, NY.
Daniel McCusker studied ballet with Alfredo Corvino, Andra Corvino and Richard Lyle; improvisation with Debra Bluth, Olivier Besson, and Judy Padow; and modern technique with Gwyneth Jones, at the Cunningham Studio and at the Viola Farber studio. He has an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature and Social Sciences from the College at Lincoln Center, Fordham University, and he did graduate studies, without getting a degree, in Comparative Literature, at the Graduate Center, CUNY.