Jennifer Gwirtz is fascinated with biomechanics, interior spaces, movement, masks, neurology and the essential qualities of sentience. Her work emerged from a background in ballet, contemporary dance, music, technology, Butoh and visual art. As the daughter of a high school vocal music teacher, she grew up in a deeply musical environment and sang in six languages by the time she was ten years old. She began her career performing for ballet companies, discovered performance art and video at university, then moved to contemporary dance and Butoh when she arrived in San Francisco. She developed a passion for early web technology and blending disciplines while earning her MFA in New Genres at San Francisco Art Institute where her work took a conceptual turn towards the virtual and human patterning. In the 1990s she created theatrical, movement-based experiments that challenged assumptions about performance for theaters, galleries and outdoor spaces, performing nationally and internationally. In 1999 she co-founded Right Brain Performancelab with John Baumann, an experimental Bay Area performance ensemble. She currently resides and makes work in Portland, Oregon.
Jennifer's discovery of Pilates in 1996 ended her decade-long back injury and ignited her curiosity about the workings of the human body. In 2003 she received her Pilates certification from Madeline Black and Jean Sullivan’s Integrated Teacher Training. She maintained a practice in San Francisco and Sausalito for many years. In 2009 she began to study GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® methods. In 2014 she became certified to teach the GYROKINESIS® method of exercise.
During her tenure as Technology Manager and Ergonomic Evaluator for the Department of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley she began to explore topics about the workplace, how we work and how we move in daily life. She continued this train of thought by delving into Aston Kinetics with Judith Aston and Ronnie Oliver. In 2010 she spent a year of concentrated research and study with Pilates Master Trainer Elizabeth Larkam through a one-on-one mentorship program in which she pursued her interest in how the feet connect to the core.
Jennifer is passionate about teaching exploratory movement and facilitating Fieldwork workgroups in which artists bring new work and works-in-progress for showing and feedback. Jennifer has travelled a long and meandering path through the dance, clowning and underground theater scenes. She currently studies and practices Butoh while she develops her somatic movement exploration methods.