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MIND-BODY TEACHING

ART

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 divides her time between RBP and other projects, including Gwirtz & Pipe.

 

 

Jennifer is a mother, a performer, a writer and a student of the human body. Originally from Philadelphia, Jen has a masters degree in New Genres Art from San Francisco Art Institute and a bachelors in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis where she also worked as a work-study technician at Edison Theater. She has travelled a long and meandering path through the dance, clowning and underground theater scenes, starting with a professional ballet career and most recently in the Bay Area where she directed Right Brain Performancelab for nearly fifteen years. 

Her 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 also passionate about teaching dance movement and facilitating Fieldwork workgroups in which artists bring new work and works-in-progress for showing and feedback. She currently studies and practices Butoh and traditional Egyptian and Turkish Romani dance. She is grateful and honored to be a part of the Body Mechanics community/family!

Check out the Body Mechanics site for more information and their class schedule to book classes or sessions. 

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Jennifer Gwirtz in "What Stays" (2014) with Lisa Claybaugh (solo voice), John Baumann, Laura Marsh, Jennifer Minore (chorus). Original music composed by Dave Rodgers. Cover image by Nicole Fuentez for Loren R. Robertson Productions. Video footage by Loren R. Robertson Productions.

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Choreographer, conceptual dance artist and director.

Experience

Director, Right Brain Performancelab; San Francisco, CA — 1999-present

Creates full length events for theaters, galleries and site-specific settings. Schedules and runs rehearsals, hires performers and crew, liaisons with venue managers. Publicizes events from press releases to reel editing to complex graphic designs for print and web.

Co-Executive Director, The Field San Francisco; San Francisco, CA — 2005-present

Facilitates and organizes workshops on the Fieldwork model for groups of emerging and mid-level performing artists of all disciplines.

Featured Solos, Collaborative and Directed Performances

  • 2014 “Songs For Clandestine Audiences” Jan 4. Four minute remote collaboration with Apryl Renee Pipe at SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco
  • 2013 “What Stays” Oct 18-Nov 9. (Premiere) Full length work for six performers and musicians, set in three different private home theater venues in San Francisco, Oakland and Half Moon Bay
  • “Levity Study” Apr 13. Video poem for Milkbar Film Festival at Subterranean Arthouse, Berkeley
  • 2012 “Winter Dance” Dec 15. Solo for Bare Bones Butoh at Studio 210, San Francisco.
  • 2011 “Spies” Oct 15. Group piece for Micromanagement at Performance Art Institute, SF
  • 2009 “Apis” Feb 9. Solo performed at Resident Artist Workshop at The Garage, SF
  • 2007 “The Residency Project: Being Lived In” Feb 2, 3. Five video-dance poems shown at The Milkbar Film Festival, and in 2006 at The Garage, SF. 2006 “Ribs” May, July. Solo for Faith, Folly & Revelation and Bare Bones Butoh, SF
  • 2003 “The New World Ergonomy” August. Solo piece/traces for group show, New Langton Arts, SF.
  • 2002 “Tempest in a Teapot” May 31-June 1. For Trajectories at Dance Mission, San Francisco.
  • 2001 “Sundial” May 18-June 23. Performed for Terraffirma at Dance Mission, San Francisco
  • 2000 “Electroencephalograph: Mental Notes” January 2000-February 16, 2001. Performed for Neural Notations, SF Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, Sesnon Porter Gallery, Santa Cruz and Physics Room Trust, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 1997 “Electroencephalograph: a chant in the key of alpha” May. For the San Francisco Art Institute’s MFA Vernissage. Won the 1997 MacMillan Award.
  • 1996 “Make-up” for “Digital Personae” at Institute Of Contemporary Art, Boston
  • Right Brain Performancelab is a pick-up dance/physical theater company founded in 1998 as a fusion of theater, dance and conceptual art in the San Francisco Bay Area

Direction 1998-2010: Jennifer Gwirtz & John Baumann
Direction 2010-Present: Jennifer Gwirtz

Selected Work With Right Brain Performancelab

  • October 18-November 9, 2013 Home-theater venues in Half Moon Bay, San Francisco and  Oakland, CA What Stays
  • October 12-21, 2012 NOHspace, San Francisco, CA Gravity (and other large things.) (Premiere)
  • October 15, 2011 Performance Art Institute, San Francisco, CA Spies (for Micromanagement)
  • September 17-19 & December 30, 2010 The Jewish Theater, San Francisco, CA The Elephant In The Room (premiere)
  • May 5, 6, 12 & 13  2006 ODC Theater, San Francisco, CA Objects In Mirror Are Stranger Than Fiction (co-production with Spinning Yarns Dance Collective, premiere)
  • June 17, 18, 24, 25, 2005 CounterPULSE, San Francisco, CA (opening performance) State of the Union/Anonymous Sources (premiere)
  • December 2, 2002 Kearny, Bush, Montgomery and Sutter Streets, San Francisco, CA The Bank Tour (Presented by The L7 Project)
  • April 22 - June 23, 2001 The AIDS Memorial Grove, Maritime Plaza, Dance Mission, Sutro Baths, San Francisco, CA and The Dance Palace Community Center, Point Reyes, CA Terraffirma (co-produced with Spinning Yarns Dance Collective)
  • January 4 & 5, 2001 The Home-Theater of Warwick Broadhead, Auckland, New Zealand Not A Step (premiere)
  • May 19 & 20 2000 Dance Mission, San Francisco, CA Woven Tales & Branching Thoughts (Co-produced with Spinning Yarns Dance Collective)
  • Curation/Other Production
  • June 2012-present The Due West Salon is a regular home-theater series in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond District, focusing on new and experimental work in dance, theater and music.
  • Grants
  • June 2005 Anonymous Grant of $5000.00 to Right Brain Performancelab for “State of the Union/Anonymous Sources” received through The San Francisco Foundation
  • June 2003 CA$H Grant for “The New World Ergonomy”

Awards

May 1997 The MacMillan Award for best in show at SFAI’s MFA Vernissage.

Reviews

  • Desaulniers, Heather. “What Stays.” Heather Dances, June 30, 2014. <http://www.heatherdance.com/2014/06/what-stays.html>
  • Gluckstern, Nicole. “Right Brain Performancelab stakes a claim Out West.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian. 16, Aug. 2012. <http://www.sfbg.com/pixel_vision/2012/08/16/performant-left-coasters>
  • Wood, Andrew Paul. “It came from California.” Log Illustrated, 13 2001. <http://www.physicsroom.org.nz/log/archive/13/neuralnotations/>
  • Bugden, Emma. “Neural Notations.” physicsroom.org.nz.
  • Nelson, Julie. “Neural Notations.” New Art Examiner, June 2000.
  • Belmar, Sima. “A maze.” San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 2000.
  • Koppman, Debra. Neural Notations at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. Artweek. February 2000: 24.
  • Berry, Colin. “Neural Notations.” On-line review, San Francisco CitySearch, January 2000.
  • Residencies
  • June 2006 Resident Artist Workshop at Shotwell Studios

Previous Employment

  • 2005: Dan Carbone
  • 2002: Mary Armentrout Dance Theater
  • 2002-2003: Maxine Moerman Dance Theatre
  • 1998-1999: Megan Nicely & Dancers
  • 1990-1991: Atlanta Ballet

Education

  • San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA — MFA New Genres, 1997
  • Washington University, St. Louis, MO — BFA Sculpture, 1994

 

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