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In an archive black-and-white photo, two dancers are performing on a stage. One dancer lifts her leg up straight and rests it on the other dancer's shoulder who is standing tall with his arms up towards the ceiling. Danny Grossman and Patricia Beatty in "Against Sleep" (1974). Photo by David Davis

Remembering Danny Grossman (1942 – 2023)

August 17, 2023

It is with great sadness that I reflect on the passing of Danny Grossman on July 29, 2023. I met Danny in the late 80s and would often run into him at events in the community. He was gracious, funny, and always had time to chat with me. 

In 1973, Danny arrived in Toronto to perform as a guest artist with Toronto Dance Theatre. He would eventually leave the company in the 1977/78 season, but not before creating five works which were often performed within the TDT repertoire. Some of these pieces were also choreographed at York University where he was a teacher, including Higher (1975) and National Spirit (1976).

Danny had a long standing relationship with Dance Arts Institute (formerly The School of Toronto Dance Theatre) where the students performed his works, such as National Spirit (1976) and Endangered Species (1981). He would often watch the performances from the mezzanine in the Winchester Street Theatre. It was interesting to hear about these works and witness the generations of students who performed his carefully crafted, iconic choreography.

The last program I saw of Danny Grossman’s was entitled Labor of Love (Its Innate Proclivities and Myriad Variations), (2018). It was an evening of works celebrating his lifetime contributions to dance. There were six pieces, one of which was a duet that closed the program with Danny and Eddie Kastrau, his long standing collaborator. It was wonderful to have witnessed his performance, creativity and passion for dance.   

Danny Grossman has contributed an extensive body of work to the contemporary dance field rooted in themes such as gender identities, love, and social inequalities. The choreographic offerings reflect an artist who was unafraid to challenge, question, and push the boundaries of the artform.    

My thoughts are with the many people who are mourning the death of Danny Grossman. 

– Rosemary James, Rehearsal Director at TDT

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