About Jennifer Gwirtz
Jennifer is a dancer, performance creator, director and teacher living in Portland, OR.
She is fascinated with biomechanics, interior spaces, movement, masks, neurology and the essential qualities of sentience. 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 and co-director John Baumann founded Right Brain Performancelab, an experimental Bay Area performance ensemble.
RBP created work that straddled genres, drawing on dance, clown, puppetry and theater for nearly 20 years. Due to the challenges inherent in the Bay Area, the group slowly dissolved as the performers moved away. In 2016, Jennifer and her family settled in Portland, Oregon, where they have built a new life.
Jennifer has spent a lifetime training in many forms of dance beginning with a professional career in ballet in which she studied with Gelsey Kirkland, Richard Hoskinson and many others. As an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis in Sculpture she was inspired by the work of Alwin Nikolais as experienced through Michael Ballard's training. She has a masters degree in New Genres Art from San Francisco Art Institute where she delved deeply into fine art, performance studies and cultural theory.
Her world expanded when, as a work-study tech at Edison Theater in the 1980s she first saw and worked on experimental theater. She was forever changed when she was chosen to be the student light board operator for Sankai Juku, although she would not have the opportunity to study Butoh until she took Yumiko Yoshioka's first workshops in San Francisco in the mid-90s. To this day she is inspired by these experiences, as she continues to explore Butoh and its North American manifestations.
Her work is also inspired by two decades teaching mind-body practices including therapeutic Pilates and, more recently, GYROKINESIS®.