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danny grossman

(1942 - 2023)

Dannys Big Party image01.jpg

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Danny's Big Party!

Let’s celebrate the late, great, Danny Grossman!

Date and time

Sat, Jun 29, 2024 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM EDT

Location & Description

​Join a festive procession, led by Big Smoke Brass, followed by an open-house at the studios of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT), 509 Parliament Street, Toronto, with installations, a “Speaker’s Corner” and a special presentation that you won’t want to miss!

Event Schedule
2:00 pm: procession from Riverdale Park West (Winchester & Sumach) to 509 Parliament St.
2:30-5:30 pm: open house at CCDT Studios, 509 Parliament Street
4:00-4:30 pm: Special presentation



TO ENSURE YOU ARE ON THE GUEST LIST for the open-house Please RSVP through Eventbrite:
PLEASE RSVP by June 19.



Our generous partner, CCDT is donating their studios and more but we need your help to cover other costs. You can donate to a special Danny Grossman Memorial fund on CCDT’s CanadaHelps page, For donations over $20, you will even receive a tax receipt!

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“I am a narrative choreographer, profoundly influenced by the theatrical masks of tragedy and comedy. I have choreographed works that deal with personal, social, political and spiritual transformation for forty-five years.

At the age of seventy-seven, I am horrified at the continued proliferation of weapons of death, the alarming human birth-rate, the financial inequality among people, the devastation of much of the environment and the imminently dangerous climate crisis.

If human beings continue on this path, often spurred on by ignorant and dangerous demi-gods, this will represent the greatest act of immorality and stupidity that a species could commit.

By the end of the century thousands of species will be extinct, and millions of our own dead.

As artists, we understand the relationship between new ideas and creations and the evolution of life itself – SPEAK OUT, by any means possible, as I am doing here.

It is time for all people who believe the earth is not only the cradle of life but the womb itself, to act.

As indigenous peoples throughout the world know, the earth is a sacred place and we are its custodians.”

-- Danny Grossman, 2020



Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann

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Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann

Danny in Transcendance [Cylla].jpg

Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann

Danny Grossman was born in San Francisco in 1942. In 1963, he joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company and spent the next 10 years performing and touring with the company. In 1973, Grossman joined Toronto Dance Theatre in Canada, and became a faculty member at York University. In 1975, he choreographed Higher to tremendous praise leading to the formation of the Danny Grossman Dance Company in 1977. Grossman has since created a repertoire of more than 60 works, touring across Canada and internationally. His choreography has been in the repertoire of Toronto Dance Theatre, The Paris Opera Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and The National Ballet of Canada and has also been performed by modern dance training institutions such as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New York State Summer School of the Arts, Adelphi University, City College of New York, Brown University, York University, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Ryerson University, and Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre. Grossman has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Toronto Arts Council Foundation’s William Kilbourn Lifetime Achievement Award and was recently inducted into the Canadian Dance Collection Danse Encore! Hall of Fame. In 2008, the company embarked on a new initiative, the Danny Grossman Dance Foundation, as a means of reconstructing and licensing his repertoire. The Grossman repertoire has been represented at the New York State Summer School of the Arts for almost thirty years, and has added immeasurably to both students and faculty who have had the rich experience of dancing these works. In June of 2018, in honor of his 75th birthday, Danny presented a full evening of his own works, including 3 world premieres. Danny Grossman died in Toronto of natural causes on July 29, 2023. 

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Costumes and Set: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Nicholas Cernovitch

"In my youth I was inspired by dancers Donald O'Connor, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and adored their fabulous use of props. And of course, I loved Charlie Chaplin. By the time I left San Francisco at 20 years old, Ray Charles had become my favorite performing artist and composer.

After performing with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for 10 years, Higher to Ray's music, was the first dance I created.' --Danny Grossman

Music: Ray Charles

National Spirit (1976)

Music: American Marches and Anthems

Original Lighting: Peter Anderson

Costumes: Mary Kerr

National Spirit was choreographed in 1976, the year of the American bicentennial celebration and shortly after the end of the Vietnam war.


It has been performed for almost 45 years to cheers, boos, and laughter in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Israel.

Triptych (1976)

Costumes: Lola

Original Lighting: Peter Anderson

Music: Darius Milhaud

" A Triptych is a picture of relief carving on three panels, used as an altarpiece. To the expressionistic music of Milhaud, I have chosen to set the stage for three desolate characters." - Danny Grossman

Bella (1977)


Judy Jarvis and Danny Grossman

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Peter McKinnon

Music: Puccini

Inspired by the music of Puccini and the lovers in the sky, rooftop and on horseback in the paintings of Marc Chagall, Danny Grossman and Judy Jarvis set out creating their ideas on, under and around a tabletop.  When Mary Kerr arrived to design the sets and costumes, she took her inspiration from the Chagall images and created a beautiful painted horse as the centerpiece for this charming love duet.

trio from Ecce Homo (1977)

Choreography: Danny Grossman

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Peter Anderson

Music: JS Bach "Cantata #78"

The complete dance of Ecce Homo, inspired by religious sculptures and paintings, was commissioned by the 1977 American Dance Festival. Seen here is a run-through in rehearsal clothing in the studio.

New and Curious School of Theatrical Dancing (excerpt) (1977)

Costume and Set: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Peter Anderson

Music: Francois Couperin

This disquieting solo was inspired by the 1716 manuscript of dancemaster Gregorio Lambranzi titled: New and Curious School of Theatrical Dancing.

Endangered Species


Original Lighting: Nicholas Cernovitch

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Music: Krzysztof Penderecki

Directed by: Moze Mossanen

The inspiration for this dance came from Goya's masterful series of etchings, The Disasters of War, as well as the anti-war art of the German artists Kathe Kollwitz and Georg Grosz.

Nobody's Business


Costumes: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Nicholas Cernovitch

Music: Jelly Roll Morton and Joe Turner

The ragtime music of Jelly Roll Morton and Blues singer, Joe Turner, singing "T'aint Nobody's Business If I Do", set the atmosphere for this piece.

Ces Plaisirs


Music: Ann Southam

Original Lighting: David Morrison

Costumes: Susan Rome

Ces Plaisirs, a sad descent into a shadowy
underworld of unfulfilled, clandestine relationships and eroticism was inspired by Colette's book: "The Pure and the Impure".

Magneto-Dynamo (1985)

Costumes: Susan Rome

Original Lighting: David Morrison

Music: Charles Mingus

Transfixed figures drawn together by magnetic attraction and propelled through space.

Magneto-Dynamo has been arranged as a duet (seen here) and a quartet.

Hot House: Thriving on a Riff


Music: Charlie "Bird" Parker

Costumes and Set: Michael Levine

Original Lighting: David Morrison

Hot House: Thriving on a Riff is a tribute to the musical genius of jazz master and "bop king" Charlie (Bird) Parker. 

La Valse


Original Lighting: David Morrison

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Music: Maurice Ravel

Mindless indifference to suffering and imminent catastrophe.

Twisted (1989)

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: David Morrison

Music: Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

Somewhere around 1959, Danny Grossman at that time, well aware of the Monterey Jazz Festival, was purchasing jazz records including the one by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross featuring the song: Twisted. Thirty years later, he conceived this dance.

Hear the Lambs a Cryin'


Costumes and Set: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Roleof Peter Snippe

Because of the intense social activism of Hazel and Aubrey Grossman, I have always been aware of the horror of lynching.

Music: Paul Robeson

Spiritus (1997)

(509 Studio presentation)

Music: Franz Schubert

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Roelof Peter Snipe

Latin term for breath, often used figuratively to mean spirit.

Spiritus (1997)

(Nebraska PBS Performance)

Music: Franz Schubert

Costumes: Mary Kerr

Original Lighting: Roelof Peter Snipe

Latin term for breath, often used figuratively to mean spirit.

Passion Symphony


Music: Marcel Dupré

Costumes and Set: Denis Joffre

Original Lighting: Roelof Peter Snipe

"Whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

Chasing Bird


Music: Charlie "Bird" Parker

Original Lighting: Roelof Peter Snipe

Costumes and Set: Cherly Lalonde

"I always go back to uplifting jazz when I want to free myself from narrative and return to physicality and spirit. It a pleasure to return to the music of Charlie (Bird) Parker." --Danny Grossman

Transcendence (2000)

Directed by Gerald Packer

Produced by Liam Romalis

Edited by Darren Laberee

Costume by Cheryl Lalonde

Music by Ann Southam

Dancer: Danny Grossman

This Is Heaven to Me


Original Lighting: Bonnie Beecher

Costumes and Set: Cheryl Lalonde

Composer: Darren Copeland

Set in an 1920’s Art Deco train station, This is Heaven To Me is a touching and gritty exploration of a man’s struggle to exist between the cracks of fantasy and reality.

Labour of Love (2018)

Danny Grossman choreographed under the auspices of The Danny Grossman Dance Company from 1975 to 2008.
After the company closed operations he has continued to choreograph to this day.

In 2018, the year he was inducted in Canada's Dance Collection Danse Encore! Hall of Fame and the year of his 75th birthday, he presented "Labour of Love" which included:

2004 - Two For The Road | 2014 - Double-Self Portrait
2016 - Beguiled | 2018 - Miss Thing
2018 - 9 McAllister Street | 2018 - Labour of Love

Germain Pierce Memorial Tribute (2017)

Danny met his friend Germain in NYC on

December 31, 1962 and they lived together for almost 54 years. Germain Pierce passed away in July 2015.



Review of Danny's Latest Show:

Labour of Love 

-by Deidre Kelly



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