I ask all my jazz classes to write an essay at the end of the semester. In Jazz I, it is usually about the vernacular and how that relates to and informs the work we did together. In Jazz II, I like to share the work of Daniel Nagrin with them. There is some biographical information about him on the People-Personal Stories page. His jazz solos are legendary and were a huge influence on me. I showed the class Strange Hero, Man of Action and Jazz Three Ways. I never know how the students will react. They were completely in awe of him and that made me so happy. I will share a few thoughts from some of their essays.
One wrote ” Daniel Nagrin’s got something when you watch him. The kind of something that is hard to articulate, but instantly recognizable. He has it moving, he has it standing still, and he knows how to use it.” Then “Seeing an individual submit oneself so fully, with such deliberate physicality, is incredibly inspiring.”
Another said, “…he is only walking, but he is doing so much more than just simply walking. He appears to be gliding on the floor and carries himself with a a certain presence that demands viewers’ attention.”
Lastly, “His choreography is timeless”.
He was, undoubtedly, extraordinary – uncompromising, disciplined and an artist of immense power and expressivity.