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WIU Dance Instructor Invited to Participate in Celebration of Iconic Dancer

February 19, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University dance instructor has been invited to dance "Spanish Dance," in celebration of the life of internationally-known dancer Daniel Nagrin.

WIU Dance Instructor Donald Laney was the last dancer Nagrin taught "Spanish Dance" to prior to his death. The performance will be part of "The Daniel Nagrin Celebration: A Concert of Solos by the Rebel of Modern Dance," April 30 and May 1 in the Dogtown Dance Theatre in Richmond, VA.

Nagrin's interesting career history ranged from gigs at summer resorts and clubs to Broadway musical, acting stints and solo concert work. He was the co-founder of the Tamiris-Nagrin Dance Company and was a teacher, coach and choreographer for six decades. He passed away in December 2008.

Nagrin created "Spanish Dance" in 1948 and taught it to Laney in 2008. During his journey of learning the dance, Laney kept a journal of his lessons.

"This is definitely an exercise of me turning into an active participant as a dancer and not a passive dancer being told what to do," he said in the journal. "This dance is not about the steps - it is a about a man's journey; the story of the man's life, his existence, his experiences. The history lesson that I receive daily is amazing. The piece itself is a direct relation to what dance was in the 1940s and 50s. The dance is very muscular, compared to my style of flow and glow. It is amazing how with my strong technical base I can find the strength to pull this off."

Nagrin agreed to teach the dance to Laney after reviewing eight videos of his solo work and conducting a telephone interview.

For more information about Negrin's work, visit

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