Daniel was born in Nairne, in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, and is of Lebanese and Maori cultural heritage. His dance training began when he was just four years old and continued at the Australian Ballet School, Queensland University of Technology and Adelaide College of the Arts. In 2003 he joined the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) as a trainee, under the direction of Garry Stewart.
Daniel worked as a company dancer at ADT for 16 years (2004-2020), during which time he toured world extensively, performing in new and existing works with Stewart. He still continues to regularly work with company as a guest performer, returning for the creation of new works and the touring of existing repertoire. His highlight performances with ADT include: HELD, Nothing, Birdbrain, the Age of Unbeauty, Devolution, Vocabulary, G, Proximity, Anthology and North/South.
Daniel created his first full-length work, Nought in 2013. The work, which was commissioned by ADT, premiered at the Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide and was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Choreography in a Dance or Physical Theatre work and won numerous accolades in the 2013 Dance Australia Critics Circle Awards.
In 2015 Daniel was appointed Creative Director of LW Dance Hub (now SA Dance Hub). In this time he concentrated largely on choreography, creating works for ADT, Expressions Dance Company, Houston Ballet II, Qantas, Dance Moms, Dubai Festival and Architanz Tokyo. In addition, he choreographed and restaged Garry Stewart’s repertoire on several tertiary institutions, universities and colleges throughout Australia and the USA.
Until recently Daniel has divided his time between guest teaching at tertiary institutions in Australia and performing with the ADT. He joined the New Zealand School of Dance as a full-time Contemporary Tutor in January 2020 and is now residing in Wellington, New Zealand. In addition to his role at the school, and guest performing with ADT, Jaber continues to create work and initiate projects as a choreographer.
The ADT International Centre for Choreography has enabled me to develop and create a new performance work titled, Dirt, in collaboration with performer Zoe Dunwoodie.
Dirt is a 6-hour endurance performance marrying contemporary dance, improvisation, living sculpture and installation. It studies the efforts of suppression and the weight of carrying guilt and shame. The work traverses a spiritual exposition of self-reflection, uniting concept with performer and audience in a shared, collective experience. Using “dirty” and “clean” as philosophical and literal metaphors – the work is presented in five movements. Together, the movements express a linear narrative; of one individual’s harrowing journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance.