An experimental theatre company founded in 1973 in Warsaw. Akademia Ruchu (Academy of Movement) combine the genres of visual arts, theatre, and film in their performances
Since its foundation in 1973 until 2014, Akademia Ruchu was led by Wojciech Krukowski. The company’s first performance was Collage (1973). After that followed Lektoraty (Lectures, 1973), Głód (Hunger, 1974), Autobus (Bus, 1975), Lekcje (Lessons, 1976), Wieża (Tower, 1975), and Życie codzienne po wielkiej Rewolucji Francuskiej (Everyday Life After the Great French Revolution, 1980).
At the very core of the Akademia’s activities, lay – as one would expect, given its name – movement. The group's premise was to break with classic pantomime or conventional scenic gestures. Its essence lay in the dramaturgy of movement and working on the so-called poetics of a common gesture. The physical actions of the actors were dictated by the play’s structure, which in turn was based on rhythm and space. This kind of system did not allow accidental movements. All of these elements combined would build up to a clear and simple model of communication. The Akademia’s performances could also be distinguished by the group’s departure from literary dialogues and narrative, as well as the lack of traditional dramatic characters marked by individual traits. Instead, elements such as music excerpts, sounds, singled out sentences or words, and anonymous characters would be introduced.
One of the most acclaimed performances conceived by Akademia in 1970s is Autobus (Bus). Maria Bojarska described it as follows:
An illuminated, symbolic group of passengers of a speeding, ghastly bus. Stillness, which holds as much dynamic as the most spontaneous, lively movement – it is an image rather than a performance.
In developing their characteristic style of theatre, the Akademia members would reference poses and empty forms of social and political life. Such an approach was especially visible in their Życie codzienne po wielkiej Rewolucji Francuskiej (Everyday Life After the Great French Revolution), which came across as a reflection of the common behaviours of contemporary Polish citizens.
In 1975, Akademia Ruchu began organizing theatre performances and various environmental initiatives. Initially, they took place in public spaces (e.g. Europa/Europe, 1976), then moved to private apartments (e.g. Dom I / House I, performed in Lublin in 1978, or Dom II / House II, Santarcangelo, also 1978). The aim of these endeavors was to encourage exchange between actor and audience, search for new modes of communication among individuals, and become accustomed to interpreting the direct environment in which such an ‘arranged’ encounter would take place.
In 1979, Akademia Ruchu transformed into a professional group and theatrical centre. Its team started organising art workshops in Poland and abroad, international seminars devoted to various aspects of visual arts, as well as became involved in managerial activities by inviting international theatre companies to perform in Poland (including: Living Theater, Odin Teatret, and Piccolo Teatro d Pontedera)
During this period, the company continued producing such performances as: Inne Tańce (Other Dances, 1982), English Lesson (1982), Kartagina (Carthage, 1986), and others which bordered on performance and plastic arts.
Between 1979-81, the group was responsible for the programme of the Cultural Centre in Warsaw’s district of Grochów, while between 1989-94 it was based at the Tęcza Studio in Warsaw’s Żoliborz. The group, however, was forced to leave that location by the ill-disposed local government. Its later performances included Sezonowa wyspa (Seasonal Island, 1993), Tango wodne (Water Tango, 1994), or such actions as Światło i ciążenie (Light and Gravity), Przychodnia.Exit (Clinic.Exit), Mauritus i inne propozycje (Mauritius and Other Propositions), Tylko jedna godzina (Only One Hour).
Author: Monika Mokrzycka-Pokora, August 2003
Transl. AM, Jan 2014
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