Leszek Bzdyl, photo: Tomek Kamiński
Leszek Bzdyl, photo: Tomek Kamiński

Even as he approaches his 50s the actor, choreographer and dancer who's been performing since 1987 can still boast the agility and freshness of a 20-something. Co-founder and artistic director of the independent collective of professional dancers and actors Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre, Bzdyl considers dance the most complete and effective training in the preparation of an actor's body for performance.

A history graduate who began to work as an actor and pantomime, in his 20s Leszek Bzdyl began to search for an escape from pantomime in a different form of movement. In 1994 he met a man by the name of Cornelius Fisher Credo at a university in Canada. Working on the peripheries of Canadian dance, his "human approach" to what he was doing gave Bzdyl the tools and confidence to feel his own energy and power. "Dance seemed to open up the body and make a perfect acting training – but it was still theatre" the dancer explains. Merging together his experience as a pantomime, actor and dancer, his stage language is a theatre liberated from conventions. Through dance the body enters into a creative process which supports the actor/dancer in his effort to perform on stage. Encouraging incidents and the uninterrupted flow of emotions, liberated dance is a basis for working with the voice and it enhances the definition of the character played by the actor. "Organic dance movements do not create barriers between a stage dialogue and creation of abstract forms" Bzdyl goes on.

While inspired by East Asian meditative body techniques, the expressiveness of the Henryk Tomaszewski mime School, and contemporary dance forms developing in Europe and the Americas, what can be said of Bzdyl’s dance is that it is not confined to aesthetics and its narrow framework. "I’m close to English physical theatre, as the structure of a performance is grounded in human individual – dance is a derivative of energy and character rhythm, it’s not a superior element of piece, it results from meeting another person or void" he explains in an interview for DanceDesk. His dance and theatre sessions draw upon his individual experience of 20 years of studio and theatre practice with Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre and 140 theatre/choreographic projects from 1987-2012. Meetings with international choreographers and contemporary dancer teachers Chris Aiken, Melissa Monteros, Cornelius Fisher Credo, Randall Scott, Rip Parker, Avi Kaiser, Tatiana Baganova, Thomas Hauert as well as Polish theatre directors Piotr Cieplak, Zbigniew Brzoza, Edward Wojtaszek, Julia Wernioindividuals have determined his movement system.

Considered one of the most original Dance groups in Poland, Dada von Bzdülöw has produced around 40 performances since its foundation in 1993. Their performances are grounded in the "here and now" and demand the presence of mind and participation of the audience. When the viewer takes part in the process of creation, the performance becomes "inconsumable". In the same interview Bzdyl ellaborates "when you call something ‘Teatr Dada’ in writing, Dada becomes something completely different in the next performance. The reviewer is drifting on a sort of ice float, he can’t stand by his opinion, his discovery". Jadwiga Majewska comments "In essence, each particular production with even greater clarity adds to the whole that is internally diverse. No matter how loose-fitting the dramatic structure of the performances may seem, they all seem related to one another – by a web of intricately spun inner tensions, and related to the outside world – by a web of outside references".

Dada Von Bzdulow’s performances frequently draw upon contemporary literature and plays, such as Werner Schwab’s People Annihilation or my Liver is Sick or A Few Witty Remarks by Witold Gombrowicz, but Bzdyl remarks "What we do is our own. In our works there are barely any quoations, although we are obviously not completely resistant to what happens in the outer world. Yet it’s our individual language, our theatre". Directing over twenty Dada Theatre performances, Bzdyl has performed with the group at countless Polish festivals and in over 20 European countries as well as India, USA, Israel and Palestine.

Born in Wrocław in 1964, Leszek Bzdyl’s professional career began in Wrocław's Henryk Tomaszewski Pantomime Theater (1987 – 1990) and Wojciech Misiura’s Theatre of Expression (1990-1992). Since 1994 he co-operated as a director, choreographer, stage movement director and actor with drama theatres in Poland. Since 1990 he has run theatre workshops and given dance classes throughout Poland: at the Ballet School in Gdańsk, Vocal and Drama Studio of the Music Theatre in Gdynia, Theatre Academy in Warsaw as well as abroad, in the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Germany, Sweden, UK, USA, Zimbabwe.

Bzdyl has participated in numerous international projects, among others Landscape X (Interkult, Stockholm, 1997), In the body and Papugaj (Baltic Dance University – Gdańsk, 2000), Drop Dead Gorgeous (co-production of Dada Theatre with Vincent Dance Theatre from UK, 2001), Several Witty Observations − Trans Danse Europe (Avignon, Brussels, Helsinki, Prague, Reykjavik, 2003/2004), Out of Bounds/ Faktor T (Dance Advance, Philadelphia, USA, 2007/2008) and Co-operation (CDN −Paris, Festival La Batie − Geneve, Opera, 2006).

Awards:

Award of the President of Gdańsk (1998) and President of Gdynia (1999), Award of Ministry of National Education (1999), Theatre Award of the Marshal of the Pomerania Province (2006), International Theatre Award Theatre Pasta – India (2007), Honourable Mention for Merit to Polish Culture (2010).

Performances with Dada von Bzdulow:

2011
- Non existent duets

2010
- Le Sacre

2009
- Caffè Latte (Dada & SzaZa)
- Red Grass
- Before Noon, Before Dusk

2008
- Opus Pessimum or No More Says That You Love
- Barricade of Love,
- Factor T, performed in Philadelphia, USA

2007
- Complexion

2006
- Eden

2005
- Juicy Flesh
- The Corpse
- Bonsai

2004
- Several Witty Observations (a la Gombrowicz)

2003
- Fragment
- Strategy

2002
- Magnolia

2001
- Between the blessed
- So Beautiful
- Drop Dead Gorgeous, performed in Bristol
Vincent Dance Theatre & Dada von Bzdülöw coproduction,
- Dialogus in conventione
- Room for hire

2000
- \ Si \
- Uff... !!!
- Apartment no 001

1999
- Apartment no 7, performed in Budapest
- An old style comedy therefore nothing ha-happens

1998
- Wapiti versus the rest of the world
- Pavane in honour of love
- Father
- Sonata

1997
- This way or do what you want, performed in Berlin

1996
- The man who was lying - for example Heiner Müller, performed in Berlin
- There wasn’t, there won’t be, so there isn’t
- The heart wrencher or the tube of shame

1995
- The remains of the remains of love

1994
- The doom of the people or my liver has no sense
- In the shadow of blooming girl

1993
- Peep Show
- Girls, dolls and nothing
- The people as the birds

Theatrical roles:

2003
- Life is a dream - Calderon de la Barca, role of Clarin, directed by Julia Wernio

2000
- Unidentified human remains and the true nature of love - Brad Fraser, role of David, directed by Piotr Kruszczyński

1999
- The tempest - William Shakespeare, role of Kaliban, directed by Julia Wernio

Participation in dance projects:

2006
- Polish-Swiss choreoraphical project/ La Batie Festival, Geneva, Switzerland

2001
- Drop Dead Gorgeous, Vincent Dance Theatre & Dada von Bzdülöw coproduction, choreography by Charlotte Vincent

2000
- Papugaj, choreography by Tatiana Baganova
- Extra dry, choreography by Edyta Kozak, Leszek Bzdyl

1999
- In the body, choreography by Avi Kaiser
- On the edge, choreography by Rip Parker, Leszek Bzdyl

1998
- Beckett / Implantate, inspired by Grzegorz Klaman, choreography by Katarzyna Chmielewska, Leszek Bzdyl, performed in Berlin
- The Rape of Europe, directed by Piotr Cieplak, choreography by Leszek Bzdyl, Katarzyna Chmielewska, performed in Stockholm

1997
- Father, choreography by Randall Scott, performed in Utrecht

Selection of choreographies and directing parts:

2006
- Othello - William Shakespeare, directed by Jacek Głąb

2005
- Odys-Seas, directed byLeszek Bzdyl
- Un Chapeau de paille d'Italie - Eugene Labiche, directed by Piotr Cieplak
- The Power - Nick Dear, directed by Jan Englert
- Cosmos - Witold Gombrowicz, directed by Jerzy Jarocki

2004
- Richard III - William Shakespeare, directed by Jacek Głąb

2003
- She is conflicting - Piotr Martin, directed by Leszek Bzdyl

2002
- Mersi, or Shipov's cases - Bulat Okudzava, directed by Jacek Glab
- Revenge - Aleksander Fredro, directed by Piotr Dąbrowski
- Happy End - Bertolt Brecht, directed by Marjore Hayes

2001
- The Ninth Lover of Catharine Foster, directed by Leszek Bzdyl
- Hamlet - William Shakespeare, directed by Krzysztof Kopka

2000
- Love on Madagascar - Peter Turrini, directed by Zbigniew Brzoza
- Helver’s Night - Ingmar Villqist, directed by Zbigniew Brzoza
- Angel Steps Down to Babylon - Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Directed by Julia Wernio
- The Marry Wives of Windsor - William Shakespeare, directed by Piotr Cieplak

1999
- Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne, directed by Piotr Cieplak
- Antigone – Sofokles, directed by Mirosław Kocur
- Skin of a Snake - Slobodan Šnajder, directed by Piotr Cieplak
- Dog - Asja Łamtiugina, directed by Bożena Suchocka-Kozakiewicz

1997
- A Mid Summer Night’s Dream Sen nocy letniej - William Shakespeare, directed by Julia Wernio
- History about Merciful or testament of dog - Ariano Suassuna, directed by Piotr Cieplak

1996
- On The Edge of Life - Gao Xingjian, directed by Edward Wojtaszek
- Misanthrope – Moliere, directed by Julia Wernio

1995
- Violet cow or the troubles with a British cabaret, directed by Julia Wernio, Leszek Bzdyl
- Love for three oranges - Carlo Gozzi, directed by Tomasz Kowalski
- Next time I will sing for you - James Saunders, directed by Michał Pawlicki

1994
- Kurt Weill, directed by Leszek Bzdyl

Sources: culture.pl, Dada Von Bzdulow website, DanceDesk interview, CultureBase, WarsawFlowFestival, TaniecPolska,

Author: Marta Jazowska