Jacek Łumiński is the first outside choreographer to create the season-opening piece for the Battery Dance Company in New York City. Battery's 37th season boasts a 5-show series presented at 3LD Art + Technology, with Łumiński's Past, Present & Future as the opening piece, and his revival of Battery founder Jonathan Hollander's Shell Games
Past, Present & Future continues the Polish Cultural Institute New York's longtime support of Łumiński and the Silesian Dance Theatre, which began in 2001 with Diary of a Daydream, and continued with presentations of Straight Into the Eyes (2002), Thoughts That Got Ruffled Much (2004), Coming Back to Roots (2004), Poland in the 1980s: Searching for Revolution In Dance and Polish Dance in the 1980s: Silence Or Revolution?
Shell Games premiered in 2005, set to a commissioned score by Finnish composer Frank Carlberg. The original piece had costumes by Solé Salvo serving as set pieces, with lighting and scenery designed by Barry Steele. The official note for Shell Games describes it as a play in which choreography substitutes for dialogue, the performers don and shed wire-mesh body sculptures that serve as wombs, carapaces or psychological armor, drawing forth images both intimate and apocalyptic.
Battery dancers appearing in both works are Sean Scantlebury, Robin Cantrell, Carmen Nicole, Mira Cook and Clement Mensah.
Throughout his career, Jacek Łumiński has searched for a connection to the lost Jewish culture of Poland. Having trained as a non-Jewish dancer in the State Jewish Theater in Warsaw, Łumiński's creative process has been heavily influenced by Polish-Jewish folk traditions. The knowledge, dance steps and stories gathered over the years from elderly survivors eventually led to the movement vocabulary and an oeuvre of his own that reflects Łumiński's response to this complicated history. In his newest creation for Battery Dance Company, Łumiński has selected scores by Polish and American composers who have engaged in similar quests in the musical vein.
Łumiński graduated from the programme in dance pedagogy at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and received practical training in acting and theatre skills for six years in the State Jewish Theatre in Warsaw. His apprenticeship included classes in the SJT actors' studio and performances under renowned directors such as Jakub Rotbaum and Juliusz Berger. Łumiński's highly original movement vocabulary and choreographic style developed from his fascination with cultural traditions of Polish Jewry and Polish folklore, grounded in thorough research in this field, and reflected in his dance works and publications. He has earned international recognition and established ongoing exchange partnerships with partners in the U.S., Israel, Holland, Macau and Hong Kong.
Łumiński established the Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom in southwestern Poland, the premiere contemporary dance company of Poland, an institution dedicated to the development and promotion of dance on both a national and international scale in 1991. In 2005, under Łumiński's guidance, Silesian Dance Theatre joined with six European dance schools - Folkwang Hohschule in Germany, CODARTS in Holland, Bruckner University in Austria, Dartington College of the Arts, LIPA, and Bath Spa University in UK - to develop the country's first accredited university dance curriculum, with support from Leonardo da Vinci EU Program.
Łumiński frequently conducts workshops and master classes in Poland, the U.S., Canada, Israel, Austria, the U.K., Singapore and Macau. He has served as Curator of the Contemporary Dance Co-production Fund (EU Program) since 2000. The same year, he became a Eugene Lang Professor of Social Change at Swarthmore College (U.S.), the first artist to be so honored. Łuminski completed doctoral coursework under Anya Peterson Royce at Indiana University, Bloomington in 2009. He earned a PhD from the State Drama School in Kraków (Poland) in Theatrical Arts. He has occupied a position of Dean of the Dance Theatre Department there since 2008.
Anna Kisselgoff observed in her New York Times review in 2002 of Łumiński's piece Straight Into the Eyes, a Polish Cultural Institute collaboration:
That he has adapted the movement he discovered in Jewish dances explains something of the hard-to-define aspect of the way he uses the body. "The torso is highly active and borrows from 'polycentric' movements in Hasidic dance," Mr. Luminski said. "The torso and legs are divided by a 'belt.' The upper body belongs to God and the lower body to the devil. The upper body reaches out, and the lower body produces fast rhythmic patterns." (...) The viewer is left... with a feeling of unresolved drama and being troubled - in the best sense. -
Based in lower Manhattan, Battery Dance Company has produced nearly 100 original dance works choreographed by its founder and artistic director, Jonathan Hollander, in collaboration with a diverse array of composers and designers and Battery's cast of outstanding dancers. The company's repertoire reveals a wide thematic and stylistic range. Musical accompaniment, often commissioned and performed live, is a hallmark of the company. The company is among New York City's foremost cultural ambassadors through its participation in international performing arts festivals, conferences and symposia throughout 40 countries on 5 continents.
Presented by Battery Dance Company, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
3LD Art + Technology Center
80 Greenwich Street, New York, NY
21st-23rd of May, 2013 at 7.30 pm
22nd-23rd of May, 10.30 am