She dances, observes and provokes viewers. Agata Maszkiewicz will say what she thinks about “Poland” to the rock rhythm of the Rolling Stones and Miles Davis’ jazz trumpet, directly from the stage of the Festival Fringe.
She is a choreographer, performer and dancer. The characteristic feature of her performances is her mixing of poetry, humour, dance and theatre with performances, videos and installations, with texts created especially to reinforce the drama. She says that she is chiefly an observer, hence why the Austrian critic Helmut Ploebst called her a social-critical choreographer. Agata Maszkiewicz is a graduate of the Anton Bruckner Institute of Dance Arts in Linz (2009). In 2006, she received the danceWEB scholarship and in 2007, she studied for half a year under the direction of the French artist Xavier Le Roy in Montpellier, in the framework of the ex.e.r.ce. programme. She collaborates with celebrated artists from across the world, including Ivana Müller and members of the troupe Superamas.
Agata Maszkiewicz 'WORKS' from agata maszkiewicz on Vimeo.
She remembers this intense, several-year-long collaboration with the Superamas collective as an experience that changed her way of thinking about dance and theatre. “We found ourselves in a situation in which nobody asked us to raise our legs higher, instead we were asked to appear in the middle of the room, being conscious of the beginning and the end of the action. This seems very easy, but it’s actually not that simple. Everyone received a task which required from him or her to get to know him or herself as a performer, admit to weaknesses and exceed personal inhibitions. These classes were an intellectual challenge, but they also forced us to take risks and to try out new things which were not entirely understandable – Agata Maszkiewicz told the portal taniecpolska.pl.
Dance with Limited Liability
Her collaboration with Superamas, which had already begun during Maszkiewicz’s studies, resulted in the project Casino. This project was presented during the Austrian Dance Platform. The form of the play was created jointly during long rehearsals and conversations. Maszkiewicz was responsible for devising the cheerleaders’ choreography. “I never felt like only a reproducer, I’ve always felt like a creator “with limited liability” for the created work – emphasizes Maszkiewicz. She has a few authorial performances under her belt which are regularly shown at the Poznań Old Brewery and on foreign stages. Her nearest confrontation with a foreign audience will take place in August 2014 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Agata Maszkiewicz is to present her POLAND / POLSKA performance at the Scottish Dance Base, a specialized dance space in the very centre of town. In the past another young dancer, Aleksandra Borys, presented her works at this venue.
'POLSKA' trailer from agata maszkiewicz on Vimeo.
POLAND premiered in 2009. On the website of the Old Brewery, it says that it is based on two phenomena: sympathy and empathy. “The performance, making use of various means of expression such as dance, performance, music and video, slightly humorously provokes the viewers to physically react to what they see. Some feel embarrassed. Others will grapple with their own projections and imaginations. Most people will probably think about performances and performativeness, about achievements and successes but also about defeats and traumas. The dancer wears a runners’ sports suit, and her body definitely cannot escape from cultural nature."
The artist’s dance solo was warmly received by reviewers and viewers. At the website teatralia.pl the following may be read:
(…) An incoherent solid, which doesn’t present anything concrete, denaturalizes the human body, spits out one leg somewhere and a hand elsewhere. The other leg suddenly appears in a place where I didn’t expect it. I lost my other hand and head. The body, or rather an objectified body-like shell, pulsates, slithers, slides, curls up and unfolds at an anaemic rate. The slow and senseless movements not only put the mind to sleep but also, as I gather, mock the mind. We’re made to believe that the solid doesn’t move, and at a certain moment, thanks to the last shreds of self-control, the mind wakes up and makes up for the movement that wasn’t registered earlier. This is a joke about the viewers’ way of perceiving which proves that they can’t look, that they consciously see and register only in a sequential and jumping manner. Agata Maszkiewicz is exceptionally wrongheaded here, because this isn’t the end of the mockery. We find ourselves helpless as observers of this post-humanistic motion. At a certain moment we wake up from the short-timed lethargy and we realize that the actor’s head is missing or her legs are in a place in which they’re not supposed to be. Inspirations drawn from Xavier Le Roy’s dance theatre may clearly be seen here (…).
She co-created also the Komposition performance, which was shown in the framework of the Old Brewery New Dance programme at the 2011 Malta festival. Together with Alix Eynaudi, Maszkiewicz created the video The Visitants which served as inspiration for the duet Long long short long short.
Maszkiewicz’s works were shown amongst others in Austria, Belgium, France, Israel, Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Sources: taniecpolska.pl, Old Brewery, teatralia.pl, edited by: AL
Translated by: Marek Kępa