Dancer, choreographer, performer. She has collaborated with dancers from the legendary group of William Forsythe and with the eccentric Flemish artist Jan Fabre. Apart from performing contemporary dance pieces she has also danced ballet, jazz and popular social dances: waltz, rumba, jive and cha-cha. “I do my thing” – the artist emphasizes in interviews.
Dancer, choreographer, performer. She has collaborated with dancers from the legendary group of William Forsythe and with the eccentric Flemish artist Jan Fabre. Apart from performing contemporary dance pieces she has also danced ballet, jazz and popular social dances: the waltz, rumba, jive and cha-cha. “I do my thing” – the artist emphasizes in interviews.
She is a graduate of the Roman Turczynowicz Ballet School in Warsaw and the prestigious Rotterdam Dance Academy of the Codarts University for the Arts in the Netherlands. She is a student of the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of Warsaw University. She was a resident of the program Solo Projekt, which is run by Joanna Leśnierowska at the Poznań Old Brewery. Szostak has collaborated with Dariusz Lewandowski’s Kompania Primavera. Together with Lewandowski, she has prepared several plays, inlcuding “Panny z Wilka” (“The Maids of Wilko”) which was inspired by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s prose, “Ostatnie takie lato” (“The Last Such Summer”) and “Kofta”.
Right after ballet school she was given the main part in the commercial dance show "Opentaniec” (“Possessed Dance”), which was choreographed by Jarosław Staniek.
In a conversation with Izabela Szymańska which was published by dwutygodnik.com she reminisced: It was like a dream come true. After school I was timid, I left a hermetic world in which students devoted themselves to studying, perfecting variations and traveling to competitions. There wasn’t enough room for us to have any interests and we didn’t have enough strength to look for anything. Finally the possibility of working, traveling and meeting people appeared, I don’t regret this decision.
A few years later she became an intern of Jan Fabre, a great choreographer famous for his physically and psychologically demanding, unusual methods of work. In a conversation with Anna Królica Szostak spoke of the collaboration with Fabre:
That was a shocking experience. I was 23 years old. Now, when I think about it, I realize I wasn’t ready to confront him. Fabre was a horrible despot. At that time I was making a lot of video materials about myself and about that process, I was making kind of a documentary, research. I was telling about how I was spending my days. I was conducting interviews with people, I kept asking my friends from the internship how they were feeling. I was documenting this period on purpose because I thought it might be important. I wanted to remember as much as possible. I still haven’t watched these recordings.
Later Szostak’s career brought her to Munich. There, together with Anna Holter, she prepared a project inspired by Andy Warhol’s movie “Kitchen”. Szostak was also artistically active in Bytom and at the Alternative Dance Academy at the Old Brewery in Poznań.
In interviews she reminisced: "I began to believe that my childhood creativity, which was being suppressed at the ballet school, had developed. I discovered deposits of ideas in me and the will to do something of my own".
Szostak began to create her first choreographic works: the debutant piece "Karmi-go” (“Feeds-Him”) with live music composed by the visual artist Jakub Słomkowski, the solo play “From Culture to Nature” and “The Glass Jar Next to the Glass Jar” which was inspired by the illness of Szostak’s grandfather. The last of the these three works was presented during the Ciało/Umysł International Contemporary Dance Festival. Szostak also participated in Kaya Kołodziejczyk’s “Harnasie” (“Mountain Outlaws”), Marysia Stokłosa’s “Let’s Dance Chopin” and in Wojtek Ziemilski’s spectacle “Prolog” (“Prologue”). The author of “Karmi-go” also collaborates with foreign artists such as Michael Schumacher, Amy Raymond, Krisztina de Chatel and Felix Ruckert. Since 2008 she has been collaborating with the Munich group Anna Holter + Company.
Iza Szostak, photo: Jakub Wittchen
In her works she makes use of a laboratorial approach to motion, contact, improvisations, methods linked to somatic techniques and the so-called authentic movement. She commented on her technique in an interview conducted by Izabela Szymańska:
I write down associations and references. These notes come in handy when I send applications for various programs and competitions. When I finally enter a room I start with authentic movement. You close your eyes and for half an hour you can do what you want, you have a witness that’s watching you. It’s about not analysing yourself, not evaluating yourself. You have to use your instinct and act impulsively. You have to give yourself time to enter a state, which is true in the given moment. This method makes you feel as if you were between a dream and reality. You can move nothing but your eye, if that’s what you feel like doing, or you can put on some music, to which you may respond with motion. When I work alone I use a camera to record myself. Later I break up the material into small, basic parts. I like to give new meanings to objects, I like to create new contexts.
Critics consider Iza Szostak one of the most interesting representatives of the Polish contemporary dance scene. Since 2013 she has been collaborating with the Warsaw choreographic group Centrum w Ruchu, which was founded by Marysia Stokłosa’s Burdąg Foundation.
sources: taniecpolska.pl, "Pokolenie solo" published by: Cricoteca, edited by: AL, March 2014
Use was made of Izabela Szymańska’s article "Młoda Polska Choreografia: Iza Szostak” (“Young Polish Choreography: Iza Szostak”), which was published by the portal dwutygodnik.com.
Translated by: Marek Kępa