Izadora Weiss finds inspiration both in baroque music and in Jimi Hendrix’s guitar riffs, and prepares choreography to the music of Lisa Gerrard and Krzysztof Penderecki. She has also had the British violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy and the Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer compose music especially for her performances.
Choreographer, founder of the Baltic Dance Theatre.
An esteemed choreographer, dancer, founder and director of the Baltic Dance Theatre, Izadora Weiss is a graduate of the Warsaw Ballet School and the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, as well as a double recipient of the scholarship of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. She debuted in 1996 on the stage of the Grand Theatre in Poznań, with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is also responsible for the choreography for over twenty opera performances presented on major stages in Poland and abroad, including the United States, France, Ireland, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Finland.
A breakthrough in her career came with the ballet choreography for Krzysztof Penderecki’s Violin Concerto No. 1, following which she was invited by none other than Jiří Kylián to join the prestigious Nederlands Dans Theatre, where she had the opportunity to polish her skills under such masters as Ohad Naharin and Saburo Teshigawara. The artist admits:
I haven’t been lucky, or maybe unlucky, enough to dance with the greatest choreographers. Those who have danced with Mats Ek, Jiří Kylián, or William Forsythe cannot escape their choreographic styles – their bodies have soaked them up. I had to invent my own language for expressing emotions. If I were to describe my style, I would refer to it as an attempt to visualize the spirit of music by means of a human body. I don’t even mean the specific notes or the rhythm, but just the spirit. I believe that people seek beauty and that’s what I want to give them.
Weiss emphasizes the importance of music in her works: Bach, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Leszek Możdżer, Lisa Gerrard, and, naturally, Nigel Kennedy. She first met this British violinist when preparing The Four Seasons for the 2000 Malta Theatre Festival in Poznań. At that time, Kennedy was already a world-renowned musician – his album with reinterpretations of Vivaldi’s compositions sold more than two million copies internationally, earning him a Guinness Record for the world’s best-selling classical music album.
Another important stage in her career was marked by the premiere of Romeo and Juliet, a ballet based on Shakespeare’s play. She compiled the soundtrack from excerpts of masterpieces by such composers as Glass, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Lisa Gerrard, and Santaolalla. The performance has gleaned many prestigious awards, while the audience at the Warsaw’s National Theatre gave it a standing ovation. Izadora Weiss also received the Pomeranian Arts Award for her achievements in 2009.
She directed the world premiere of Haendl’s triptych Tre Donne Tre Destini (with Olga Pasiecznik in the lead role) at the Warsaw Chamber Opera. It was hailed by Rzeczpospolita, one of Poland’s biggest daily newspapers, as one of two most important music theatre events in Poland in 2009. In March 2010, Izadora Weiss became the art director of the Baltic Dance Theatre, which she founded. The theatre group presented Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on the stage of the National Theatre in Warsaw, with Weiss’s choreography.
Her subsequent production was the low-key Waiting for… (Czekając na…) with baroque and contemporary music. After seeing these two performances, Jiří Kylián decided to offer some of his choreographies to the Baltic Dance Theatre and co-create a multiple bill together with Weiss.
The repertoire of Izadora Weiss and her now international group has also included Cool Fire, Death and the Maiden (Śmierć i dziewczyna), and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with music by Goran Bregović and costumes by Gosia Baczyńska. The latter production received the title of the performance of the year in Gdańsk, while Weiss received the Gloria Artis medal from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the Jan Kiepura Music Theatre Award for the choreographer of the year. The presentation resulted in standing ovations and invitations to international festivals. It was also enthusiastically reviewed in the British media, which praised it as the best world dance theatre premiere of 2013.
baltic dance theatre
The Netherlands (Niderlandy) was another celebrated project by the BDT. It consists of two parts, which were developed over the course of one year. The first one included Clash by Patrick Delcroix, as well as Fun and Light inspired by Dutch painting. The second part was made up of Sarabande and Falling Angels – two choreographies that Kylián transferred to the Theatre, and Izadora Weiss’s Body Master, which he personally supervised. Weiss dedicated it to her master in gratitude for years of productive collaboration. 2015 brought two more choreographic productions well received by the audience: Racine’s Phaedra and Shakespeare's The Tempest with the music by Gustav Mahler. In a favourable review in Dancing Times Graham Watts stated:
Weiss has cleverly navigated the narrative with clarity, distilling the plot’s essence into 80 minutes of absorbing dance theatre. She adopts a non-linear approach, punctuated by flashbacks and symbolism, achieving an end result that is both a masterpiece of simplicity and yet captures The Tempest’s magical wonder of theatrical illusion. (...) This skilfully constructed adaptation of The Tempest deserves to be seen beyond the Baltic shores.
sources: Baltic Dance Theatre, Culture.pl. Gazeta Wyborcza, ed. AL, January 2015, transl. AM February 2015, updated: February 2016