Katarzyna Wolińska is a choreographer, dancer and author who explores the boundaries of choreography and sculpture.
She was born in Gdańsk but studied in Łódź, where she graduated in Choreography and Dance Techniques at the Becewiczów Dance Academy and in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Łódź. Later she also studied Dance, Context, Choreography at Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz in Berlin.
Dance was part of Wolińska’s life from childhood. Aged nine, she began taking ballroom dancing classes and later moved on to contemporary choreography. Her childhood hobby evolved into a life-long passion and gave rise to her relationship with her own body: thanks to dance, the artist began to view her physicality as a tool of work she can consciously control, not through the lens of her weaknesses and imperfections.
She is interested in the experimental genre and novel forms, and she also consequently uses them to develop her apparatus and conceptual tools. In 2011, in cooperation with Klub Żak in Gdańsk, she gave a solo performance titled Skin Deep. Among her individual projects, there is also DANCE, PILGRIM, DANCE produced in 2017 by Art Stations Foundation – she presented it at Berlin’s Performing Arts Festival among other events. DANCE, PILGRIM, DANCE was an attempt to recount some less-known elements from the history of modern dance: Isadora Duncan’s biography and her connections to the legacy of Marxism. In her project, Wolińska attempted to reconstruct one choreography from the dance icon’s repertoire.
In 2013, she initiated the enigmatic project titled Hi Mary which consists of a series of performances: Hi Mary: the Lady who Sees Angels Documentary Monster, Hi Mary, Take Me to Church and others. The artist developed these concepts with a creative exploration of the solo model of work in mind. Wolińska presented subsequent episodes of the project worldwide, including in Berlin, Gdańsk, Kalisz, New York, and Copenhagen.
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She has also worked with Ula Zerek, Agata Siniarska (You Are Safe presented in Warsaw’s Nowy Theatre), Małgorzata Wdowik (as part of the Mikro Teatr series in Komuna Warszawa), and Marta Ziółek (Pamela at the Gallery in Warsaw’s Zachęta – part of a performance exhibition titled A Better Self). She has also had residencies in New York, Peru, and Germany.
In cooperation with Rafał Dominik, she created an interdisciplinary exhibition titled Gravediggers (with the help of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the city of Gdańsk, and the Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art in Vladivostok). For this project, the artists tried to inspect the relationship between the fleeting act of dance (movement) and the material nature of sculpture. According to the creators themselves, Gravediggers was inspired by ‘Russia’s most famous pyramid’ – Lenin’s mausoleum.
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She also performed with Orlando Rodriguez in Dandelions, which was inspired by French choreographer Vincent Bozek. The work touched on the topic of ecological catastrophe. She also performed in The Church of Non-Divine created by independent dancer-choreographer Karol Tymiński. Together with Mike O’Connor, she created a performance-epitaph which took place in a reality without gods and doctrines – one that allows for the previously repressed organic qualities of the body to manifest. As the creators said, ‘Just after science killed God, we went dancing’.
Wolińska inspects the connection between dance and politics in her personal blog Dance is a Weapon. In her posts, she expresses the notion that dance is something more than it seems to be – it becomes a link in the economic chain. The artist notes the phenomenon of the commodification of the body and analyses its role in resistance movements and revolutions. For her, dance is a phenomenon immersed in history and the means of production. She also develops her portfolio on Instagram, where she posts fragments of her choreographies and photo documentation of her works.
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modern polish theatre
On 25th April in Hellerau in Germany, a play dedicated to the biography and work of prominent Polish choreographer and dancer Pola Nireńska will premiere. Wolińska collaborated with Agata Siniarska and interdisciplinary artist Karolina Grzywnowicz on this performance.
Originally compiled in Polish by MO, Mar 2019, translated to English by PG, Mar 2019, sources: kasiawolinska.weebly.com, movementresearch.org, taniec POLSKA portal, szajnmag.pl