Renata Piotrowska is a choreographer, performer, and independent artist. She is interested in the emerging currents in dance, improvisation, contemporary theatre and performance. She has presented her interdisciplinary projects at festivals in Poland, Europe, the United States, and Israel, and has collaborated with such world-renowned artists as Michael Schumacher and Nigel Charnock.
Choreographer, performer, and independent artist.
She was initially involved in dance theatre, but it was her experience with contact improvisation that truly defined her work as a choreographer. To her, choreography is about more than just dance. In a conversation with Jadwiga Majewska, the artist admits that it is improvisation that helps her deepen her creative awareness. She has created several performances which have been selected by the jury of the Polish Dance Platform: Now (Teraz), Dancing with the Enemy (Tańcząc z Wrogiem), as well as the Unknown series, realized in 2008-2010. The latter project stemmed from cooperation between artists from different disciplines. In an interview on Ninateka Piotrowska explained:
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We were working with the senses, and offering the viewers more than strictly visual confrontation.
Unknown is a semi-improvised undertaking, largely thanks to the interactive nature of the event, in which the audience is invited to partake. The main reason this project came about was my disappointment as a theatre-goer in the inaccessibility of what was happening on stage, and the (then) irritating existence of the so-called fourth wall. So I came up with the idea that the audience members should become the protagonists of the performance and participate in its first part in a non-orthodox way: with their eyes closed. I offered them another type of experience. They began improvising while their eyes were shut, as well as afterwards, after opening them. We, the artists working on the stage, have always been involved in creating structures which were based predominantly on working in and with space. Depending on the group of people that were performing, it was more or less open. We improvised within such frameworks.
Piotrowska's 2017 work Śmierć. Ćwiczenia i wariacje (Death: Excercises and Variations) has also been selected for the Polish Dance Platform.
Renata Piotrowska’s dance CV includes such performances as B.R.E.A.K. The Art of War (B.R.E.A.K. Sztuka wojny) or Unknown.Séance (Unknown. Seans) – an examination of choreographic reflections in dance and an astounding conclusion of her earlier endeavours. What is most important for her?
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Following my own ideas as a choreographer, exploring different forms of body, motion, space, and light. During the creative process I try to treat the performance as an object that is independent of me and can also affect me. Moreover, I want to explore the meta-layer of a performance – the most private themes are very important to me.
She has collaborated with Roman Woźniak from the Academia Theatre, Iwona Olszowska, Rafał Dziemidok, and Michael Schumacher. In 2009, she worked with Nigel Charnock on the performance Happy. She describes that experience in Anna Królica’s book The Solo Generation (Pokolenie Solo):
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Happy was my first project in which I took part exclusively as a performer. It was an exceptional project, as Charnock was already a deeply interesting and experienced choreographer. I learnt a lot from that collaboration. It was the largest group undertaking I have been part of. Nine people on the stage, and entirely new motolity and energy at work. It was a return to the aesthetics of theatre in a way; I also had my own monologue.
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In 2015 the work Sorcery premiered in Art Stations Foundation in Stary Browar in Poznań. The performance was inspired by... air. In 2019 in Kraków's Słowacki Theatre Piotrowska presented Wiem, uwielbiasz zwiędłe kwiaty (I know, you love dead flowers). The piece was inspired by the marriage of Stanisław Wyspiański, Poland's chief modernist playwright, and Teofila. Piotrowska was interested in the impact the husband's illness had on the relationship. The choreographer's next work, Pure gold is seeping out of me, presented in Nowy Theatre in Warsaw as part of the showcase GENERATION AFTER 3, tackled another tabu topic – women rejecting the possibility of having children.
the solo generation
centrum w ruchu
Piotrowska has presented her performances and danced at festivals in Poland, Europe, the United States, and Israel: at the Body/Mind Festival and the Crossroads – International Meeting of Live Art (both in Warsaw), the Malta International Festival in Poznań, the Autumn Festival in Paris, International Dance Festival Madrid en Danza, Frameworks Festival in New York, and the International Mahol Shalem Festival in Jerusalem.
She is a multiple recipient of grants from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Art Stations Foundation, and the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Between 2011-2013, she took part in the Masters programme ex.e.r.ce at the National Centre for Choreography in Montpellier, France. Piotrowska is a member of Centrum w Ruchu, a collective associating Warsaw-based independent choreographers.
Author: Anna Legierska, sources: renatapiotrowska.pl, taniecpolska.pl, ninateka.pl, The Solo Generation by Anna Królica (publ. Cricoteka).
Transl. AM, February 2015, updated August 2019 by NS
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