Earth. A garden which provides living space but for one species. Polish choreographers Agata Siniarska and Karolina Grzywnowicz study nature, its healing powers, its symbols and dangers in order to present a radical contemporary read on the Holocaust trauma that followed legendary dancer Pola Nireńska throughout her life.
A Polish-born Jewish performer and choreographer, Nireńska left the country and, after much hardship, settled in the USA. She struggled to confront her memories and pain through art and became a leading figure of modern dance who eventually ended her own life. Siniarska and Grzywnowicz, both representative of a younger generation of dancemakers, draw inspiration from Nireńska’s life and work to develop a very personal performance.
SECOND NATURE is a coproduction of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Institute of Music and Dance and HELLERAU as a premiere for “Erbstücke“. The performance will be presented in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria in June, July, September and October. For more information, visit culture.pl
The artists’ focus on Pola Nirenska was inspired by a dance competition in tribute to Nirenska’s work, held by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in partnership with the Institute of Music and Dance. On the centenary of regaining independence, Poland has launched the project “Choreographic Territories – New Paths for the Avant-garde” open to young dancers and choreographers inspired by the world icons of choreography of Polish descent.
SECOND NATURE is the second production in the series after “The Yanka Rudzka Project: Polyphonies”. In the coming years, participating artists will create choreographies inspired by Bronislava Nijinska and Marie Rambert. The objective of the project is to rediscover and support contemporary dance in Central and Eastern Europe. Each new production is presented in selected countries of the region.
Agata Siniarska describes herself as a ‘fictional character with many talents and criminal past’. In her choreographies, she concentrates on bodily movement as well as the thought behind it; her projects encompass both idea and motion. Siniarska consistently balances between reality and fiction. The artist claims that she is addicted to fictional stories, and thus, declares that she collaborated with Jean Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni. She is especially interested in modes of creating a so-called ‘liquid identity’.
Siniarska’s projects can be labelled as feminist and emancipatory. She is part of Female Trouble, the collective work ‘revolves around topics such as identity, bodily autonomy, feminism, pleasure, affirmations, and love’. VULVA CLUB is another feminist project that she collaborated on with Roni Katz and Xenia Taniko Dwertmann. The project was designed as a platform against patriarchal norms by Berlin-based artists.
The enigmatic, hard-to-decipher synopses of Siniarska’s projects (as well as her autobiographical notes) are quite similar to her choreographies, which are hard to pin down and categorise. Her projects leave space for the audience, so they can participate in the intellectual and emotional activity too.
Siniarska performs alongside Katarzyna Wolińska and Maque Pereyra, building a sensual ‘body landscape’. You Are Safe is part of the POSZERZENIE POLA project curated by Joanna Leśnierowska. Her interest lay not in ecosystems as places but rather considering them as an integrated process, where the human species are the main characters. This project resulted in a book, In the Beginning Was a Copy, which was released in 2017. The book was described as a ‘user’s manual for bacteria and their superpowers’. Siniarska describes the human body as a dynamic being in which bacteria takes up residence. She says that: “purity is only a concept that has nothing in common with humanity. Being a human is to live with bacteria and microbes.”
She also gives performative lectures, such as Every Woman Is a Drag Queen (2013, Sweden) and SOME/HOW (2017, Berlin).
Duration:. 30 min
Concept: Agata Siniarska, Karolina Grzywnowicz
Installation: Karolina Grzywnowicz
Choreography: Agata Siniarska, Katarzyna Wolińska inspired by “Tetralogy of Holocaust” by Pola Nirenska, “Bacchanal” by Isadora Duncan, “Extinct Animals” by Marcus Coates
Performance: Katarzyna Wolińska
Dramatic consulting: Mateusz Szymanówka
Consulting: Aleksandra Jach, Aleksandra Janus, Franziska Dieterich, Jacek Małczyński, Magdalena Zamorska, Michal Guzik, Weronika Kostyrko
Production: Artists Association Four Dimensions Are Not Enough for Us, Agata Siniarska, Karolina Grzywnowicz
Co-production: Hellerau European Centre for the Arts
The production has been carried out as a part of the “Choreographic Territories – new paths of the avant-garde” project, held in collaboration between the Institute of Music and Dance, Hellerau European Centre for the Arts, East European Performing Arts Platform, Art Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk and Lublin Dance Theatre. The installation was produced in co-operation with Pilecki Institute.
The project is held by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence. Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2022.