The 19th Body/Mind Festival has been running since 6 July 2020. The motto of this yearʼs edition is Air-like Space. Space is one of the basic principles of creating dance, in which the dancer has to define himself/herself in relation to the inner space of his/her body, mind and emotions, as well as in relation to the outer space, the environment: including nature, society, the other human being/dancer. Air, understood as breath, determines the rhythm of the dance, it fills the space or creates it, it constitutes also an essential axis of the movementʼs construction.
The patroness of this yearʼs edition is Isadora Duncan, therefore space and air were the key elements around which the content of the 19. Body/Mind Festival has been evolving. However, the final version of the festivalʼs motto emerged already during the pandemic, taking on additional meanings related to the current situation, in which we find ourselves limited to closed spaces and experience a continuous narrowing of physical spaces and, at the same time, we free ourselves and open up to the other, non-physical, dimension. Likewise, the air – seemingly obvious, but suddenly, on the one hand, it was brought down to a life-giving element of breathing and, on the other, it has become a lethal weapon. Different aspects of space and air will be present in all festival works, including the Polish premieres prepared for the autumn by such artists as: Marta Ziółek (Monstera), Ilona Trybuła (Beauty like Air), Paweł Sakowicz (Drama) and Iwona Olszowska (an artistic and social project).
Isadora Duncan, known as “the mother of the dance revolution”, is the spiritual patroness of the 19. Body/Mind Festival. Therefore, the works of most artists will also deeply explore the spaces of femininity. Why did we choose Duncan to be the patroness this year? One hundred years ago, by taking off her ballet shoes, standing barefoot on the ground and drawing energy and joy of life from it, Isadora Duncan pointed out to the most important element of dance – an element that is continuously being rediscovered by new generations of dancers. She took a deep breath in and as she exhaled, she managed to expand the space accessible for women – thus becoming an icon of feminism. On the other hand, she expanded also the space of art, creating a new model danceʼs operating outside the walls of the institutionalised theatre.
In mid-July, re:Isadora series dedicated to the famous rebel and led by Hanna Raszewska-Kursa will be launched on the Body/Mind Festivalʼs fan page. Experts Hanna Raszewska-Kursa, Alicja Iwańska, Emilia Cholewicka and Kasia Wolińska will write about various aspects of Isadoraʼs life and work – her revolutionary approach to economic and social issues, the inspiration she drew from nature, her fluid sexuality and the influence she exerted on the Polish dance scene.
In autumn, the Polish premiere of Jérôme Belʼs performance will allow us to see the original choreographies of Isadora Duncan on stage – for the first time in over a hundred years.
As regards the socio-cultural dimension, creating space for the art of dance and the discourse about danceʼs place and its role has always been an important aspect of our Festival. This year, the analysis of the current needs of artists and audiences and reflection on whether the walls of the theatre are a relic or a luxury, has led to the opening of a new virtual space: the e-Scene of the Body/Mind Festival 2020. This virtual space will present part of the festivalʼs programme especially designed and created for it.
The visual identification of yearʼs Body/Mind Festival was designed by a young, talented graphis designer – Martyna Wędzicka-Obuchowicz (awarded with “Young Blood 2019” prize and nominated to the “Designer of the Year 2019” award). The visual identification of the previous editions of the Festival and of the Body/Mind Foundation were created by Lech Rowiński from the multidisciplinary design studio “Beton”. Wędzicka was given the following task: on the one hand, she was supposed to give new character to the visual identification, and on the other hand, of referring to what was already there. Wędzicka decided to use the Foundationʼs logo and used it as the leitmotif of this yearʼs identificaton. Of course, the starting point for developing the overall visual identification was the motto “Space like air” and the figure of Isadora Duncan. Wędzicka writes about her work in the following manner: “On the one hand, this is a woman looking for breath, on the other, she occupies space with her movement. The main idea behind the concept is the attempt to tear down the wall, the image of passing from one side to the other, dividing time into ʻbeforeʼ and ʻafterʼ. An important graphic challenge [...] is to present movement with the use of static material [...] What made it possible was the ʻcubisticʼ approach to the figure and the presentation of the whole range of emotions in one place”. The official premiere of the 19th Body/Mind Festivalʼs poster will take place on 9 July 2020 in Gdańsk during the opening of the exhibition of Wędzickaʼs works.
What is happening on the Body/Mind Festival 2020 e-Scene and on FB and YT?
We have already launched two series:
The first one is entitled Prosto z wnętrza (Directly from the inside) – a series of live-streamed conversations of Anna Sańczuk with choreographers, who are at work on premieres for the autumn edition of the Body/Mind Festival. Why did we call the series Directly from the inside? Because Anna Sańczukʼs meetings with the artists are a glimpse into their world. In these meetings, at breakfast in the artists private spaces, they honestly share both their everyday life and their current reflections on dance and life. Until now, Body/Mind has broadcast live from the private of three artists:
- Marta Ziółek (6 June) – choreographer, performer, director, interested in contemporary rituals, the performativity of identity, female narratives, pop-culture and new technologies.
- Paweł Sakowicz (20 June) – choreographer and dancer, who draws his intellectual inspiration from the world of books and new technology; he links a truly sports-like performance practice with a witty sense of humour.
- Ilona Trybuła (4 July) – dancer, choreographer, acedemic teacher; the main axis of Trybułaʼs pratice is improvisation, developing attentiveness and tuning in with other stage partners – also musicians.
Upcoming streamings of the series Directly from the inside:
– 18 July (Saturday) 11:00 a.m. – a meeting with Iwona Olszowska – a dancer, choreographer, teacher of several methods of improvisation, whose dance practice is rootedin psychology and body-mind awareness; she willingly performs in alternative spaces, and for the 19th Body/Mindfestival she is developing a special social and artistic project in the public space surrounding the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle.
The second series, which we broadcast twice aweek since 29 June 2020, on Monday and Thursday mornings – is inspired by Y.N. Harariʼs book entitled 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The projectʼs curator, Edyta Kozak, invited 21 artists to share with humanity their reflections on exercises and movements that, in their opinion, have the power to influence the reality. The is a response to the new situation of pandemic and the need to provide Polish artists with altearnative spaces for creative work. We have already streamed three lessons:
Lesson 1: Paweł Sakowicz (29 June) – on walking,
Lekcja 2: Ilona Trybuła (2 July) – on attentiveness,
Lekcja 3: Renata Piotrowska (6 July) – o meditation.
9 July (Thursday), 7 p.m. on the Ciało/Umysł na FB – premiere of Lesson 4.
After the premiere on FB, all events of the Body/Mind 2020 e-Scene are published on the Body/Mind Festivalʼs YouTube channel.
International Dance and Performance Art Festival
Artistic Director – Edyta Kozak
The Festival is financed by the Capital City of Warsaw and co-financed from the funds of the Culture Promotion Fund operated by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.