Izabela Chlewińska is a dancer, choreographer, musician, and pedagogue. She specialises in movement improvisation and dance theatre. She graduated in rhythmics and piano improvisation from the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, and in culture management in the European context at the Academy of Music in Kraków. She has also completed a qualification course for contemporary dance instructors accredited by the Polish culture ministry. She made her debut as Blind Girl in Sinobrody − nadzieja kobiet based on the novel Blue Beard. Hope of the women by Dea Loher and directed by Norbert Rakowski (2004) at the Bogusławski Theatre in Kalisz. In 2004–2008 she was a dancer of ALTER Dance Theatre in Kalisz. She performed in the following performances of the group: Hej, Sin Piel (2005), Pazur (2006), Co byś zrobił, gdybyś mógł zrobić to, czego nie możesz zrobić, Odcinek (2007). In 2006 she won a special prize for a high quality of movement at the 14th International Presentations of Contemporary Dance Forms in Kalisz for her part in the performance The Claw directed and choreographed by Witold Jurewicz and for a duo Sin Piel (choreographed and performed by Izabela Chlewińska, Magdalena Witwicka). In the season 2008–2009 she was a member of the Kazimierz Dejmka Nowy Theatre in Łódź. As an actor and a dancer she performed in: Słońce w kuchni based on a story by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz under the same title, directed by Marcin Brzozowski; Król Duch based on a poem by Juliusz Słowacki under the same title, directed by Łukasza Kosa (Chlewińska designed stage movement for both of the pieces); Przed południem, przed zmierzchem directed by Piotr Cieplak.
She won the prestigious DanceWeb scholarship for young dancers (Vienna, 2008) and a scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland (2009). Thanks to the DanceWeb scholarship Chlewińska created her first piece, Ophelia is not dead, inspired by the works of Stanisław Wyspiański, Virginia Woolf and Aglaja Veteranyi. The title of the choreography indicates giving voice to a female heroine, here symbolised by Shakespeare’s Ophelia who is always overshadowed in popular discourse by Hamlet and his existential ponderings. Chlewińska’s solo presents femininity as a process, emerging in front of the audience’s eyes from non-dancing movements, synkineses, sequences of actions and vocal phrases. The work partly self-referential when it deals with the status of dancer/performer and the way he/she is perceived by the audience. In the season 2008/2009 Ophelia is not dead was on the repertoire of Nowy Theatre. It was also presented across Poland and abroad, including during the dance art festival Prisma Forum in Mexico and the International Dance Theatre Festival in Lublin. In 2009 Chlewińska organised the Ophelia is not Dead Festival, a meeting of seven independent dancers from Poland, Serbia, Hungary, Sweden, the UK, Costa Rica and the USA.
Since 2009 Chlewińska has cooperated with Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre (Gdańsk), performing in Przed południem, przed zmierzchem (2009)and Le Sacre, inspired by Stravinsky/Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring and directed by Leszek Bzdyl and Katarzyna Chmielewska (2010). In 2011 she was selected to take part in the programme Rezydencja/Premiera [Residency/Premiere] of Klub Żak in Gdańsk, which enabled her to create the solo Tralfamadoria [Tralfamadore] in collaboration with Israeli choreographer Arkadi Zaides. The inspiration for the piece came from Kurt Vonnegut’s texts (primarily Slaughterhouse Number Five), Seneca’s philosophy and the artist’s own reflection on the “miracle” of death. The piece has been presented in Japan at the Yokohama Dance Collection EX 2012 (in the frame of the festival’s collaboration with Klub Żak), and in Poland, at such festivals as Nowy Taniec w Starym Krakowie [New Dance in Old Kraków], Kraków 2012; Kalejdoskop, Białystok 2012; Polska Platforma Tańca [Polish Dance Platform], 2012; Contemporary Dance Festival KRoki in Kraków; Warszawska Scena Tańca 2013 [Warsaw Dance Stage 2013], Festiwal Czterech Kultur [Four Cultures Festival], Łódź 2013; and at Teatr Centralny in Lublin (2012). In 2012 the artist took part in Ramona Nagabczyńska’s New (Dis)Order, which premiered at the Warsaw Dance Stage 2012. Her auteur dance pieces (Ophelia is not Dead, Tralfamadoria, Dehumanized Project Nr 1) have been presented in Germany, Mexico, the United States, and Japan, among others. Her latest solo piece,You have your voice (2015), has been presented at the Studio Theatre as part of Studio Dance Stage in Warsaw. She is also the author and director of the performative installation MaMoMi for children aged 0-2 years, presented at Nowy Teatr in Warsaw (2017).
Since 2008 Chlewińska has also been directing stage movement for dramatic plays, collaborating with the National Theatre in Warsaw, Praga Theatre in Warsaw, Polski Theatre in Wrocław and Nowy Theatre in w Łódź. She was involved in the production of Brygada Szlifierza Karhana directed by Remigiusz Brzyk, considered one of the ten most important plays staged in the season 2008/2009 in Poland. In 2009 Chlewińska was stage movement director for Balladyna by Juliszusz Słowacki, directed by Artur Tyszkiewicz (National Theatre in Warsaw, 2009); Berek Joselewicz by Tomasz Śpiewak, directed by Remigiusz Brzyk (Polski Theatre in Wrocław, 2010); Józef i Maria [Josef und Maria] by Peter Turrini, directed by Grzegorz Wiśniewski (Studio Theatre in Warsaw, 2011); Być jak Kazimierz Deyna by Radosław Paczocha, directed by Michał Kotański (Dramatyczny Theatre in Płock, 2012); Wichrowe Wzgórza [Wuthering Heights] according to Emily Brontë (dramaturgy by Julia Holewińska), directed by Kuba Kowalski (Studio Theatre in Warsaw, 2012).
Since 2013, Chlewińska has co-created the Warsaw-based Centre in Motion, an informal collective of independent choreographers. She also collaborates with a group of improvisers at Klub Komediowy w Warszawie (Gimnastyka wieczorna z Izą Chlewińską [Evening gymnastics with Iza Chlewińska]).
For the past twelve years, she has worked as a dance pedagogue. In the course of her work with actors, dancers, students of artistic colleges, and children, she has developed her own methodology of teaching, in which she combines organic movement, natural voice production, and improvisation in dance. She fosters practicing “Nothing,” decisively rejecting tension and readiness for action in favour of experiencing pleasure and untamed physical intuition. She holds workshops for actors and performers as part of the Ruch w Instytucie [Movement at the Institute] programme (Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw). She has a child, a three-year-old boy named Miłosz.