Edyta Kozak – dancer, choreographer, promoter and organizer of many contemporary dance events. Currently, the director of the International Contemporary Dance Festival Body/Mind (since 2001), the president of Body/Mind Foundation, one of the main coordinators of the Dance Congress in Warsaw (2011). She graduated from the Secondary Ballet School (certificate of artist-dancer) and the Academy of Music (Faculty of Ballet Pedagogy; currently the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music) in Warsaw. She was a soloist in the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw (1988–1990) and Stadttheater in Bern (Swizterland: 1990–92) managed by François Klaus. She is one of the most spectacular examples of giving up classical ballet and taking up contemporary dance, and finally becoming fascinated by experimental forms and conceptual non-dance. One can see this, for instance, in the Festival Body/Mind and other events organized by the foundation of Kozak as well as in the latest installation of the artist and her solo performance Dancing for you longer than one minute. Her artistic path was influenced by contemporary dance classes and workshops in which she participated in 1992–1997 (such places and artists as: Jazzex, NDT, Scapino, Hans van Mannen, Steve Paxton, Irene Hultman, Gery Hulighan). In 1994 she took part in the programme International Choreographers in Residency as part of American Dance Festival in Durham (USA – work with contemporary dance teachers and choreographers from the United States and Europe: contact improvisation, video dance, dance compositions, theory, own performances). She won many awards and scholarships, including an infidel award of the Minister of Culture (1996) and for promoting dance art (2003).
For ten years (1995–2005) Edyta Kozak was the president of the Association of Independent Dancers in which she created projects, was responsible for their artistic formula, organisation and promotion. The non-profit Association gathered dancers, choreographers and other artists interested in developing dance art who created performances, programmes, productions and original projects related to contemporary dance promotion and education in Poland – at local, national and international level.
In the early 1990’s she founded the group NEI, one of the first independent dance theatre groups in Poland and the first in Warsaw. She was its dancer and choreographer, collaborating with many artists from Poland, France and the USA. The theatre presented its performances in Warsaw in such places as Teatr Wielki, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Tęcza Cinema-Theatre and at the festivals in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the USA and Ukraine. The group won awards and honourable mentions, among others, at the International Presentations of Contemporary Dance Forms in Kalisz (currently: Contact Zone).She created, together with NEI, poetic stories about the alienation of modern human lost in interpersonal relations, seeking his own path. These performances include: Gonitwa ciał (1993), Poza…(1995), For 4 (1996), Without movement (1999). Her performances took place also in non-theatre spaces to confront with random audiences of the street and club (Extra dry – festival “Street Art” 2000, Kiss me – Festival “Dance of the 21th Century” in Kiev). In the late 1990’s she abandoned choreography and devoted herself to creating an original programme of the International Contemporary Dance Festival Body/Mind and projects supporting development of dance in Poland. She is involved in these activities to date.
In the 1990’s and in the first decade of the 21th century, she was the curator of important contemporary dance related artistic events, i.e. Small Forms of Dance Theatre (1995–1999); +++ of dance (The pluses of dance) – a programme hosted by the National Theatre in Warsaw (2004); Jagniątków: Move the Mount – an interdisciplinary laboratory for chorographers and artists of other fields of art from Poland and Germany (as part of the Year of The Polish-German Collaboration, 1st Edition – 2005); Co-OPERACJA – a collaboration laboratory for choreographers from Poland, Switzerland and France (2006–2007), presentation of works in Gdańsk, Geneva, Paris; the Polish Dance Platform (2003, as part of the Festival Body/Mind). The project Go! Go! Dance, carried out be the Foundation Body/Mind in 2009–2010 is also interesting. In the face of lack in space for dance, Polish dancers and foreign guests took part in an alternative dance marathon, performing all night in the windows of the Club Nowy Wspaniały Świat (Brave New World).
Kozak got back to artistic activity in 2001, by creating , together with an multimedia artist Mirek Kowalczyk, a group Made Inc. In this collaboration, they created a conceptual presentation/installation/performance PLIK 01 which had its premiere at the International Festival of Live Arts “Crossroads” (2001). Other performances of the group: Rosa furiosa (2003) – an artistic fist and achievement fight between a choreographer and the fine artist and Patenty ciała – which explores the essence of the process of creating a performance (2004, Maubeuge/France).
In 2007, after another break in her artistic activity, Edyta Kozak offered her creative space to audiences, by creating an installation Dancing For You For One Minute, which was the beginning of the triptych, together with the performance Dancing For You Longer Than One Minute and a feature film Dancing For You. To sum up: there is an interactive installation Dancing for you for one minute…, spectacle-performance Dancing for you longer than one minute and a feature film inspired by this performance. In the first one, a spectator is allowed to play the role of dancer-choreographer. A film documenting this project, produced at the 7th Festival Body/Mind (2008) was featured in the solo of Kozak directed by Roland Rowiński Dancing for you longer than minute, which was premiered (and was preceded with work in progress presentations) at the following edition of the Festival (2009). In this piece, being a kind of lecture performance and an autobiographical statement of the artist, fictional casting/meeting with the director and self-creation mix with intriguing episodes of the artist’s life – from the ballet school to this day. By mixing various dance conventions, classing ballet in particular, with authentic expression of involved spectators and with the records of their spontaneous dance in a closed space, audience is kept in suspense and the performance receives an additional context. Dancing for you was chosen the Surprise of 2008 in a professional survey of the portal NowyTaniec.PL.
A dance film Dancing 4 U by Roland Rowiński, with the scenario by Kozak and featuring her, Małgorzata Kożuchowska, Magdalena Walach, Paweł Królikowski and actors starring in TV series, was based on the solo of Kozak.