Jacek Łumiński – dancer, choreographer, pedagogue. Founder and director of the Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom, dean of the Dance Theatre Department in Bytom – faculty of the AST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Cracow. He was a student of the Roman Turczynowicz Ballet School in Warsaw.
His theatrical apprenticeship began in the acting studio of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw. From 1985 till 1988, he danced at the Polish Dance Theatre in Poznań, which at that time was still directed by Conrad Drzewiecki. He graduated in Dance Pedagogy from the Academy of Music in Warsaw.
In 1988 in Olsztyn, he co-founded the New Dance Theatre together with Piotr Galiński (who currently works as a jazz dance choreographer and a jury member of all the editions of the Polish version of “Dancing with the Stars” programme). After that, the New Dance Theatre moved for one season to Chorzów and then ceased working. Jacek Łumiński, however, decided to stay in the Silesian region.
In 1991 he founded the Silesian Dance Theatre. His work associates include Avi Kaiser and Melissa Monteros. Ma quere a moi, choreographed by Łumiński, was the first premiere of the newly established dance company. In the same evening – 5 June 1992 – the audience gathered in the Silesian Dance Theatre had the chance to watch two other pieces choreographed by Łumiński – Między wodami (Between the Waters) and Tęsknoty II (Longings II).
In 1990ʼs the Silesian Dance Theatre was clearly becoming one of the most important contemporary dance institutions in Poland; on the one hand, the SDT gained international recognition thanks to numerous tournées, on the other hand, the International Contemporary Dance Conference and Dance Festival, organised annually by SDT, became an important event that formed many of the currently active dance artists and critics.
In the 1990ʼs, Jacek Łumiński became one of the most important and influential figures in the Polish contemporary dance scene. Apart from being the head of SDT, he also functioned for many years as the jury member of the International Presentations of Contemporary Dance Forms in Kalisz. In the 1990ʼs Łumiński also published numerous critical and theoretical articles on dance.
It soon became clear that SDT was being formed in accordance with Łumińskiʼs artistic ideas and ambitions. He choreographed and directed the majority of the choreographies produced by SDT. Inspired by Polish folklore and the traditional culture of Polish Jews, Łumiński developed also a dance technique and compositional methodology that was later dubbed the “Polish dance technique” – characterised by powerful physicality of expression that oscillated between lyricism and abstraction. In his work, Łumiński drew inspiration from American postmodern dance, as well as from the tradition of Polish folk dance and Jewish folklore. In the course of his career, he also made several attempts to reconstruct the choreographies of Polish expressionist artists from the interwar period.
For years, one of Łumińskiʼs long-term goals was to create a dance university in Bytom. Initially, Łumiński wanted the establish an autonomous Performing Arts University – co-financed by the EU programme “Leonardo da Vinci” and with English as the language of instruction. However, the institutional limitations and staffing shortages did not allow him to realise this idea. Nevertheless, in October 2005, an open call for a pilot programme aimed at preparing a programme for such a university was announced. The pilot programme lasted for one year and during that time classes were being conducted by both Polish and European dance experts – practitioners (dancers of SDT, Hilke Diemer), as well as critics and theorists (such as Katja Schneider and Roman Arndt). Ultimately, however, the director of the SDT reached an agreement with Bytom city authorities (president Krzysztof Wójcik) and the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Cracow (rector Jerzy Stuhr). Following this agreement, in 2007, a specialization “dance theatre actor” was created at the Acting Department the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Cracow. One year later, a separate Department of Dance Theatre began to operate in Bytom, and Jacek Łumiński became its dean.
In 2008, Łumiński defended his PhD thesis entitled Teatr tańca. Inspiracje, wariacje, miejsce, koncepcja (Dance Theatre. Inspirations, Variations, the Place and the Concept) at the Acting Department of the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Cracow. Earlier, in 2001-2002, he also conducted lectures as a visiting professor of the Lang Centre – Swarthmore College (USA). Since 2009 he works also for the Warsaw University Press as a scientific editor specialised in dance.
In the years 2004-2010 Łumiński was studying the anthropology of performing arts under the guidance of Anya Peterson Royce at the Indiana University, Bloomingtom (USA).
In 2019, he began his work at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, where he created the faculty of dance (specialisation – dance theatre). In February 2020, the Academy established the Institute of Dance and Łumiński became its head. He cooperates with Janusz Skubaczkowski, Sharon Reshev-Armony, Louise Frankenhuis, Brian Michaels, Sebastian Majewski, Anna Nowak, Davidson Jaconello, among others.
Since 2019, Jacek Łumiński works as an academic teacher at the Beijing Dance Academy and Tianjin Conservatory of Music in Hangzhou.
His current professional endeavours focus on the process of establishing the Centre of Dance Art in Katowice. Łumiński plans to expand the Centreʼs activities towards cooperation with Asia.