Wojciech Mochniej is a dancer, choreographer and pedagogue. In 1991-1994 he was a dancer with the Silesian Dance Theatre. Since 1995, he has taught at the dance faculty of the School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary (Canada). He has collaborated with such artists as Anna Sokolov, Talley Beatty, Mark Haim, Stephanie Skura and Risa Jaraslow, among others. He also appeared in numerous productions by Alpo Aaltokoski (Finland), Avi Kaiser (Belgium/Israel), Paula Ross, Davida Monk, Tania Alvarado and Peggy Baker (Canada). As an improvisation artist, he honed his skills under, and collaborated with, many outstanding improvisers such as Ray Chung, Chris Aiken, David Dorfman and Martin Keough.
Together with Melissa Monteros, he founded the Gdańsk Dance Theatre and the Gdańsk Contemporary Dance School (1994-2001). Since 2000, the Gdańsk Dance Theatre has operated as the W&M Physical Theatre, having relocated to Calgary, Canada. The theatre has presented its performances in Canada, Poland, Austria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, France and Italy, among others. Mochniej’s solos have been presented in Canada, Finland (Full Moon Dance festival) and at major Polish stages and festivals. Mochniej holds workshops in contemporary dance, improvisation, choreography, GYROKINESIS® and camera work. In 2002, he was a resident at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz, Austria. He was also a member of the Theatre Junction Company of Artists (Calgary) and a pedagogue with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Mochniej has contributed choreographies to the Polish edition of “You Can Dance”. The “Dance Europe” magazine deemed his solo Just po prostu as the best performance in the “Male Dancer” category. A laureate of the City of Grańsk and the City of Lublin prizes for contributions to contemporary dance in Poland. Mochniej teaches contemporary dance, choreography, dance and the camera, improvisation, performance and repertoire at the University of Calgary. In 2018, he choreographed We_selle , developed in collaboration with the Institute of Music and dance as part of the programme Choreographic Commissions 2018.
Mochniej’s dance workshops
Wojciech Mochniej offers a new/individual approach to contemporary dance techniques, following a path towards organic motion. The workshop has been based on his professional experience and focuses on the exploration of the body both within organised motion and structures, and in improvisational situations. Mochniej’s workshops emphasise the role of body weight and the flow of energy lines.
Mochniej works on the conscious isolation of the body and the use of its natural impulses. He explores the combination of physical, visual and kinetic stimuli based on the emotional states of dancers. His pedagogical and choreographic work is anchored by the fundamental principles of GYROKINESIS®, floorwork, improvisation and contact improvisation, which together provide movement materials for choreographic structures, and facilitate dancers in gaining a dynamic insight into the three-dimensional experience of the body in space. Workshop participants are guided in a way which activates their imagination and intellect in working with their bodies, along with a fuller awareness of their organisms and the surrounding space both in individual and collective work.
The goal of the workshops is to strive for a complete engagement in the performed activity and the maximisation of the resulting joy and satisfaction.
During the workshops, participants are seriously challenged with respect to their dedication, engagement and development as dancers. Mochniej deeply believes in the efficiency of the assigned challenges, risk-taking and the transcendence of one’s comfort zones.