When Is Poland’s Sasha Waltz Going to Appear?: Joanna Leśnierowska, Ramona Nagabczyńska, Maria Stokłosa and Mateusz Szymanówka in Conversation with Marta Keil | Keil | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


Marta Keil, Joanna Leśnierowska, Ramona Nagabczyńska, Maria Stokłosa, Mateusz Szymanówka

When Is Poland’s Sasha Waltz Going to Appear?: Joanna Leśnierowska, Ramona Nagabczyńska, Maria Stokłosa and Mateusz Szymanówka in Conversation with Marta Keil


How is it possible that in Poland, so proud of its public financing for the arts, there are so few public institutions statutorily supporting the development of contemporary choreography? Why is choreography still scattered among various organizations and private initiatives, and remains invisible for the large part of society? Together with Joanna Leśnierowska, dance curator and creator of the programme Stary Browar Nowy Taniec [Old Brewery New Dance], choreographers Ramona Nagabczyńska and Maria Stokłosa, and curator and dramatist Mateusz Szymanówka, we try to map the territory of institutional choreography in Poland and to answer the question about the changes necessary for contemporary choreography to gain the status of an autonomous and rightful field in the world of Polish arts. We also discuss the presence of choreographers in Polish theatre institutions and outline the relationships – perhaps surprising for some readers – between the status of contemporary choreography and the development of feminist thought in Poland.


autonomy; choreography; dance institutions; national institution; feminist thought; political aspect of choreography

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Marta Keil

(1983), performing arts curator, based in Warsaw, Poland. Since 2012 she curates together with Grzegorz Reske Theatre Confrontations - international performing arts festival in Lublin ( She created and curates the East European Performing Arts Platform ( Worked as curator and dramaturg with i.e. Agnieszka Jakimiak, Rabih Mroué, Agata Siniarska and Ana Vujanović. In 2014 and 2015 she worked as curator at Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz ( and co-curated Festival of New Dramaturgies ( One of the initiators and curators of the Identity.Move! project ( Editor of the book “Dance, Process, Artistic Research. Contemporary Dance in the Political, Economic and Social Context of “Former East” of Europe”, published in 2015. PhD student at the Polish Academy of Science's Art Institute. She writes a blog

Joanna Leśnierowska

dramaturge, critic, dance curator and performance maker. Since 2004, she has been in charge of the first Polish contemporary dance space and programme, Old Brewery New Dance – a choreography-development programme which strongly supports Polish artists along with presenting the latest achievements of international dance; its mission is to raise a discourse around the art of making dances and the ever-broadening definition of choreography and the fight for the autonomy of this art form. She also works as an artistic coach to young choreographers and as a dramaturge and consultant to a number of Polish and international artists, including Janusz Orlik, Renata Piotrowska, Arkadi Zaides, Minimetal, Lia Haraki, Jurij Konjar and Márta Ladjánszki.

Ramona Nagabczyńska

Polish-Canadian dancer and choreographer. She worked with many Polish and foreign choreographers, directors and visual artists in the most prestigious theatres and galleries of Europe and the US. Her choreography works include New (Dis)Order, RE//akumulacja (RE//mix series, Trisha Brown), Dinge and pURe. Currently, she is working on More (premiered 30 September 2017) as part of the Ciało/Umysł Festival. She is supported by the European apap Network.

Maria Stokłosa

choreographer and dancer. She studied at the London Contemporary Dance School and at the School of New Dance Development (SNDO) in Amsterdam. She collaborates with many artists including Wojtek Ziemilski (Come Together), Meg Foley (Action Is Primary), Magdalena Ptasznik and Marta Ziółek (The Golden Demons), Peter Pleyer (Moving the Mirror), Iza Szostak, Wojtek Pustoła (Ecdyis), Maija Reeta Raumanni, Jeremy Wade. She choreographed Pawel Mykietyn’s opera The Magic Mountain. Stokłosa is very active in the development of Warsaw experimental dance scene – as a teacher and an initiator of various educational projects, as a leader of Burdag Foundation and as a co-creator of Centrum w Ruchu [Center in Motion]. She co-curates the series ‘Dance Activism: Spaces for Choreography’ at the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw and is a leader of the programme board at the National Institute of Music and Dance.

Mateusz Szymanówka

dramaturge and curator in the field of contemporary performance, dance and choreography. He studied cultural, theatre and dance studies in Warsaw and Berlin. He currently lives and works between those two cities. He has been involved in projects of Martin Hansen, Przemek Kamiński, Korina Kordova, Ania Nowak, Agata Siniarska and Marta Ziółek, among others. He has developed projects and programmes for performing and visual-arts institutions, such as the Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, Teatr Studio in Warsaw, the Museum of Art in Łodź and the City Art Gallery in Kalisz. In 2016, he received the Grażyna Kulczyk Research Scholarship in Contemporary Choreography for the project ‘Think Tank Choreograficzny’.