YANKA RUDZKA. GESTURES AND TRACES is the Polish edition and continuation of a project dedicated to Yanka Rudzka, launched in 2016 in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Unknown in her homeland, Poland, Yanka Rudzka, she fled to South America at beginning of The Second World War and there, she became an outstanding choreographer. In the 1950s, in Salvador de Bahia, she set up a pioneering dance education and revolutionised the local contemporary dance scene. The project brings the Polish public closer to the life and work of this artist, and tracing her fascination with traditional culture, raises some important questions about its possible impact on the art and practice of contemporary choreography.
As part of the project, in early June, we invited the public to a series of intensive workshops on traditional dances (the Brazilian samba, the Polish oberek and mazurka, and Israeli in pairs folk dances), bearing in mind that these are inherently group practices that bring us closer regardless of our beliefs, nationalities or skills, and that they hold rooted in the art of dance since always and the very important power (especially in this day and age) to create a COMMUNITY.
During the project finale at the Malta Festival Poznań, we will present the Polish premiere of ZACZYN (Leavening), a performance created in 2016 during a residency which featured 9 Brazilian and Polish dancers. The main theme of the show is the moment of meeting in a dance practice based on investigating and being inspired by the traditional cultures of both countries. The show was also guided by the creative principle of sharing experience, partnership and dialogue. As a result, it repeated the gesture of Yanka Rudzka (who travelled to Brazil, shared her knowledge of dance with the Bahia community and was interested in the local culture transforming it elements of it into her own choreography), and provided for the practical exchange of experience and the joint exploration of the common ground and the inspirational differences between the two dance worlds.
The programme culminates in a two-day informal symposium that will continue the research on Yanka Rudzka initiated in 2016. In a series of lectures and panel discussions together with guests from Brazil, we will introduce the Polish public to the largely unfamiliar artist, and in a symbolic way, we’ll “bring her home.” As we follow the traces of Yanka Rudzka’s artistic gestures, we will explore if and how artists of today can be inspired by traditional culture. Furthermore, using the work on ZACZYN as a point of departure, we will also address the problems of cultural appropriations and misappropriations. The latter will receive a very interesting illustration in closing the project guest performance Everything You Have is Yours? by American artist Hadar Ahuvia who critically revisits Israeli folk dances.
documentations of 2016 project: