Natalia Draganik, Joanna Leśnierowska
Natalia Draganik, Wioleta Kenczyńska, Joanna Leśnierowska, Agnieszka Piotrowska
Foreignlanguagesness (premiere in 2005) – a spectacle by Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne (the Gymnastic Association) attempts to reach the depth of broadly understood alienation. A question about the reasons for the feeling of alienation in the surrounding reality, the society, ones body was the starting point for the creation of the performance. The company seeks the answer to the problem by means of a series of poetic images and an original movement language created on the bases of physical dance techniques.
The creation of a dance space, which would meaningfully determine the dancers behavior in the same way that the surrounding reality determines our behavior and feelings – pop-culture and the omnipresent theatralization and artificiality of life – is another sonorous element of the spectacles.
''Foreignlanguagesness'' is a spectacle which, by no means, lacks auto-irony. It is a spectacle which, with all seriousness, poses a question about the elements of alienation. The co-existence of the real and the virtual is presented with the help of contemporary dance techniques and intensive, audio-visual experiences. The mutual affection of energies understood as foreignlanguagesness – row and styled movement, inner and outer impulses, words, sounds, noises – is in the centre. The space is the determining factor in the message. (...)
Contemporary dance theatre in its top form.
Stefanie Möller, Leipziger Zeitung, 25th of October 2005
''Foreignlanguagesness'' makes an enormous impression. A series of images takes place in a white cube on the stage. We observe four female dancers – each of them struggling with their own loneliness. The artists have worked on all the spectacle's elements with utmost care. These, indeed, concerns its every aspect: the music, the scenery, the programme which is the projects integral element. The ending, however, is the most surprising part(...) When the spectator thinks that they handled the spectacle's interpretation, they get a flip on the nose. All that's left is to laugh and to muse over the issue of foreignlanguagesness once more...
Agata Rosińska, City News, December 2005
Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne (Gymnastic Association) has been created in 2003 as an initiative of Natalia Draganik (dancer and choreographer) and Joanna Leśnierowska (dance critique). Towarzystwo (Association), as the very name suggests, is more of a lose conglomerate of independent artists rather than a set company, as it wishes to avoid all genre generalizations. The artists, naturally, takes advantage of widely understood contemporary dance techniques in their work. However, their ultimate aim is to choose such means of expression, that would be most adequate to the presentation of the spectacles' contents.
Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne's debut (Whatever You Wish/ premiere on the 20th of November 2003) took place during the 12th edition of Międzynarodowy Festiwal Teatralny MASKI (the MASKS International Theatrical Festival). Whatever You Wish is a peculiar programme manifesto, which evokes a dispute over diverse colloquial views on contemporary dance – for instance, as a form of gymnastic activity (which, by the way, corresponds with the groups name) – in an auto-ironic manner.
The spectacle was warmly received by the audience and was widely present in Polish press. It was presented during the Malta Festival (2004), Gdańska Korporacja Tańca (Gdańsk Dance Corporation) (2004), Teatr Narodowy (the National Theatre), T. Mały scene in Warsaw (March 2005).
In 2004, Natalia Draganik and Joanna Leśnierowska have created Stowarzyszenie Artystyczne Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne (Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne Artistic Association). Its ultimate goal is to support the development of Polish contemporary dance and its promotion – especially the development and promotion of the Polish art of choreography. The Association's mission is the popularization of knowledge of contemporary dance amongst the audience, as well as amongst young professionals, by means of production and presentation of original projects, workshops organization for young dancers and choreographers and establishing a dialogue platform for artists from Poland and their colleagues from abroad.
To fully realize the assumed aims, Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne became the only Polish partner of DANCE WEB – a prestigious, Vienna-based European organization. DANCE WEB associates the biggest and the most interesting dance centres and organizations in Europe (amongst others: ROSAS/ Belgium, Ultima Vez/ Belgium, Impulstanz/ Austria, Montpellier Choreographical Centre/ France, Tanzhaus NRW/ Germany).