Creations: a choreographic workshop

Here is what the Polish National Ballet’s director, Krzysztof Pastor, wrote about the company’s initiative:

‘Choreographic workshops should be an intrinsic element in the life of a ballet company which has the ambition of developing its own artistic image. Without a search for new paths, means of expression, and even a new language, ballet would be a rather uninteresting art, offering audiences neither surprises nor challenges, maybe even a dead art. A leading ballet company, apart from presenting great and familiar repertoire, should also be creative, they should seek their own unique artistic solutions, propose ballets by new choreographers, preferably from among the company itself. For choreographic talent to stand a chance of revealing itself and developing, however, certain conditions have to be in place. That’s why one of my first initiatives after taking over as director of the Polish National Ballet was to establish annual choreography workshops.    

‘This is a project important not only to our audience and to the company’s development, but also to those dancers who are thinking maturely and responsibly about their future once they end their career as ballet dancers – so that they can see what it’s like to be a choreographer, work organizer, production manager, stage manager, advertising campaign initiator, author of texts, program editor, costume designer, technical crew member, etc.     

‘All the artists who decide to take part in the project should do so on a purely volunteer basis – in order to develop the necessary determination and ability to persuade others not only to undertake creative work but also to make an extra effort. At the same time, they have maximum freedom as far as artistic and organizational choices go, which is sure to free the great creative potential of our company. That’s why I would like the choreography workshops, named Creations – also as proposed by our dancers – to become a permanent element of the Polish National Ballet’s work at the Teatr Wielki, contributing to the development of Polish choreography.’     

The 1st Choreographic Workshop in 2009 resulted in the premiere of ballet miniatures choreographed by five of our dancers. These were works by Eduard Bablidze, Robert Bondara, Jacek Tyski, Karol Urbański, and Natalia Wojciechowska. The most interesting piece, Robert Bondara’s When You End and I Begin… to the music of Paweł Szymański, was included in the ballet company’s small stage repertoire a year later. Jacek Tyski, meanwhile, was offered the opportunity to choreograph an original ballet to Polish music, and subsequently presented In Search of Colours to the music of Grażyna Bacewicz. Both choreographies are now part of the ballet evening Alpha and More.     

The 2nd Choreographic Workshop in 2010 yielded choreographies by two debuting artists, Michał Chróścielewski and Anna Hop, and new miniatures by Eduard Bablidze, Robert Bondara, Jacek Tyski, Karol Urbański, and Natalia Wojciechowska. In recognition of Robert Bondara’s interesting new project — The Garden’s Gates to the music of Szábolcs Esztényi — director Krzysztof Pastor commissioned the young choreographer to devise a new original ballet for the Polish National Ballet’s small stage repertoire. Bondara designed the full-length ballet Persona to music by Arvo Pärt, Paweł Szymański, and Aldona Nawrocka; the world premiere took place in September 2011 as part of the 3rd Days of Dance at the Teatr Wielki.

The 3rd Choreographic Workshop in 2011 again welcomed Eduard Bablidze, Anna Hop, Jacek Tyski, and Natalia Wojciechowska, while the first-timers were Zbigniew Czapski-Kłoda, Anna Lorenc, and George Williamson. This time Jacek Tyski proposed an original dance interpretation of Debussy’s famous The Afternoon of a Faun. The audience especially enjoyed the miniatures of the youngest choreographers: Temat strachu (The Subject of Fear) by our own Anna Hop, and Animus by British dancer George Williamson.

The 4th Choreographic Workshop in 2012 took place in late April/early May. New works of the Polish National Ballet’s young choreographers were presented at the Młynarski Hall on 11, 12, 13 and 20 May 2012.