21st Ciało/Umysł - International Festival of Dance and Performance Art (2022)
21st Ciało/Umysł - International Festival of Dance and Performance Art (2022)

Ciało/Umysł is one of the oldest contemporary dance festivals in Poland, established in 1995. It consistently promotes independent, international art of dance with a particular focus on multi-cultural dialogue, promoting empathy, mutual understanding and respect. It presents performances that break with standard creative solutions, dialogue with the heritage of dance and provoke thought. Each year, the festival has it’s motto which expresses the idea behind the choices of the programme.

The slogan of the 21st Cialo/Umysl is FREE (or FREEDOM) TO DANCE! Edyta Kozak, Artistic Director of the Festival, writes about the different ways of understanding it and how it manifests itself in the works to be shown at the 21st C/U:

FREEDOM TO DANCE, the theme of the 21st edition of the Ciało/Umysł festival, is a reminder of what this one of the most important values, or maybe privileges or rights, really is. This slogan expresses an alternative approach and way of looking at social, cultural and even historical space.

In the past artists, driven by a sense of freedom, supported the authority of political systems only to critically undermine them later. Today they inidcate this power within ourselves. It is up to us whether we choose to be free and open, and politicians have nothing to do with it. I have great respect for the artists who teach us today to look at life anew. It is not easy to be an artist nowadays, although it was not easy before neither, as Alice Ripoll says in the interview Passionate Direction. Today the artists make even more effort, because apart from their daily work, there is additional work to be done – all the more strenous as it is not bound to be uncritically accepted. It consists in imbuing creativity with values ​​such as love, respect and closeness. The era of negativity is over, it is time for the era of goodness. It is all the more difficult as it targets the places and paradigms which until now could have been encrypted within us, and protected with a password, as well as a large inscription warning DO NOT ENTER! Since our freedom is emotional, delicate, vulnerable, uncontrollable and we want to protect it. That is why there is a need for mutual consent to create bonds, to free compassion, empathy, shared responsibility…

The artists invited to the 21st edition of C/U festival do not talk about the threat to freedom, but by pointing out the developed and acquired forms of culture, they suggest freeing ourselves from social stereotypes, cultural hierarchy and classical philosophy based on the separation of good from evil, and beauty from ugliness. 

In the performance of Alice Ripoll, the Brazilian dancers make a theatrical, symbolic gesture of scrubbing out not only the conviction about the dominant white caste considering black people as dirty, but the centuries-old history, too. The disabled Portuguese artist Diana Niepce re-establishes herself in her brutal, yet sensual manifesto. She suggests questioning what we consider the aesthetic norm in order to take a closer look at our vulnerability, nakedness, and interdependence.

In his solo work Dominik Więcek, a young Polish artist who was born and raised in Germany, equates his mother with Pina Bausch, the famous mother of Tanztheater, in terms of the impact they both had in the process of shaping his present-day identity. A Ukrainian artist Olga Dukhovnaya reveals to us the true meaning of the famous Swan Lake ballet for Russia, taking on the role of a healing shaman. Renata Piotrowska-Auffret is also looking for freedom from historical and contemporary stigmas. She wants to make the uterus, in which the energy of life and the woman’s power is accumulated, a safe home and  a sacred place for each of us again. Anna Godowska and Sławek Krawczyński consider the possibility of freedom without rules that define it.

In their two-hour choreographic installation, the duo of Ana Borralho and João Galante, who have been dismantling various taboos at the C/U Festival for almost a decade now, invite us together with Warsaw performers to a void filled with whispers and viewers. Whispering is a specific form of energy that triggers a little used sense in us: the listening. Listening to the other person. We will try to find in it the meaning of the texts linking the East with the West, as well as the closeness and tenderness forgotten by the world.

At the conference accompanying the festival, we will look at various concepts of freedom, and during workshops and free dances we will go beyond our limits blocking the expression of our full potential and experience new moments …

And here the road to freedom ends and the journey within freedom begins. The journey that everyone must travel alone.

The above quote is from an editorial written by Edyta Kozak for the festival magazine. which be published in early October and will be available at the events.