AN INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE The right to/of dance – aesthetic, cultural and political contexts

Sideshow / 480 min / Instytut Sztuki PAN

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Enroll at: The conference held in Polish and English (interperetation available)

The conference introduces the topic of the widely understood “right to/of dance.” Contemporary dance by its nature crosses the aesthetic boundaries, but this does not mean that it is free from the construction of hierarchies and exclusions – our aim is to identify and describe them. We also draw attention to the fact that despite over a century of development, this art still cannot function fully autonomously at an institutional level. We want to look at the selected areas of the dance-power-structure relationship, power understood broadly, not only as a political regime, but also the spectator’s right to judge, power relations in the artistic community, disposition of one’s own body, the right to be on stage, etc.

The program, which combines academic and artistic communities, includes both academic papers and lecture-performance forms, as well as a panel discussion.


  1. Lecture performansThe Other Side
Diana Niepce, choreographer, performer (PRT)
  1. What is dance – spectator’s legislation
Prof. Krystyna Duniec, Institute of Arts, Polish Academy of Science (PL)
  1. Alice Ripoll’s work and the contemporary dance scene in Brazil
Maria Claudia Alves Guimarães UNICAMP University, Sao Paulo (BR)
  1. Parangoles: dancing sculptures in the Brazilian art of the 1960s and turning towards the spectator
PhD Agnieszka Sosnowska, Institute of Arts, Polish Academy of Science (PL)


12.00-12.30      Discussion

12.30-13.30 LUNCH BREAK

  1. „Dance, and tell me everything…” – stories of Jewish female dancers during the Holocaust
Prof. Małgorzata Leyko, University of Lodz (PL)
  1. Dancing the new realities: a beauty and a beast of the war
Anton Ovchinnikov, choreographer, performer (UK)
  1. The political dimension of Russian ballet: ideology, representation of power, production of social differences
Svetlana Ulanovskaya, freelance researcher, curator, (BY)
  1. Solitude of movement, or on the political character of walking
Prof. Wojciech Klimczyk, Jagiellonian University (PL)


15.30-16.00      Discussion

16.00-16.15 COFFEE BREAK

Autonomy of dance – utopia and practice
Balancing between the boundaries of various arts comes at a price, and that is the ambiguous status of dance as an autonomous art. During our panel discussion, we will focus on the area of ​​contemporary dance and look at this problem through the prism of personal experiences and choices of people who oscillate between theater, dance, visual arts and performance. Does inter- and intradisciplinarity foster or hinder the achievement (or maintenance) of dance autonomy?
Participants: Wojtek Ziemilski (theatre director), Ramona Nagabczyńska (choreographer, dancer), Joanna Leśnierowska (curator), Alicja Müller (PhD student at the Jagiellonian University, dance critic)
Hosted by: Joanna Szymajda, PhD, Institute of Arts, Polish Academy of Science
Diana Niepce (PT)

Fotografia przedstawia kolorowy portret młodej, ciemnowłosej, bardzo szczupłej kobiety, która patrzy w kamerę.

Born 1985 – dancer, choreographer and writer. As a dancer and performer, she has collaborated with Company Rosas, Felix Ruckert, Willi Dorner, La Fura dels Baus company, Jérôm Bel, Ana Borralho and Joaõ Galante, among others. In 2014, she fell off the trapeze, resulting in tetraplegia (quadriplegia paralysis). Since then, she has combined political activism for the rights of people with disabilities with the poeticity of the body in her work. Through her own transformation, intimacy and experimentation outside the norm, she aims to rework the identity of the performative body. She has also collaborated with Theatre 21 and her works include Raw a Nude (2019) with Mariana Tengner Barros, 12,979 Days (2019), Duet (2020), T4 (2020) and Anda, Diana (2021), which she will show at the 21st C/U. In addition to showing the performance and attending the conference, she will participate in an after talk and lead one of the warm-ups of Free Dances series.
Krystyna Duniec (PL)
Born in 1952. Polish theatre scholar, professor at the Department of History and Theory of Theatre at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, also affiliated with the SWPS University in Warsaw and Collegium Civitas. Historian and theatre essayist. She is the head of the research project “Theatrical Things” – a bulletin, documenting theatrical activities of Polish and European research centres on theatre (1999-2007). Head of the research project of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education ‘Family in post-feminist culture’ (2010-2013).  Member of the research team in the project: “HyPaTiA. A Feminist History of Polish Theatre” (2014-2018). Initiator, author of the programme and manager of the Laboratory of New Theatre Practices at the SWPS University of Humanities and Social Sciences in Warsaw (2012 – to date).
Maria Claudia Alves Guimarães (BR)
Fotografia. Portret kobiety z bordowymi ustami, w bordowej bluzce lub sukience w drobny biały deseń.
Professor of UNICAMP University, São Paulo, Brazil. A specialist in the history and theory of contemporary (mainly Brazilian) dance. She is also researching the history of the Polish artist Yanka Rudzka.  At the 21st C/U, in addition to participating in the conference, she is reading her essay ‘Cultural Politics in Brazil: from academic dance to the periphery of the stage’ on eScene.


Agnieszka Sosnowska (PL)
black and white photo of a blond woman with long face and dark eyesAssistant Professor at the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, curator at the Susch Museum. She is interested in experimental artistic practices at the intersection of disciplines, as well as the exhaustion of the modernist paradigm in the art of the 1960s and 1970s. She was a curator at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle from 2008 to 2020. She has curated and co-curated, among others, the following exhibitions: “Other Dances” (CCA Ujazdowski Castle, 2019), Ula Sickle’s “Free Gestures” (CCA Ujazdowski Castle, 2018), Laura Lima’s “Room and a Half” (CCA Ujazdowski Castle, 2018), “Let’s Dance” (Art Stations Foundation, 2015) and performance projects. An editor of “Other Dances. The performative turn in 21st century Polish art”, “Ula Sickle. Free Gestures”. An author of the books “The Art of Disappearance. Theatricality in Postmodern Times” and “Performans of Resistance”.
Małgorzata Leyko (PL)
Na zdjęciu dojrzała blondynka w okularach przeciwsłonecznych i bialej koszuli. W tle za nią morze lub jezioro.
Prof. DSc., University of Łódź.  Cultural studies and theatre scholar, works at the Department of Drama and Theatre, University of Łódź; researches on German-language theatre in the 19th and 20th centuries, Jewish theatre in Poland, Polish-German theatre relations, theatre as an institution and dance and movement in theatre. Her pioneering publications on Oskar Schlemmer and his research at the Bauhaus in Poland were devoted to the subject of dance, and she published an anthology O. Schlemmer, Experimental Scene of the Bauhaus (Gdańsk 2010). She was one of the curators of the Schlemmer / Kantor exhibition at Cricoteka (2016/2017). In her book Theatre in the Land of Utopia. Monte Verità, Mathildenhöhe, Hellerau, Goetheanum, Bauhaus, (Gdansk 2012) she also dealt with the early explorations of R. Laban, the collaboration of É. Jaques-Dalcroze’s collaboration with A. Appia at Hellerau, the eurhythmics of R. Steiner and the Bauhaus scene. From 2015 to 2020 she led the team preparing the Dictionary of Contemporary Dance.


Anton Ovchinnikov (UKR)

Fotografia przedstawia portret uśmiechniętego mężczyzny

Born 1971 – choreographer, performer, curator, educator. In 1989-1991 he served in the Soviet army. He was a dancer with the Hollywood Ballet in Kiev, then completed his master’s degree at the National University of Culture and Arts in Kiev. He has been the artistic director of the Black O!Range company since 2008, and the artistic director of the Zelyonka Space UP international dance festival in Kiev since 2010. In 2015, he co-founded the all-Ukrainian association Contemporary Dance Platform, serving as president of the institution until today. Since 2018, he has been a member of the expert panel of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation.


Svetlana Ulanovskaya (BY)
Zdjęcie dojrzałej kobiet z krótkimi płomiennie czerwonymi wlosami. Patrzy w bok. Ubrana jestw czarną bluzkę z haftem. Gołe ramiona. W tle ściana z czerwonych cegieł. Born 1978 in Minsk, Bielarus. Dance and ballet critic, researcher in the field of contemporary dance, curator, lecturer at the Belarusian State Academy of Music, Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts and at the European College of Liberal Arts in Belarus, founder and curator of the educational project in the sphere of performing practices Theatre + Body. She’s been publishing in Belarusian and foreign periodicals, among others in Mastactva and Parter magazines, Kultura and Litaratura newspapers (Belarus), Dance in Ukraine and in the World (Ukraine), Mūzikas Saules (Latvia), Petersburg Theater Magazine, Ballet (Russia) and online:,,,, She is one of the authors of “Contemporary dance of Post-Soviet space” (Moscow, 2013), “Dance labyrinth. The history of the International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk” (Minsk, 2013) and “Body and Belarus” (Minsk, 2021). She is the author-compiler and editor of many collections of articles, booklets and magazines about ballet and dance, including “Belarusian ballet in the world cultural space”, almanac about contemporary dance “Open Look”, etc. Svetlana was co-organizer and curator of Polish-Belarusian projects in Minsk, including: a scientific symposium within the framework of the project Territory of Choreography – Eastern Partnership (2016), a program of Polish performances within the framework of the project Territory of Choreography – New Paths of Avant-garde (2018), Polish Vector: the best performances of the Polish Dance Platform within the Forum of Experimental Plastic Theaters PlaStforma (2016), etc.


Wojciech Klimczyk (PL)
a photo of a middle-age man with a light beard, wearing a khaki shirt and a yellow hat.Prof. DSc, researcher at the Jagiellonian University. According to the university’s website: Sociologist by training, closer to cultural studies by passion. Author of the books Postmodern Eroticism, Visionaries of the Body. Panorama of Contemporary Dance Theatre and The Mobilisation Virus. Dance and the Formation of Modernity (1455-1795), volumes 1-2. Together with Agata Świerzowska, he edited the anthology Music and Genocide. He received his doctorate on the basis of his work Anthropology of Contemporary Dance Theatre. Dynamics of artistic practice defended with honours. Outside the university, he is the initiator of the Flying Academy of Dance Languages and a vocalist in the bands Lucky Boy and Black Black Rooster, as well as author of lyrics for such projects as Andrzej Grabowski & Cedury, Starszy Pan and Jutuber .
Wojtek Ziemilski (PL)
na zdjęciu szpakowaty mężczyzna w kolorowej koszuliTheatre director and visual artist based in Warsaw. He works across art forms, exploring the diversity of performance arts. Ziemilski extends the idea of documentary performance, combining tools of devised theatre with Real-Time Composition, as well as references from the world of visual arts and various media.  He is currently studying for a PhD at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, with a thesis on the relation of memory and theatricality. In addition to participation in the Conference, at the 21st. C/U he is hosting an after talk with Diana Niepce.


Ramona Nagabczyńska (PL)
Zdjęcie młodej blondynki, która patrzy w bok i mówi coś, gestykulując..Dancer and choreographer working in Poland and internationally. She trained at the Ballet School in Warsaw, the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt and The Place in London. Her works include New (Dis)Order (2012), selected for the Aerowaves network, Re//accumulation (2012), gallery performances The Way Things Dinge (2014) and Networking (2018), solo pURe (2015) and Body Parts (2019). She is one of the founders of Centre in Motion. She has performed several times at C/U.


Joanna Leśnierowska (PL)
Zdjęcie delikatnie uśmiechniętej brunetki. Włosy z grzywka, ubrana na czarno, widoczna do ramion, łagodnie patrzy w obiektyw. Born 1976. Choreography curator, visual dramaturge and initiator of many international projects. A graduate in theatre studies at the Jagiellonian University, she was one of the first to write professionally about contemporary dance and choreography (publications in “Didaskalia”, “Teatr” and many texts on Polish dance in international magazines). She has also given guest lectures at universities in Poznań and Kraków. In the years 2004-2020, as part of the Art Stations Foundation, she created and led Poland’s first choreography development programme known as Stary Browar Nowy Taniec ( She curated the author’s programme “widening the field” (in collaboration with Nowy Teatr in Warsaw) and co-curated the Performative Mediation programme at the National Museum in Warsaw. From 2019, she also runs the Acziun choreographic reflection programme at the Susch Museum in Switzerland. Since 2003, parallel to her curatorial work for the Art Stations Foundation, she has been developing an independent practice as a choreographer and visual dramaturg/light director in both her own and other artists’ projects. She has been working as an independent curator since 2022. She lives in Poznan, Poland. Find out more at


Alicja Müller (PL)
Na zdjęciu młoda blondynka w czarnej marynarce z dużym dekoltem. Ma usta pomalowane ciemnoczerwoną szminką i wyrazisty makeup na oczach. Patrzy w obiektyw.PhD student in the Department of Anthropology of Literature and Cultural Studies at the Jagiellonian University, member of the International Association of Theatre Critics. In 2015-2019 she was editor-in-chief of the online magazine “Teatralia”; she has published in “Akcent”, “Didaskalia”, “Theatre”, “Blis”, “Czas Kultury”, “Teksty Drugie” and on the portal, among others. In 2014, she was the winner of the 1st edition of the Andrzej Żurowski National Competition for Theatre Reviews for the Young Critic, and in 2015 she won the main prize in the Theatre Institute’s competition for the best master’s thesis on the knowledge of theatre, performance and spectacle defended in the academic year 2014/2015. In 2017, the Jagiellonian University Publishing House published her book Sobątańczenie. Between choreography and narrative. She has collaborated with the Off Camera Foundation, the Performat Foundation and the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor “Cricoteka”. She performed at C/U in 2021.
Joanna Szymajda (PL)
Fotografia przedstawia blondynkę, ktora patrzy w kamerę. Ubrana jest w bluzkę w paski. Ma wyraźne czerwone usta.Assistant professor at the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, dance researcher and cultural manager. She defended her PhD thesis at the Université Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle and the University of Łódź. She holds a master’s degree in theatre studies and psychology from the University of Łódź and Université Lyon II. Deputy director of the Institute of Music and Dance from 2010 to 2017, ballet manager of the Wrocław Opera from 2018 to 2020, artistic coordinator of the Ciało/Umysł Festival from 2007 to 2010 and again from 2021. She collaborates with the Theatre Academy in Warsaw and the University of Łódź. Author of the book Aesthetics of Contemporary European Dance after 1990 (Księgarnia Akademicka, 2013); editor of European Dance since 1989. Communitas and the Other (Routledge/IMiT 2014) and Polish Women Artists of the Dance Avant-Garde (IMiT/IAM 2017). She curated this conference and coordinated the entire 21st C/U. She hosted numerous after talks with artist at the C/U Festival.