Death. Exercises and Variations

Death. Exercises and Variations
3 October 2015, 7 p.m.

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Death is an indescribable experience. It is a point of no return. When a person experiences death, they leave forever.

Renata Piotrowska, a Polish choreographer and performer, in her new performance uses humour and distance to confront this experience with theatre, in accordance with the theory by Peggy Phelan for whom theatre is a place where the society […] rehearses for loss, and especially for death. Piotrowska attempts to directly stage the encounter with death, goes through different scenarios making up a performative diptych for the choreographer to travel through centuries of (in)experience with death while she draws on its artistic, cultural and social representations. Based on the observation that the contemporary body defies its own mortality more than ever before, and that the omnipresence of death in the media is conversed by its evacuation from our everyday lives, she turns to some historical phenomena and phantasms associated with the issues of death and dying, such as the mediaeval iconography of the Danse Macabre, ritualistic repetition, personification of death, the macabre aesthetics of the gore or la petite mort of eroticism. Choreographing it as an elusive partner through its many faces, Piotrowska is trying to track our understanding, or lack thereof of death today.



fot. Marta Ankiersztejn


concept, choreography: Renata Piotrowska
performance: Renata Piotrowska / Ula Zerek
dramaturgy: Bojana Bauer
lights: Joanna Leśnierowska

Partners: Centrum w Ruchu, Wawerskie Centrum Kultury, Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej — Sala Laboratorium, Centre National de la Danse in Paris, La Briqueterie — CDC du Val-de-Marne, Teatr Soho, STSpot in Yokohama.

Produced as part of the project Badanie/produkcja. Rezydencje choreograficzne – taniec w procesie artykulacji [Research/production. Choreographic residencies – dance in the process of articulation] run by the Burdąg Foundation thanks to the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.  Research project supported by the Institute of Music and Dance.

Special thanks to Simon Auffret, Anna Gołdanowska, Małgorzata Ignatowska and  Maria Stokłosa.


A choreographer, dancer and performer. She works with contemporary dance, especially new dance and performance art. Piotrowska is inspired by her own experience and theoretical texts in humanities. Some of her performances include: Teraz [Now] (2007), Tańcząc z Wrogiem [Dancing with the Enemy] (2007), the UNKNOWN series (2008–2010), break SZTUKA WOJNY [THE ART OF WAR] (2010), UNKNOWNS.SEANS [UNKNOWN.SÉANSE] (2011), a dance film Inside (2011), The Forest_work in progress (2013), Śmierć. Ćwiczenia i wariacje [Death. Exercises and Variations] (2014). In the years 2008 and 2010 her performances Dancing with the Enemy and Unknown were selected for the prestigious Polish Dance Platform review. Piotrowska has won several scholarships of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Art Stations Foundation, the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Młoda Polska programme (2010) and the Stypendium Ministra programme (2013) Piotrowska is a member of a Warsaw-based choreographers’ association Center in Motion.


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