I am working on a new collaborative multidisciplinary performance work, Futura that applies principles of the Bauhaus modernist art movement to dance while also challenging notions of what constitutes choreography. This will be the next major work presented by my company, Hedwig Dances. What excites me most about this project is the level of research, experimentation, and collaboration it involves, which will push myself, this ensemble, and we hope, the field of dance in new directions. This project draws upon a recent research trip to Germany where I studied the Bauhaus School and movement, including its history, principles, and ongoing influence. I am attracted to the School’s tenet that design is a source of social transformation. In this latest work, I will explore such topics as the role of social design in dance, and how dance shapes, and is shaped by society, art, architecture, and design in the 21st century. I will focus on space, particularly the idea of confinement and freedom, as well as parallels between the Weimar era and our own time. This exploration of Bauhaus principles is consistent with my career-long focus on dance practice and performance as a ritual powerful enough to break down barriers and bring people together. I believe that dance is as much a research science as an extension of the humanities, and I continue to be intrigued by the question of why people dance and how we interpret and understand what is being communicated non-verbally through movement. Futura will premiere at The Dance Center of Columbia College in November 2018.
My central pursuit as a dance artist is how the body expresses truths about the human experience beyond words. These concerns led me to research dance from a cultural and world dance perspective as an extension of my academic majors in sociology and anthropology.
In May 2017, I traveled to Germany on a research trip funded by a professional development grant from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. I visited the three original sites of the Bauhaus School in Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin. During my travels, I met with various individuals—historians, researchers, educators, and presenters related to the living Bauhaus movement—to deepen my understanding of its history, influences, principles, and pedagogy.
For Futura, I will apply Bauhaus principles and aesthetics—abstraction, playful thinking, experimentation—to the development of choreography and production elements, the use of 21st-century media, and the ways in which performers interact with the audience.
Through playful experimentation with my dancers and collaborators, we will build a novel and richly theatrical movement playground that is threaded with a rousing musical score and a vibrant, colorful visual design.
3Arts is proud to partner with High Concept Labs by connecting artists supported through 3AP (3Arts Projects) to HCL’s Sponsored Artist Program. In 2018, Jan Bartoszek was selected as an HCL Sponsored Artist to continue developing her project, “Futura: Past Forward,” which was successfully funded on 3AP in August 2017.
Jan Bartoszek is the founder and artistic director of Hedwig Dances, a Chicago-based contemporary dance theater ensemble in-residence at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Throughout her career, she has fostered a spirit of collaboration with other artists; merging choreography, objects, media, text, and music to create dances that resonate with emotional complexity and depth.
Ms. Bartoszek has choreographed over 65 dances in her career that critics have described as “intelligent, accomplished, moving” (Chicago Tribune) and “poignantly human” (Chicago Reader). These dances have been presented in national performance venues and internationally in Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, and Canada. In 2014, she received a National Performance Network Creation Fund Grant to develop and tour Trade Winds, a dance collaboration between Hedwig Dances and the Havana-based contemporary dance company DanzAbierta. She has garnered numerous choreography fellowships including one from the National Endowment for the Arts and eight from the Illinois Arts Council. From 1992 to 2011, Hedwig Dances, through Ms. Bartoszek’s direction, served as the Dance Company In-Residence at the Chicago Cultural Center under the leadership of DCASE Commissioner Lois Weisberg, developing numerous performance and education programs. The Chicago Dance Coalition granted her a Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Dance Community for “keeping the spirit and vision of MoMing alive through her work at the Chicago Cultural Center, serving as an educator, mentor, presenter, administrator, and promoter of dance in the city with inspirational excellence.” Today’s Chicago Woman included her in “100 Women Making A Difference” for her contribution to Chicago’s cultural landscape. In 2016, she was one of twelve Chicago dance artists selected by a national panel to participate in the Regional Dance Development Initiative sponsored by New England Foundation for the Arts and the Chicago Dancemakers Forum. Her dance film, Arch of Repose, received a 2016 Emmy nomination. Bartoszek’s choreography credits include work in theater (Steppenwolf, Northlight, Live Bait, Court), as well as choreographing and assisting in work by director Ping Chong; and, opera (Dead Birds: A War Ritual) with composer William Harper and director D.W. Moffet. She has written, directed and choreographed four dance shows specifically designed for young audiences that have been performed throughout the Midwest in schools, museums, and cultural centers.