Katarzyna Kozielska, from Poland, is regarded as the rising star of a new generation of choreographers. Her latest work “Aufbruch” (Departure) is about 1919 – the year in which the Bauhaus was founded
Ms. Kozielska, can the Bauhaus be translated into dance?
You can express anything in dance that you have a vision of. At least, that’s the case with me. Of course, I went to Weimar and researched the Bauhaus. There is a lot of material this year for the centenary. Ultimately, however, it was about finding something that touched me personally.
What touched you, exactly?
It was that, in the year of the crisis, when the world war had only just ended, people were saying, “We’re going to start something new, and we’re going to change the world.” That made an impression on me – their attitude immediately appealed to me.
The Bauhaus states: “The ultimate aim of all creative activity is the building” …
… and in dance, the aim is the movement – the exact opposite of statics. We create sculptures with our bodies. They usually last only for a moment. But that is exactly how we express ourselves. The greatest among us manage to do this in their own unique way. It’s at this point that craft intersects with art.
The Bauhaus combined art and craftsmanship. Walter Knoll embodies this tradition: creation, craftsmanship, engineering – everything flows together harmoniously.
Exactly, I want to blur boundaries too! For me, the creative process is to make connections between disciplines. For “Aufbruch,” first of all I had the set built, then came the tailoring of the costumes, and then the composition of the music. This process is very Bauhaus in itself. We ended up with a space in which I could develop my choreography. I keep listening to the music until it turns into motion in my head.
At Walter Knoll we make endless sketches and build models. How do you capture your ideas?
I develop everything in my head. As long as I know what I want to say, the movement constructs itself. If I forget something, it doesn’t annoy me because it means it probably wouldn’t have worked. Otherwise I would have retained it.
You don’t write anything down?
When I write something down, later on I don’t understand what I meant. I have to dance it. Even if I’m not performing any more – it’s important to me that I can still dance every figure myself that I ask of my dancers. That’s why I often practice alone in the studio first. I can ask my body how to express something.
How did you become a choreographer?
I became a mother ten years ago and took time to look after the baby. After that, I developed my first choreography. I used to paint and make sculptures, but they never turned out the way I had imagined. With choreography I knew immediately: that’s it!
How do you see your future?
I will always follow my vision. That’s also what I take from the Bauhaus. I see what I see and I don’t ask why, I just follow it. There is no other way.
Katarzyna Kozielska completed her ballet training at the John Cranko School, one of the most prestigious academies in the world. She then danced for eighteen years with the Stuttgart Ballet Company. Since 2011, she has been developing her own dance pieces, including solos for the German Dance Award, a tribute to John Cage and commissioned works for the Stuttgart Ballet.