Jan Bartoszek is the founder and artistic director of Hedwig Dances, a Chicago-based contemporary dance theater ensemble. The Company's bold, interdisciplinary collaborations combine choreography with sculptural artifacts, projected images and haunting original music. 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, Honduras, Brazil and Canada. In 2014, she received a National Performance Network Creation Fund Grant to develop and tour Trade Winds, an international 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. 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.” Her choreography credits include work for Steppenwolf, Northlight, Live Bait and Court theaters and opera (Dead Birds: A War Ritual) with composer William Harper and director D.W. Moffet, as well as choreographing and assisting in work by director Ping Chong. 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.
As a dancer, Jan Bartoszek toured nationally and internationally with Ping Chong & Company performing in BAM’s Next Wave Festival; Montreal’s Festival TransAmeriques; and at the Teatro Goldoni for the Venice Carnivale Festival: and, with the Charlie Vernon Performance Company at the American Dance Festival,; Dance Theater Workshop (NYC); and, the Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), among many others. Ms. Bartoszek has served on the Advisory Board of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago, the Board of the Chicago Dance Coalition, and dance panels for the Illinois Arts Council and the Oregon Arts Commission. From 1974 until its closure in 1990, she was an integral player in the fertile milieu of MoMing Dance & Arts Center, Chicago's legendary performance center and school for contemporary dance, where she taught, choreographed, performed and studied dance. She has also taught dance at Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute/Chicago, Roosevelt University, and the University of Chicago. Ms. Bartoszek has led four dance tours to Cuba (2012-2015) and one to Germany (2014).
Under the administration of Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg, Ms. Bartoszek, along with her dancers and staff, established an extensive program of dance performance and education as the Dance Company-In-Residence at the Chicago Cultural Center (January 1992 to December 2011). The dance residency served as a laboratory for the development of new dance work and a showcase for Ms. Bartoszek’s choreography. During Hedwig Dances’ tenure at the Chicago Cultural Center, she actively inspired and led new program development, mentorship (Hedwig Dance Lab and Dance Bridge), and a School of Dance; along with presenting dance performances. During these 20 years, over 30,000 people attended 250+ performance events, and Hedwig Dances offered 600+ classes and workshops taught by 35+ nationally and internationally recognized to more than 8,500 students.
DURING THE CDF YEAR
Ms. Bartoszek received a 2008 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist to research the dance film genre, a synthesis between the two artistic genres of choreography and cinematography; and, to choreograph, direct, and produce a dance made specifically for the camera. As a part of her research, she traveled to New York City and Amsterdam, Netherlands to investigate the development of dance for the camera and utilize the resources of the Dance Film Association’s (DFA) library and to establish ties with Deirdre Towers of DFA and Janine Dijkmeijer of Cinedans, and attend their respective dance film festivals. Ms. Bartoszek organized a hands-on, two-day cinematography workshop taught by Ms. Towers at the Chicago Cultural Center, a partnership between Hedwig Dances, CDF, and the Cultural Center. During this period of time, she also co-established and co-curated an annual dance film series at the Chicago Cultural Center (2007-2010) with Sarah Best.
The culminating product of her CDF Award was the creation of Arch of Repose, a poetic, image-rich dance film. The film unfolds in a series of episodes that reveal alliances and fissures among the six itinerant characters. The dream-like, timeless setting created an alternate reality that contrasts a labyrinthine interior space with a lush landscape. In creating Arch of Repose, Jan Bartoszek collaborated with Daniel Kullman (Director of Photography and Editor) and Nicolas DeGrazia (Producer) of the film production company Bitter Jester Creative (BJC); costume designer, performer and vocalist Carol Genetti; and Hedwig dancers. The dance was shot over four days at Millard Park, a diverse outdoor location that included an open air municipal building, along the shores of Lake Michigan in Highland Park, Illinois. The film premiered at the Music Box Theater and the Alliance Francaise in November 2009. Richard Woodbury has recently composed a new sound score. Hedwig Dances will re-release the film in Fall 2015.
Jan’s interest in dance for the camera and video as an element of dance theater preceded and has continued past her CDF project. The experience has led her to further integrate the video medium in her theatrical productions. She continues to have strong artistic ties with filmmaker Nadia Oussenko and Bitter Jester Creative (Trade Winds), and with Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero of luftwerk (ASCENDance, Dance of Forgotten Steps, and Earthly Tongues). BJC Director of Photography Daniel Kullman has since traveled to Cuba with Hedwig Dances twice to participate in creating video for the Trade Winds production and to document the Company’s collaborations. BJC and Hedwig Dances are currently developing a behind the scenes documentary about the process of creating Trade Winds.
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