For the final intensive of our month long summer dance program our students worked with Mark Sieczkarek on Tanztheater.
Mark Sieczkarek was born in 1962 in Inverness, Scotland and studied from 1973 until 1981 at the Royal Ballet School in London. Following his studies, he received an engagement as a dancer with Scapino Ballet in Amsterdam where his first choreographies came into being.
Between 1983 and 1985 he danced with the Penta Theatre in Rotterdam and then moved to the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, where he stayed with the ensemble until 1988.
Since then Mark Sieczkarek has been working freelance as a choreographer and dancer and has brought more than 30 of his own – and commissioned choreographies – to international stages, including the direction of dance projects in Krakow (Poland), Accra (Ghana), San Jose (Costa Rica) and Porto Alegre (Brazil). Mark founded his own company in 1998.
He was awarded the Encouragement Prize from the region of North Rhine-Westphalia (1996) and the Wolfgang-Max-Faust prize (1999).
In June 2017 he created the piece The Tired Queens Garden for the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch during Underground V.
We sat down with Mark to hear about his week with our students.
Has anything surprised you about the students, in your time with them so far?
It surprised me how quiet they are. But maybe that had to do with the weather, or something. I don’t know they’re a quiet group. Every group is different and a lot of them belong to the the same university, so I guess it wasn’t like they didn’t know each other, and maybe they already had this group and dynamic.
You’re working with eight dancers this week, is it usual that you work with a group this small?
I work with all kinds of groups and ages up to 85. I work with autistic children as well, and then I have a gay and lesbian group, so it’s all very mixed.
Have you worked with American students before?
Not like this. I’ve worked a lot in Brazil and Costa Rica and El Salvador, so more like South Americans, and then in Germany, in the folksbiene school, which is very multi culti, so actually it’s more unusual to have one group from one country for me. Normally it’s very mixed. Somebody from the Goethe Institute once said to me it’s not German dance it’s a mix. You don’t have companies with only German people.
Is there a main point of focus that you hope the students take away from this intensive?
It’s hard to say one thing. Probably I try to show a different quality in movement. Because I have this soft flowing way of moving and maybe for some of them that was new. And the other thing is humor and enjoying dance, not just working on it like an exercise or technique. We used mainly improvisation, to explore that and to feel free while moving.
What has been your favorite part about living and working at the ADA?
I think the place is really beautiful, it’s idyllic, if it had been 10 degrees less it would have been perfect, but I think it’s beautiful and a great idea to do something like this. The classroom has a nice atmosphere and I think it’s because there’s a nice spirit in the whole place. I think for the students maybe it gives them a more secure feeling to live here. Because they know where they are and they don’t have to worry about what’s going on outside. It’s a safe harbor in a way.
What is dance to you?