Conrad Drzewiecki (1926 – 2007)
"The above declaration made by Conrad Drzewiecki can be considered as my truth likewise regarding my own cultivation lasting twenty five years of this forty-year-old Garden of Polish Dance Theater. Also for me it is like planting new trees and tending the priceless old ones as well. I do not mean the repertoire as the theater is primarily the place to create and search for new artistic methods.Trees are brands and forms in which present times are revealed. The branches of each fruit tree grow thanks to its lively juices. These are choreographies that saturate them with their own energies. Part of the artists come from "the roots", the others are those who make their impact from outside - the commissioned choreographers whose presence extends particular genre. If they do not serve the Garden we cut them down in springtime. It did happen! The most significant trees, however, are those which bear wonderful fruit - performances which we share with our spectators. Fruits contain precious seeds - these are the artists,dancers without whom no production would ever come into being. Thanks to them we can successfully continue for years the cultivation of the Garden with the help of numerous Gardener's assistants.
Our project titled "10 x 4 = XL/Polish Dance Theater yesterday and today" consists of a series of 10 Audio-Video-Performance creations;
they will be produced during our Jubilee Year and dedicated to the dancers - those who have matured yesterday and to those who ripen today despite not always good weather but always full of passion."
Professor Ewa Wycichowska
General and Artistic Director (since 1988) of the POLISH DANCE THEATER"
Conrad Drzewiecki was an outstanding dancer, choreographer, teacher and ballet reformer. Winner of the Silver Medal at the International Dance Competition in Bucharest,1953 (together with Teresa Kujawa), the Golden Medal at the International Dance Competition in Warsaw,1955, Primo Premio Assoluto at the 1956 International Ballet Competition in Vercelli. Soloist of the Poznan Opera Ballet (and its later leader - 1963 -1973), Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, Theatre D'art du Ballet, Ballet de Paris, Ludmila Tcherina Ballet.Between 1971 - 1980 artistic director of the State Ballet School in Poznan. Produced his choreographic works also outside Poland - among other places in Ballet International J.M.F., Het National Ballet in Amsterdam, Danza Nationale de Cuba in Havana, Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Stadttheatern Malmo and Narodne Divadlo in Prague.
The beginning of his precursory activities designed to form a new style of the Polish Ballet dates back to the turn of 1960s and 1970s when he introduced to his Poznan Opera Ballet repertoire the new, original choreographi compositions which became a synthesis of neoclassical technique and modern dance. Distinctive style and artistic program proposed by Conrad Drzewiecki soon resulted in a concept of creating an autonomous ensemble named Polish Dance Theater-Poznan Ballet - which according to the intentions of its founder "was supposed to create forms continuing what was presently going on in the world of ballet art".
Conrad Drzewiecki's work with the Polish Dance Theater initiated in1973 and lasting until 1987 became a true run of success exemplified by prestigious prizes: diploma granted by Foreign Affairs Minister plus the first class State Award for the promotion of Polish culture abroad, ITI diploma for propagating Polish art abroad, Poznan City Award for the outstanding achievements in the field of culture and art, title of the Distinguished Person rendering "great service to the nation's culture", numerous tours in all European countries and invitations to take part in world festivals: International Dance Festival in Paris and Chateauvallon, Baletto Oggi at Bari, Musica Sacra in Milano, Intercontri Musicali Romani,Bregener Festspiele and Berliner Festtage.
The following performances prepared by Conrad Drzewiecki became legendary in the history of the Polish ballet:
"The Fire Bird"(1967), "Adagio for strings and organ"(1967), "Pavane for the Death of an Infant" (1968), "The Miraculous Mandarin"(1970), "An Epitaph for don Juan"(1974), "Eternal Songs"(1975), "Modus Vivendi"(1975), "Stabat Mater"(1976), "Krzesany - Polish Folk Dance"(1977), "Yesterday"(1982); a number of these compositions were also filmed. The last performances created for the Polish Dance Theater - "Roxana's Song" and "The Death of Isolda" - Drzewiecki prepared in 1998 in order to celebrate the 25th jubilee of his Theater.
Conrad Drzewiecki also collaborated as a choreographer, set designer and director with drama theaters, opera houses and television. He was the winner of many awards such as Prix Italia for his movie titled "The games" and the "Terpsichore Prize" for all his creative works.
In 2006 he was honoured with "Gloria Artis" Gold Medal by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The great work of this visionary of dance, CONRAD DRZEWIECKI has been continued in the POLISH DANCE THEATER until today and delights the dance audience on the theater stages all over the world.