ANUJA
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I document a day with people that inspire me.

Bianca Brzezinski

 
 

"Dance is the ultimate expression of our ability to perceive ourselves as the dancer and the one being danced.  When you come to understand this, the dance will utterly free you. "

 
 

 
 

Bianca is a dancer, artist, teacher, and adventurer living and breathing in San Fransisco. This was our chilly morning frolicking around Mount Sutro as the sun began to rise over the city. 

Bianca's Instagram: @danceyourownadventure

 

 
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How did we first meet?

We met serendipitously.  I ventured out one day to dance with the Sunset at golden hour by the Golden Gate Bridge.  You were taking photos at the same place and time.  We drew closer and instantly connected through our art and the beauty of the moment. 

We spent the morning hiking and frolicking in Mt. Sutro, what was your favorite part?

From the entire pleasant experience, my favorite part was getting to know you and playing together.  Our professional photo shoot, which rewarded us with wonderful photos, was spontaneous, fun and calm.  Our connection made me incredibly comfortable in front of the camera.  When we reached the peak of Mt. Sutro, I instantly remembered a dream about dancing in this place before.  I was so happy we decided to go on this adventure together!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a Polish community in Central New Jersey.  I also spent a few years in Lodz, Poland.  

Where is your family from/what is your cultural background?

My family is from Poland.  I grew up in Matawan, central New Jersey. I have spent a few years traveling and living in Poland, France, Hawaii, Alaska, Netherlands, and Turkey.   

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How long have you been dancing?

I believe I popped into this universe dancing.  In fact, my DNA-ce reminds me that dance is my symbiotic relationship with life, and of my involvement in the co-creation of it.   

How has dance affected you personally?

Dance is my medicine.  It helps me transform, capture the stories of my life that are really important to me, and recognize the preciousness of our exisdance!  It helps me contextualize my philosophies, especially since we are ephemeral creatures, and the ethereal dance simply grounds me.  I appreciate the improvisational qualities of the practice because it helps me soften into finding new solutions, being open for unexpected possibilities and really tuning my body to what it needs; constant, nourishing, playful, experiential experimental movement.

How has the form of dance changed for you over the years?

I studied as many traditional styles of dance I could- hip hop, modern, ballet, jazz, and dance theater.  I am always inspired to create dance as a choreographed form to create something radical and shift peoples perspectives.  The more time I spend in nature, the more I conceive of an innate curriculum of being one with all that it is, and creatively expressing and sharing that with the world.  Dancing with others to inspire them to move and find better alignment, I will always be happy for the rest of my days, for the majority of the time! 

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Who are the dancers that you look up to?

So many, Pina Bausch, William Forsythe, Nijinsky, Sonya Delwaide, Dominique Mercy, Mats Ek, Yvonne Rainer, Alonzo King, Crystal Pite, Jiri Kilian, Ohad Naharin, Shelley Senter, Sylvie Gulliem.  This is a hard question to narrow down, but surprisingly I also need to acknowledge my mother!  I never knew what a great dancer she is, until we took a trip to Turkey together, and attendanced a party where there were over 15 traditional dances performed from all around the country, and afterwards an open dance floor.  She felt free, we danced all night and it gave me perspective of how much she’s sacrificed in her life for mine. 

What has been the strongest influence in your work?

The strongest influence in my work as a dance educator is my first Modern Dance teacher, Luana, who taught the Martha Graham technique at City College of San
Francisco, CA, where she served as the Head of the Dance Department.  Luana graduated from Mills College with a MA in Dance and her commitment to the students and the program is undeniable.  My fervent journey to become a professional dancer independent of my family, who was 6,000 miles away, was met by the passionate spark of this woman, who made me feel at home in the Studio.  Her spiritual dedication to her practice, along with rigorous discipline and utmost professionalism, inspired and encouraged me to find my own voice and trust my calling. She spoke highly of my movement invention, and fostered performance and
teaching opportunities with high school students, as outreach to the local community.

Where do you teach dance? What is it like being a dance teacher or being a dancer in SF? 

I teach dance to seniors with the program Always Active and I just finished a workshop with women in recovery at the Epiphany Center.  Before that, I taught seniors with dementia and alzheimer’s.  I’ve also run independent workshops, and I was a resident dance artist at Roots International Academy, a middle school in Oakland, CA.  Currently, I am featured on If Only, https://www.ifonly.com/celebrity/bianca-brzezinski, a cool platform where other artists and I offer workshops and performances.   As a dancer, I am constantly creating outdoors in collaboration with other artists, and I enjoy working with different populations and communities.  Belonging to the ecstatic dance community has been an incredible practice for me as a teacher and improvisor; being able to explore and express movement in a non-judgemental space, it is my hope that my presence has this effect on others as a teacher. 

 
 

"Her spiritual dedication to her practice, along with rigorous discipline and utmost professionalism, inspired and encouraged me to find my own voice and trust my calling."

 
 
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How do you handle rejection as a dancer?

I cry passionately, and then I remember that I can move into another direction.  I turn my awareness to the act of crying, and I practice the opposite, I start laughing at myself for crying.  I also find deeper acceptance of myself as a distinct mover and I savor the rejection as a rerouter, a change of course, rather than a negative feeling.

What is one thing you’d like to share to aspiring dancers?

One thing I’d like to share to aspiring dancers and people who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves dancers but love to move - dance is the ultimate expression of our ability to perceive ourselves as the dancer and the one being danced.  When you come to understand this, the dance will utterly free you. 

Any accomplishments / awards we should know about?

In total, I have self-published over 100 short films on Youtube.  I wish more people would know about them, but having made them, I have been able to have incredible experiences and collaborations with so many amazing people and places. My most cherished accomplishment is my performance in ‘PODS,’ directed by Leslie Ehrenfeld for Anna Halprin’s 95th birthday celebration.  Being suspended in a cocoon from a tall oak, across from Mt. Tamalpais, my bare body exposed in the breeze, I felt a peak moment in my lifetime.  It was the perfect performance for me, a score about the cycles of life, death, and transformation.  Most recently, a 60 second short film, ‘Alaska,’  was featured in the SzólóDuó International Dance Festival. 

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What is one thing people don’t know about you?

One thing that nobody knows about me is that I'm really sensitive.  I am all about a hardcore independent Spirit, and I wear this tough coat a lot.  I am happy about my perceived freedom, though I am truly susceptible to being overwhelmed with emotion at times, and I cry, hard.  These darker times remind me that the Sun will be always be there as soon as I peak my head out of the sand, and it's all necessary.  The pain is forgotten when you convince yourself ‘tis but a dream, though you question if you're doing enough and why it matters.

What is your favorite part of dancing?

As dancers, our body, mind and spirit are the tuning fork! Dance is a description of not only the first breath we take on this earth, but also an opening to the vast unknown worlds that can only be explored through different means of intelligence, expression and meditation. 

Where do you picture yourself 5 years from now? 

I imagine that in that time I will have danced with many other inspiring artists, created many new site specific projects, and have been able to workshop ‘Open Presence Allows Listening,’ worldwide.  I also really want to dance in places not danced before, and make interdisciplinary work that makes an affect in the world through performance art.  Those are big dreams.  Right now, and until the time passes, I look forward to maintaining a state of calm for surrender to the moment and staying open to possibilities.

What do your workshops like Open Presence Allows Listening entail?

I direct students’ attention on how our experiences are imprinted in our biology to understand the relationship between language, experience and expression.  I place a strong significance on site-specific work and the relation to the space around us as an extension of our biological, mutable 'Cellf portrait.'   I encourage movement exploration in relation to our environment, perceptions of space and time, patterns, social status, and psychosocial expectations.  Students begin to viscerally sense their lives as their own creations and how it’s processes are interrelated.  Shifting the perspective of the stage onto our own lives places immediacy on the experience of the performance of who we are and why we do the things we do.
 

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"Dance is a description of not only the first breath we take on this earth, but also an opening to the vast unknown worlds that can only be explored through different means of intelligence, expression and meditation. "

 

Dear Bianca,

First of all, thank you for being so patient with my crazy life and schedule. You put so much thought and care in this collaboration that you really defined what a great creative partnership should be. Your passion for dance, and nature, and just LIVING is what I noticed from the start. It's contagious, even without speaking you hold presence through movement and dance (hence how we met!). Please never change and continue to strive for your dreams. Here's to more chilly mountain mornings and dancing through forests for life. You deserve all of this and more!

XO, Nuj

Anuja Shukla1 Comment