Anna Żak – dancer, teacher, choreographer. She graduated in pedagogy and psychology from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (1998). She also completed postgraduate Cultural Studies on Faculty of Humanities of the same university (2006). Pilates instructor (Polish Academy of Sports, 2010). Since 1996 has continued dance education at workshops in Poland and abroad, e.g. releasing, contact improvisation, body conditioning, Body Mind Centring, Polish contemporary dance, improvisation and others. In 1994–2000 she was a dancer of the Lublin University of Technology Contemporary Dance Group . She performed in all Hanna Strzemiecka group choreographies, including awarded Empty Streets (1996), Voices (1998), Hours, years… (1999).
In 1999–2003 Żak ran her individual dance education programme for primary school children and she created her own choreographies and short dance pieces for children. Juror of dance festivals.
Since 2001 has danced with the Lublin Dance Theatre; co-author of Ryszard Kalinowski’s From the Probability Calculus (Lublin University of Technology Contemporary Dance Group, 2000) and To a good silence (Lublin Dance Theatre, 2002). With Lublin Dance Theatre she took part in Traktat Optyczny (2001), Akrobaci, Kwiaty i księżyc pomiędzy (2002), plepleJAdy (2004), Snooker (2005) by Hanna Strzemiecka and 48/4 (2007) by Ryszard Kalinowski. She also took part in Hunger by Knut Hamsun (2010) produced by Ryszard Kalinowski and Łukasz Witt-Michałowski as part of Premieres Stage inVitro.
In November 2005 Hanna Strzemiecka handed over the lead of Lublin University of Technology Contemporary Dance Group , where Żak made her debut as a dencer, to her. Currently Żak is art director of the Contemporary Dance Group as well as the teacher and choreographer of the Group. She produced for the Group continue (2006), clear/n (2008), Vivaldi’s autumn / The Four Seasons – Lublin methamorphosis – Autumn (2008), stage. Phase I (2008) inspired by Magdalena Abakanowicz’s works and Opium (2010), as well as projects in the city space.
Since 2008, together with Daria Dziedzic, she co-created informal stage duo d&a dance action; with the duo she produced performance Far From The Body (Lublin, 2008) and project under feet branch (Hagenfesten Art Flow in Dala-Floda, Sweden, 2009). In their works, artists focus on the topics of the corporeality and relations, creating small, minimal duos.
She directed music and dance show Song From Songs (libretto: Jan Kondrak, music: Zbigniew Łapiński, Jan Kondrak; Academic Cultural Centre of Maria Skłodowska-Curie University “Chatka Żaka”, Lublin, 2010) featuring dancers of the Contemporary Dance Group. Since 2008 has collaborated with Andersen Theatre in Lublin, creating stage movement and performing the main role in Beauty and the Beast (2008), directed by Katarzyna Aleksander-Kmieć. She also created choreography for The Adventures of Sindbad the Sailor (2009), directed by Mark Pitman and Sean Myatt.
She took part in numerous projects and festivals in Poland and abroad, including: Bodensee Tanztage, Zurich, Munsterlingen, Switzerland (1996); Central Station: Dance – International Festival, Budapest, Hungary (1999); International Festival of Modern Dance, Kaunas, Lithuania (1999, 2002, 2005); Tanzmesse – International Contemporary Dance Fair, Essen, Germany (2000); International Festival Modern Choreography, Vitebsk, Belarus (2000, 2001); Polish-Finnish Project with C&K Dance Company, Helsinki, Finland (2001, 2004), Grazer Tanztheater – Tage (2002), Graz, Austria (2002), American Dance Guild International Festival “Global Dance Today”, New York, USA (2004), Project “Nova Polska” Paris, Lyon (2004); International Contest for Young Choreographers, Hannover, Germany (2005); International Presentations of Contemporary Dance Forms in Kalisz (since 1996); International Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival in Bytom (since 1996); Contemporary Art Days in Białystok; Łódź Theatre Festival; Cracow Ballet Festival, Polish Dance Platform “taniec.pl” as part of Body/Mind in Warsaw, Contemporary Dance Biennale in Poznań, Alternative Theatre Festival Klamra in Toruń, and others.
Anna Żak has regularly co-organized the International Dance Theatres Festival and Contemporary Dance Forum, International Dance Day, National Contemporary Dance Workshops. She is originator and organizer of the annual National Photographic Contest “Dance-Energy of Body and Imagination” (since 2006).
She is intensively engaged in dance teaching. She runs workshops for dance groups and for teachers, as well as contemporary dance classes for teachers in post-graduate Centre for Education of Teachers “Education Linguist” and Sport Dance Teachers (Polish Academy of Sports).
She was awarded Individual Award from the Mayor of Lublin for her cultural achievements (2005) and Medal from the Mayor of Lublin for organizing the 10th International Dance Theatres Festival in Lublin (2006).