People of dance

Zdjęcie: Jerzy Maria Birczyński

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Jerzy Maria Birczyński – choreographer, teacher and dancer.

He started to study ballet in ballet studio of the Cracow Music Theatre (currently Cracow Opera) and continued his ballet studies at the ballet school in Poznań. He took part in performances of the Polish Dance Theatre – Poznań Ballet under the management of Conrad Drzewiecki. After graduating, he worked for the Grand Theatre in Łódź. Next he studied gardening at the University of Agriculture in Krakow.

In 1969 he founded Modern Ballet Group at AGH University of Science and Technology, as part of student movement. He spent over four decades training hundreds of amateurs and producing performances with them.

As a choreographer, he won many awards in Poland and abroad in the seventies and eighties. Among others, he won the first prize in the International Choreography Competition “Le Ballet pour Demain” in Bagnolet (Paris) in 1979 (for “Larghetto” from Chopin F minor piano concerto), he took the fifth place in the International Choreography Competition in Nyon, Switzerland in 1979 (for “Tears of Joy” with music of Don Ellis) and received an honourable mention in the Choreography Competition of the Lodz International Ballet Festival (for “Variation in B major” with music of Fryderyk Chopin).

Birczyński also worked as a choreographer for drama theatres; in the eighties he co-operated with Romana Próchnicka, Tadeusz Słobodzianek, Mikołaj Grabowski and others. In the late eighties/early nineties he produced two choreographies for the Polish Dance Theatre – Poznań Ballet (still managed by Drzewiecki).

He was portrayed in the documentary Terpsichore’s Beloved (1998, directed by Aleksander Kuc).

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