Towarzystwo Prze-Twórcze was founded in 2004 by Renata Piotrowska, Warsaw dancer, choreographer and performer. It gathers various professional and independent artists from Poland and abroad – choreographers, performers, actors, visual artists and musicians. Towarzystwo organizes and produces various art events, such as happenings, performances and actions. In its activities, Towarzystwo seeks communication between various fields of art and various authors, and examines the dynamics of the relationship between them, each time trying to treat it as a process taking place “here and now”. It attempts to avoid judgement – sometimes dangerous for the art. Instead, it focuses on asking questions rather than giving answers which could be regarded as final. Therefore, Towarzystwo’s most important feature is orientation to process, underlining its ever-unique character. This was expressed in the most explicit manner in a series of projects entitled Unknown (to date three performances were produced and the next is being produced; its working presentation already took place), inviting the audience to action and/or stronger sensory reception. By breaking theatre hierarchy and the stiff division between the stage and the audience (already disturbed by the theatre avant-garde of the second half of the 20th century, which however is still renewing and reproducing itself) the artists, together with a group of volunteers, engage the audience in gently suggested action, letting them feel, smell and taste (but not see or watch in the beginning, as they are introduced with eyes closed) theatre performance – usually grabbed by the sense of sight, provided only for aesthetic outdistanced contemplation or engaged but outdistanced view. At the same time, in each of the Unknown performances, a specific game is played with the audience who have to “switch” between various types of perception, with or without sight, additionally enhanced by spectacular visualisation, which “paint” abstractive-geometrical shapes, somehow chasing the dancers, who improvise between the audience or even interacting with them.
In the last few years, one of the main aims of the group has been to stimulate development of improvisation and contemporary dance as well as new dance and performance art, i.e. methods used by the group in its creative work. The programme was launched in 2007 with a dance trio Dancing with the Enemy featuring Danya Elraz from Israel and Markus Hoft from Germany, together with Piotrowska (performance presented at the Polish Dance Platform 2008 in Poznań), Teraz (2007, Solo Project in the residence programme in Stary Browar, Poznań) as well as improvisation workshops. In autumn 2008 the project was greatly supplemented by multi-day celebrations of the foundation of contact improvisation (1972) entitled CI36 in Warsaw. The programme consisted of international workshops run by Danya Elraz, Markus Hoft and Milan Kozanek from the Czech Republic, outstanding teachers of contact improvisation, as well as a new production of Dancing with the Enemy. The interdisciplinary project Unknown, described above, can be regarded as a consistent continuation of the group’s experiments. Unknown’s two first editions were recognized as one of the most interesting performances of 2008 in a specialist survey of NowyTaniec.pl.
Towarzystwo Prze-Twórcze was also engaged in organization of workshops (mainly in the fields of contact improvisation and other methods of improvisation), regular classes and lectures, as well as jams, open to everybody.
In the following years, apart from another edition of Unknown, the group organized in Warsaw a site specific project Lato w mieście (Summer in the City, 2009). In 2010, based on the Młoda Polska scholarship granted to Piotrowska by the Minister of Culture and Art, the group produced the action Break Sztuka wojny (Break. The art of war). These included workshops for young people in Olsztyn and Warsaw, and later a production of the performance entitled Break. Sztuka wojny with a group of eight selected people, three professional dancers and a DJ. The performance premiered on 11 December on the stage of the Studio Theatre in Warsaw. Break. Sztuka wojny is a story referring to the problems of young people, consisting of fragmentary narration on social pressure and multi-aspect socialisation of young people by such institutions as school, media and family.
On 3 September, a premiere of the group’s latest undertaking – Unknown.seans, a summary of all previous Unknown projects, took place in Stary Browar in Poznań. The next presentations are scheduled for the upcoming edition of Rozdroże (Crossroads) – International Live Arts Festival in Warsaw.