Rivca Rubin works in the field of organisational, team and personal development. Her guiding principle is to increase care for each other and ourselves, connecting to her belief in living life free from pressure. Rivca works with organisations to define their vision, the desired impact and create a working climate based on shared values, in which all employees have opportunities for development and enjoy working together. She assists artists in exploring their goals, locating their essence and refining their practice. Rivca leads open courses, moderates workshops and discussions, mediates conflicts and offers coaching and mentoring for executives, artists, and activists. She is active in the cultural and educational sectors in Europe and works with NGOs and activists around the world. She is the founder of Upwording, a practice of evolutionising thinking through our everyday use of language towards a more desirable world for all. She increasingly presents Upwording at international conferences, congresses, festivals, and network meetings. In 2019 she joined the Co-Directorship of Islington Mill, Salford.

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I like to join Peter, Marta, Julie and Joanna’s editorial thoughts and add…

Since we met in February 3D and 5 senses, we have experienced world events and challenges, anything between stunningly beautiful and extremely painful. I appreciate how we team have responded, bringing improvisation and fluidity and flexibility to adapting content and structure in a most considered caring presence. Rigidity didn’t have a look in.

Choosing to engage with collectives, gatherings, public talks, projects and moments attentively dedicated to curiously question, rattle and actively engage in shifting outdated systems and living practices, I accepted the invitation to co-curate The Grand Re-Union project with delight. And I am loving the opportunity to honor my roots in dance. Among many and a few, in particular, I am hugely grateful to learning with Simone Forti whose approach to communicating with someone and about something, informed the direction of work I choose in the mid ‘90s, and became fundamental in all my living.

We are living through a moment of unprecedented change, which holds the potential to abolish systems of superiority and oppression. The systems within which we have been living are neither inert nor inevitable. Authoritarian systems require obedience, and the terminology to enforce it. It goes largely unnoticed that through our habitual language we are inadvertently upholding the very systems and increasing number of us are seeking to dismantle. Many words and phrases we still use are manifestations of inherited concepts of hierarchy, superiority, control, and we may not have reviewed these for a long time to check if they actually align with our current ethos and intentions.

Let’s take the hierarchical rug out from under our feet, and consciously re-fresh the concept and beliefs underpinning thinking and the resulting communications.

We can acknowledge our active part in co-creating, and then maintaining, the worlds within which we would like to live.

I welcome this moment of destabilization, and The Grand Re Union fully engaging.

Peter Pleyer After some years as an actor in german theater, Peter studied dance and choreography at the European Dance Development Center (EDDC) in the art academy in Arnhem/NL. He worked as dancer and choreographic assistant for Yoshiko Chuma (New York) and Mark Tompkins(Paris). Since his studies he has worked closely with the Hungarian dancer Eszter Gal, their choreographies and improvisations have been shown in Holland, Germany, Hungary, Paris and at the New York improvisation festival. In the Netherlands Peter choreographed his first group pieces (selected for the choreography completions Groningen/NL). Since 2000 he lives in Berlin with a strong interest in new methods of training dance and composition, where improvisation plays a central role. Out of his interest in the newly developing dance-research programs in different universities he developed the lecture performance „choreographing books“ (2005) on his view of the difference in the dance research in the US and Europe, and how that can be beneficial for dancer and choreographer. He teaches internationally, his workshop „history in practice“ that focused strongly on the „post-judson-avantgarde“ was held in the alternative dance academy in Poznan, P.O.R.C.H.- Stolzenhagen, the Polish Theatre-Institut, Warsaw, MA Choreography ArtEZ/ Arnhem, HZT-Berlin and Tanzquartier Wien. From 2007-14 he was the artistic director of Tanztage Berlin and from 2012 -14 in the programming team of Sophiensæle/Berlin. In 2014 he successfully picked up his choreographic career with the solo „Ponderosa Trilogy“ (Life-Legacy-Project Tanzhaus NRW, Impulstanz Wien), group research and choreography „visible undercurrent“ (2014/16) and „cranky bodies dance reset“ (2017). The solo „triton tanzt – twisted trident“ about the history of release technique, deconstructing masculinity and his father, was performed in Berlin and Prag (2019/20) He was a guest professor at HZT/UdK Berlin in 2015/16.

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when joanna lesnierowska asked me to help gather family and friends around a big table for a feast, a celebration of 15 years of dance at stary browar nowy taniec
i said yes without a blink with an eye.
she said it should be like a great reunion of artists, teacher and students that spend time in poznan, leaving their traces in the community.
wasn’t there a group of dancers in new york in the 1970s that was called „grand union“? they „just“ came together to perform dance-improvisation, and wasn’t one of them, yvonne rainer, an influential guest here in poznan in 2007?
isn’t the nature of a family celebration always multigenerational, and all guests are welcome?
can we just call it „the grand re-union“?

yes and yes and yes.
there is not a lot written about the „grand union“, but important traces of that legacy are extremely present in my artistic work as dancer and choreographer, as instigator of group performances of dance-improvisation and in my teaching. contact improvisation, contemplative dance practice and anatomical release-work are major motors of my work and are directly traceable to that collective.

so yes, lets gather in poznan in june 2020 and celebrate by sharing, caring, moving-with and listening-to each other, creating a pause, a slow down, in a world threatened by the speed of growing social inequalities through the unfair distribution of wealth in our local communities and globally, leading too often to nationalism and authoritarian leadership.

then, suddenly, the whole world paused. revealing a lot of truths about our nature and the systems that we created, the way governments handle this, the way our local communities handle this, who is family?

my role in that team of curators is the constant reminder of the practice of the body, the grounding and the lightness, the attention to the perception, the moving, the breathing.

as you read this, where are you? you most probably sit somewhere.
how are you sitting? do you feel your sit bones resting?
and your spine?
are you leaning on something? are you balancing the disks of the vertebrae, one resting on top of the other with an elastic disc in between?

how about your feet?

and your head?

what do you hear around you?
is there a radio playing somewhere, children playing in the yard? traffic? birds?

what do you see when you lift your head from the reading? trees? sky? wall? another person?
and what do you see when you „turn your fucking head“, when you change your point of view? what is beside you? who is with you? what is behind you?

what do you smell? take a moment to smell. or is there a memory of smell? this morning opening the door to our small balcony the smell of the flowering trees was overwhelming, and as i sit here writing this it is still in the air.
and what about taste? an aftertaste of your last meal or drink? your salty lips? your saliva?

and breath. are you breathing? of course you are, but how?
where is the air coming in? your nose? your slightly open lips?
cool air on the way in, warm air on the way out.

where does it go to? what cavities inside your body does it fill?
can you pay attention and be the witness of your moving-breathing?
—long pause—

these last weeks were full of loss.
my personal loss of great teachers, colleagues, friends: nancy stark smith and mary overlie. it slowed me down even more, to the point that „standing in space“ (the title of mary overlies book) and balancing on the globe, to do the small dance, was the only thing i needed and wanted to do, and it was enough.

and the murder of george floyd that sparked widespread protest filling the empty streets and plazas of many cities, for the fight for more equality and unity.

i pause in grief
not knowing where i, where we, will go from here.
the grand re-union is the great un-known.

with care
full of care

Julie Phelps is a dancer, performer, curator and creative producer living and working in San Francisco. She intentionally translates herself across multiple public roles because she values hybridity as a solve for dogmatics, maintaining mutable specialization in her creative work. Across all her work, Julie consistently uses the economy (as structure, system, and notion) as a lens for examining, understanding and taking action in life. Julie’s formal stage work began in competitive one-act theater and speech when she was 14, though she had worked for popsicles dancing for neighbors for most of her youth. Dance became the cornerstone of her practice in 2008 when she began studying with Sara Shelton Mann in San Francisco. Julie’s stage work is framed within improvised dance, state-based work, and improvised spoken word/storytelling. She has been part of multiple devised/collaborative contemporary live art projects. Notably, two evening length performances with Jesse Hewit, and partnering with Keith Hennessy to co-instigate Turbulence (a dance about the economy) which toured the US and Europe 2012 to 2017. Additionally, Phelps has performed with Meg Stuart, is collaborating with Marc Kate on an improvisation stage work at the intersection of experimental music and experimental dance (CounterPulse 2020), and hosting regular all night music/dance events with T.V.O.D. All of this is woven together currently to craft a life-as-art world made of people, place, and time through her work as artistic & executive director of CounterPulse. Beyond her own creative work, serving to develop the program and community of CounterPulse is integral to her creative practice and personal activism.


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Turmeric Face-mask Recipe 

tablespoon turmeric powder
5 teaspoon of yogurt
5 teaspoon raw honey
5 lemon juice

Add more turmeric as needed or achieve a smooth paste

Joanna Leśnierowska dance curator, dramaturge and performance-maker; used to write as a first regular professional dance writer for “Didaskalia” magazine, one of Poland’s leading theater journals. She has also written on Polish dance in Theater der Zeit (Berlin), Dance Today (Israel), and Dance Zone (Prague). Lectured on choreography history and theory in University of Poznan and Jagiellonian University in Cracow and gave many speeches  on Polish dance abroad. In 2004 she has created first in Poland regular dance space/cho­reographic development center within Art Stations Foundation/Stary Browar Art Centre in Poznań where she’s featuring avant-garde interna­tional choreographers and intensively supports development of Polish dance artists. Since 2019 she runs also dedicated to choreographic research and reflection program Acziun within Muzeum Susch, CH. In the years 20011-2014 she served as member of advisory board at Music and Dance Institute in Warsaw.

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Since almost 5 years I am preparing for 2020.
2020 for me and my program and my venue and my team means
the end.
I went through all stages of mourning.
I was shocked and in denial,
I felt (very) angry,
and of course
I spent all my energy in trying to fix it and in bargaining and then
I felt so guilty (very very) of my own incapacity
ended up (very) depressed
And finally,
I arrived to working it through, probably right in time to
have a dream.

I imagined I’m not alone and
Those who I admired, loved, shared all my 16 years in the field with
gathered together coming from all over as family,
assembling and uniting
in doing thinking caring (for each other and for Others) and sharing
time space love and
all this amazing knowledge that has been generated through the decades of
choreographic practice and thinking

I imagined
I believed again
In what we built and exercised so far having deeper sense
And trusting
in what we will decide to build and exercise together having even more meaning
in and for the future
And it felt oh so empowering

I imagined having Hope again
Hope that inspires us into action and
brings the calming understanding that
the end is actually the new beginning.
The transition.
The liminal time and space.

So I called everybody
to not transit alone.
And to sketch a path to follow
And to celebrate and be grateful for
all seeds that has been planted
to grow in all unexpected times and spaces
honoring all that now needs to be resolved to evolve.

And then in one second not only mine but the whole world came to a standstill
And transition became suddenly not only my personal challenge.

And with all the anxiety, confusion and suspension it brought,
we have chosen to accept the invitation
to this particular dance macabre
As world madly improvises beneath our feet
so do we.
And we intent to never stop.

And as much as it feels oh so scary, it is also oh so thrilling

And here we are
Here I am, with you
In the eve of our encounter
Embarking on the journey
Into Unknown.
Feeling like starting an expedition to discover the Brand New World we dreamt about.
The thing is just that
it does not need to be discovered.
In fact, it is already here.
And just needs to be re-build.
brought into the daylight from depth of our dreams as

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together becomes reality

In 2011 I was working on the piece inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. For months before (and since) I was exercising looking at the world with a ‘Hopper glasses’ recognizing myself constantly in a middle of his images. One of the practices was also re-creating and thus examining the composition of images with the iconic LEGO figures (that I am in love with since). It was following the belief that to see (understand) the world one needs to first build its model (as only what exists for no other purpose than to be seen, we really look at…).

In the first days of pandemic lock down, I was reading the article from The guardian stating We are all Edward Hopper paintings now.

Then strolling through completely empty Stary Browar shopping mall (what a spooky experience) where since 16 years our studio resides, I bumped into the LEGO shop. The window pane made me smile:

Joanna Leśnierowska – Offering


Marta Keil – performing arts curator, researcher and writer, based in Warsaw, Poland. Since 2019 she co-runs Performing Arts Institute in Warsaw. She often works in a curatorial tandem Reskeil with Grzegorz Reske. Together they curated Konfrontacje Teatralne — international performing arts festival in Lublin from 2013 ro 2017. She worked as curator and dramaturg with i.e. Agnieszka Jakimiak, Lina Majdalanie, Rabih Mroué, She She Pop, Agata Siniarska, Ana Vujanović. She initiated the East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP), that she collaborated with until 2019. Together with Agata Adamiecka-Sitek and Igor Stokfiszewski she has been running „The Agreement” project at Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw (2018-2019). Since 2019 she cooperates as a facilitator with the Reshape program. Between 2014 and 2016 she worked as curator and dramaturg at Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz. Worked also as performing arts expert in the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and cooperated with the Zbigniew Raszewski Theater Institute in Warsaw. She teaches curatorial practice and institutional critique at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków and SWPS University, Warsaw. Editor of the books: “Choreography: Autonomies” (2019), „Choreography: Politicality” (2018), „Reclaiming the Obvious: on the Institution of Festival” (2017), “Dance, Process, Artistic Research. Contemporary Dance in the Political, Economic and Social Context of “Former East” of Europe” (2015).

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I have been invited by Joanna to co-think about the Grand Re Union gathering as a researcher and curator working mostly in the field of performing arts and reflecting the institutional practices. Albeit my curatorial practice is deeply rooted in the contemporary theatre, I have been carefully observing and reflecting choreography in recent years, perceiving it as space where new ways of being together are actually activated, embodied and practiced.

While co-working on the original plan for the Grand Re Union as a 10-days long festival in June 2020, I have been imagining it as a crack in time, where we could not only take a break from every day flow, but also when we can invite contemporary artists practices to encounter with its past – and their various transformations, developed within last decades.

It was somehow about inviting the ghosts of previous fights and hopes to haunt our anxious present time and share with us their wisdom, successes and failures. I’ve been imagining Grand Re Union as a temporary common space that would let us feel, experience and learn each other; as a live gathering in its deep political meaning, where unexpected and unthinkable ways of being together and support each other are activated.

What seemed fascinating to me was an attempt to document such an encounter and search for diverse ways of translating the live experience into a material that can be shared further, outside the ephemeral community temporarily gathered at one place.

The pandemic outbreak forced us to resign from the live gathering but strongly reinforced the need of support and solidarity. I would be happy to see how we might translate the 10 days live gathering into 10 issues of online magazine: an online resource of knowledge and shared practices; a way to get together while being physically isolated. Maybe it could become an actual political gesture: as a tool we could potentially use to support our every struggles.