Karen Mozingo: Celebrating Poland's 100th Year of Independence

December 12, 2017

Dr. Karen Mozingo, theatre lecturer, recently returned from a major international conference in Lublin, Poland. The conference on Nov. 16-17--Dance and Avant-Garde in Central and Eastern Europe: Territories-Sources-Biographies--featured a range of international dance scholars and had a two-fold purpose: to celebrate and acknowledge the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence and to inaugurate a publication project that retrieves a number of dance artists--Pola Nireńska, Bronisława Niżyńska, Marie Rambert, and Yanka Rudzka--many of them forced to go into exile during WWII. The conference was conducted in Polish, English, and Russian.

Mozingo's paper, “Choreographing Absence: Ausdruckstanz, Exile, and the Holocaust in the Work of Pola Nireńska,” presented an exploration of exile as a formative factor in three of Nireńska’s works: Eternal Insomnia of EarthExits, and the Holocaust Tetralogy.

The conference planners are moving forward with plans for publications and have invited Mozingo to develop her work for a book length study. Her book project explores Nireńska’s entire career as an example of exile and transnational exchange that shaped the development of German and Polish Ausdruckstanz and American modern dance. It also considers the significance of "community" (Gemeinschaft) for the philosophy of Ausdruckstanz, and how that concept shaped her work through exile (as well as how her experience differed from other exiles, like Valeska Gert, who were able to return to their homelands).

Conference supporters were as follows: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, East European Performing Arts Platform, Lublin Dance Theatre-the Centre for Culture in Lublin, Theatre Arts Unit at the MCSU in Lublin. The conference is organized under the honorary patronage of the chancellor of the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin.

Karen Mozingo's dissertation is "Crossing the Borders of German and American Modernism: Exile and Transnationalism in the Dance Works of Valeska Gert, Lotte Goslar, and Pola Nireńska." She completed her PhD in the theatre department in 2008.