There are countless ways for people to communicate with one another, from spoken language to silent expressions to all kinds of art. People have a knack for misunderstanding one another despite the familiarity with these different types of communication. This is what Magdalena Kaczmarska, master’s of fine arts candidate, explores in her section of the “Unthreaded & Raveled” dance thesis show.
“(Mis)communication,” originally titled “Miscommuthercation,” chronicles a mother and daughter’s relationship and their misunderstandings by melding the lyricism of poetry with the expression of dance. Kaczmarska was inspired by Russian-American poet Marina Blitshteyn and her piece, “A Conversion.” Kaczmarska and Blitshteyn connected while discussing the relationship between poetry and dance, something Kaczmarska said she is intrigued by.
“I find that both dance and poetry create, speak, tell a story, portray an image [and] create an emotional landscape,” said Kaczmarska. “When you read a poem, it’s not something necessarily that you can articulate, you just have a feeling … and the whole point of dance is that we articulate things that cannot be articulated through regular prose.”
In the first part of “A Conversion,” Blitshteyn used her poetry to show both communication and miscommunication between a mother and daughter who are separated by both generational and multicultural gaps. Kaczmarska interprets this through dance in her thesis.
“(Mis)communication” will be performed as a series of vignettes. Each begins with one of the cast members reading a selection from Blitshteyn’s poetry that relates to the following dance performance. Kaczmarska researched different forms of communication while creating her show. She also researched how the interactions people have with one another shape their relationships and vice versa.
“I started thinking about how we communicate physically and verbally, and where are the limitations and boundaries of those,” Kaczmarska said. “How do they fail us and how do we respond when they fail us, and why?”
While her thesis show will conclude her dance graduate program, Kaczmarska has a long history and a promising future in this form of art. Her scientist parents always encouraged her to explore the sciences. She completed her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology. But dance was always her passion.
While she loved dance, Kaczmarska was unsure about following an artistic path, considering the stigma that is often associated with making a career out of art.
“I tried really hard to find something that would be fulfilling for me and where I felt like I was actually being beneficial to society, and finally realized that dance was it,” Kaczmarska said.
Kaczmarska decided to follow her passion by pursuing her master’s degree in dance at the UA. This allowed her to focus on all aspects of art, not only on the performance aspect of dance. Throughout her two years in the program, she has enjoyed exploring both the creation of her own pieces and the collaboration with the rest of the Tucson community in an effort to share her love of dance with others.
Kaczmarska’s thesis almost never came to be after all this. At the end of the fall semester, she suffered a serious injury to her Achilles tendon and has not been able to dance since. It seemed as if her graduation was going to be delayed until next year because of her injury. Yet after all the time and effort put into the project, Kaczmarska was determined to present her thesis performance as part of “Unthreaded & Raveled.”
Kaczmarska had to figure out how to explain movement and choreography to her dancers without the ability to demonstrate to them what she had in mind. It was a test of her ability to communicate, which is—coincidentally—what her piece explores.
With about three weeks until the premiere of “Unthreaded & Raveled,” Kaczmarska is looking forward to the performance, but is sad to say goodbye to the people and places she has known during her undergraduate and graduate programs at the UA.
“This has been home to me more than many places have been in my life and I will miss it horribly,” Kaczmarska said. “But I am very excited [to hear] what people think of the show. I think there’s something in there for everybody.”
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