OFF THE CANVAS "The mentee is Katarzyna Skarpetowska, and hers was one of the most fully realized of the fellowship works we’ve seen over the years. Set to music by Vivaldi and Adrian Klumpes, Skarpetowska’s piece, Off the Canvas, is literally art in motion, a performance representation of Cy Twombly’s Untitled (Bacchus) series of paintings, large red scribbles, which seem to be moving. In Off the Canvas, dancers are in red-and-cream costumes on the white canvas of the stage. The work features many classical balletic movements to evoke modern art. The women on point all bourrée together make a variety of shapes. The men form a traditional diagonal line across the stage. But the dancers also take risks, falling back into another’s arms. The dancers “paint” the canvas with up-and-down movements acting like brushstrokes. Occasionally it seems too literal, but Skarpetowska’s work is engaging."
ELLEN DUNKEL, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, MARCH 7, 2019
"Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s ballet Off the Canvas is inspired by Cy Twombly’s Bacchus paintings, cited for their sense of movement within the brushstrokes of abstract shapes. Like the arc of red lines in the paintings, the ballet has intertwined sinuous choreography that is similarly overlapping. The music is a mix Vivaldi cello concerti and mystical electronica (and distorted sonics) by Adrian Klumpes. The movements of the dancers in space, creating a similarly abstract dancescape. The not new territory on the dance stage, but Skarpetowska’s taut balletic template, displays particular invention in trio partnering featuring dynamic lift sequences that keep evolving. The men and women segregated in sequences or sweeping into each other’s territory and partnering off. The women swirl on pointe and in a tight circle. Their pointe work is distinctive, with several extensions with legs bending and port de bra at askew angles. The men vault through amorphous clusters with each other, sometimes aggressively. A central, more meditative solo danced by Roderick Phifer, laced with powerful turn variations and dramatic jumps. This ballet has a solid inner drive reflective of the baroque music, but it was the static interludes that inspired some of the quieter and equally interesting moments."
LOUIS J. WHITTINGTON, THE DANCE JOURNAL, MARCH 8, 2019
"Off the Canvas is a piece by BalletX's choreographic fellow Katarzyna Skarpetowska inspired by artist Cy Twombly's series "Bacchus". At first one doesn't read the movement as homage to an artist's work, it reads as something with a pulse and flow reminiscent of blood vessels pumping through the body; expanding and contracting seamlessly changing pace as well as flow with a wonderful balance of ominous and hopeful music. The sounds and movements create an over tone of organized chaos that alludes to solitude as well as unity, syncing seamlessly between graceful classic flow and intentional mechanical modern motions. Although I read this visually as something with more of a biological feel, the movements did seem to recreate Twombly's work and that is what helped me understand to subject matter, therefore I find it to be a very successful piece of work."
NICOLE DELROSSI, BROADWAY WORLD, MARCH 13, 2019
"The program began with Ms. Sharpetowska’s Off the Canvas, with recorded music by Antonio Vivaldi and Adrian Klumpes. The choreographer added this to the program notes, “Off the Canvas is inspired by the ecstatic and mystery [sic] evoking vermillion loops of Cy Twombley’s Bacchus series paintings.” Indeed, the dancers wore leotards in white with red devices dyed into the fabric to represent the artist’s paintings. Costume Designer Fritz Masten did a wonderful job. The choreography for ten dancers, five men and five women, was infused with this ecstatic and mystery-invoking ethos in what was a hypnotic exercise in motion."
RALPH MALACHOWSKI, PHILLY GAY CALENDAR, MARCH 11, 2019
"Opera Theatre of Saint Louis scores another success with this refreshing and intoxicating interpretation of the Gluck operatic version of the enduring myth of Orpheus and his lost love, Eurydice. Sumptuous ballet performances by the Big Muddy Dance Company complement the excellent work of the OTSL cast to make this a memorable rendition."
"For this production OTSL has enlisted the invaluable services of St. Louis’ Big Muddy Dance Company, which does justice to several major ballets which are performed throughout Orfeo & Euridice. In many ways, this work is as much a ballet as it is an opera. Director Ron Daniels and choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska mesh their considerable talents to keep the production moving fluidly and enchantingly forward."
MARK BRETZ, LADUENEWS.COM, JUNE 14, 2018
"Stage director Ron Daniels’ production was a mixed bag. He had some good ideas (putting Ross onstage for the duet) but sent the ensemble into the house a little too often and seemed to be trying too hard to be hip. One of his best ideas was to work with choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska and the Big Muddy Dance Company. Skarpetowska’s dances were effective and athletic, whether as the Furies, outraged at having to give up a soul, but unable to resist Orfeo’s voice, as the happy Blessed Spirits, or in enthusiastic celebration at the end. This production will be a welcome introduction to a fine local company for a lot of operagoers."
SARAH BRYAN MILLER, ST. LOUIS POST - DISPATCH, JUNE 14, 2018
"...the chief pleasures for me came from dancing by the Big Muddy Dance Company, choreographed by Katarzyna Skarpetowska: vigorously sinister for the underworld demons, weightlessly fluid for the blessed spirits." SCOTT CANTRELL, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, JUNE 14, 2018
"...Set to music by Robert Henke and J.S. Bach, it felt like a breath of fresh air tonight.Kate told me after the show that this was her first dancework to be made on pointe, and she displayed a real affinity for it. Using classical ballet vocabulary with imagination and flair, Kate put her twelve dancers thru their paces in choreography that challenged them whilst also making them look fresh and vibrant. Fluorescent "fish tank" lighting on the back wall was a brilliant little touch, and the dancers in shades of sea-green/blue sustained an aquatic look. Kate Skarpetowska has such a sure sense of structure that the ballet seemed to flow from first note to last. The music of Robert Henke has a metallic ping to it, like silver hammer strikes into which piano passages are woven; the effect was sometimes dulcimer-like. A Bach Allemande provided a contrast to the Henke, but also seemed right at home. The twelve dancers swept thru the choreography, their comings and goings and circlings all expertly managed by the choreographer. Along the way, solos, duets, and trios give each dancer from the ensemble opportunities to shine; the Richmond dancers displayed confident virtuosity and a lovely sense of community."
PHILLIP GARDNER, OBERON'S GROVE, JUNE 12, 2019
"With an arresting score by Bryce Dessner, Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s Snow Playground, captures with crystal-clear intention the fractal geometry and patterns of ice and snowflakes as well as the organized flurry of a winter snowfall. Skarpetowska has been listed as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” this year. Considering how skillfully she demonstrates the kind of purpose-driven choices that only appear effortless, it is little wonder why."
NICHELLE SUZANNE STRZEPEK, THE DANCE DISH, APRIL 12, 2016
"Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s world premiere of Almah is the freshest breath of air. Three men and three women swirl to the folky, brassy compositions of Ljova played live. Skarpetowska has a keen sense of rotation. The steps — swinging “rond de jambes,” whizzing barrel rolls, underarm turns for the women led by the men — aren’t revolutionary, but how they are organized electrifies. Everything winds and unwinds like an endless whirligig, sucking the dancers and us into its cyclonic power. I want to join this community.
ERIN BOMBOY, THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST, JANUARY 26, 2016
"The music by Ljova enjoyed a superb live performance. The inventive choreography and the passion of the six dancers creates a perfect collective."
MARINA KENNEDY, BROADWAY WORLD, JANUARY 23, 2016
"Katarzyna Skarpetowska, a particular favorite of mine among choreographers currently on the scene, offered her latest creation, Almah, and added yet another feather to her cap with this finely-conceived and musically inspired work. Ms. Skarpetowska had fine dancers to work with and she used the music as an inspiration for their rich and detailed movement, with some intriguing partnering motifs in the mix. Two pas de deux for Geena Pacareu and Ian Spring are high points in this excellent work."
PHILIP GARDNER, OBERON'S GROVE, JANUARY 22, 2016
"The most startling work was by Katarzyna Skarpetowska. The Polish-born and Juilliard-trained choreographer’s modern work was accompanied by a non-metric ambient score by Murcof.
“Polaris,” which grew from an image of stars being birthed from cosmic dust, was not just a dance but a complete alien environment, with Cody Beaton and Thomas Garrett as the leaders of this expedition. Bare-chested men moved as a unit, rather than as individuals. The women wore white spacesuits and, by the end of this hypnotic work, the dancers seemed to have defied gravity and given up walking in favor of hovering imperceptibly an inch or 2 above the floor."
JULINDA LEWIS, RICHMOND TIMES - DISPATCH, MARCH 18, 2015
"The final work, “Polaris,” by Katarzyna Skarpetowska, surprised on many levels. In the introductory video, Skarpetowska confessed to never having worked with ballet dancers. She said her work was inspired by images of the so-called “Pillars of Creation,” giant plumes of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula, the birthplace of many stars, photographed in 1995 by the Hubble Space Telescope.
An ambient score by Fernando Corona and performed by Murcof provided the perfect environment for Skarpetowska’s deployment of dancers as the embodiment of cosmic forces, surging along the floor in a group through pinpoints of light (designed by Brittany Diliberto) or whirling through space in pairs, a man lifting a woman in one long, slight curve, and spinning together in place. The work read as contemporary dance rather than ballet, and achieved what so many performances do not -- it left us full of wonder and wanting more."
LEA MARSHALL, STYLE WEEKLY, MARCH 25, 2015
"Kate's choreography was absolutely spectacular. It consisted of weightless and mesmerizing movements that had the audience spell bound. Kate’s inspirational and powerful musical composition along with her choreography created a perspective that exuded the secludedness of space and time. Her idea of cosmic creation was successfully represented through stunning orbiting bodies and powerful lyrical motion.
The group of dancers were tremendously successful with their transformation into an inhuman plasmic force that stirred on stage. Kate’s piece exceeded all expectations and served as the perfect finale for the show."
ANDREA MAYBERRY, GAYRVA.COM, MARCH 19, 2015
"...Skarpetowska’s “A Mariner” — inspired by the book, “Awakenings,” by neurologist Oliver Sacks -- was at once vivid, elegant and haunting. The piece evoked the netherworld between life and death, with the dancers seemingly lost in a void, groping for enlightenment. Yet the movement was precise, the better to evoke a twilight realm that had taken on its own reality. And a concluding solo for male dancer imbued the piece with a feeling not so much of closure than of transcendence."
CALVIN WILSON, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, OCTOBER 11, 2014
"This was my fourth experience with Kate Skarpetowska's choreographic work; in her musicality, her sense of visual poetry, and her imaginative use of both the physical and emotional characteristics of her dancers, she is already taking a distinctive place in the choreographic community."
PHILIP GARDNER, OBERON'S GROVE, OCTOBER 21, 2013
"…three exceptional duets, choreographically varied and fervently performed."
"…inventive transitional segments…"
LIBBY HANSSEN, THE KANSAS CITY STAR, OCTOBER 11, 2013
"The most potent sense of individuality came from Ms. Skarpetowska, whose “Cuore Sott’olio” set adventurous, high-velocity partnering against the slow-motion progression of a lone dancer..."
"...Ms. Skarpetowska... creates a world that we can feel invested in."
SIOBHAN BURKE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, APRIL 6, 2014
"...a strikingly clear and musical voice in the choreographic choir..."
"It's a solo I could easily watch and savour again and again."
PHILIP GARDNER, OBERON'S GROVE, FEBRUARY 7, 2013
"...work of compelling, almost austere beauty..."
"...eerily appealing and mystical piece..."
"Ms. Skarpetowka has, in her two creations for Parsons Dance, served notice of her creative individuality and of a fresh voice in the contemporary choreographic world."
PHILIP GARDNER, OBERON'S GROVE, JANUARY 21, 2013
ROBERT JOHNSON, THE STAR-LEDGER, JANUARY 18, 2013
"There is some innovation in the way she treats choreography that unfurls on the floor."
GIA KOURLAS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, JANUARY 20, 2013
A STRAY'S LULLABY
"...a dance with shadows in it, mysteries..."
"Ms. Skarpetowska’s vocabulary for spiritual struggle showed originality..."
"Ms. Skarpetowska’s dance made you think."
BRIAN SEIBERT, THE NEW YORK TIMES, JANUARY 12, 2012
"Skarpetowska's compelling, incandescent Folk Tales is an ingenious postmodern mix of contemporary dance and ethnic accents, brightened by stretches of step dancing and fueled by an intelligent, anxiety-tinged seriousness..."
SID SMITH, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, NOVEMBER 10, 2008
"To the driving percussion in the score by Nandor Weisz, choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska crafts an eye-catching, shimmering work..."