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Mathew Janczewki's ARENA DANCES mission is to create and perform original modern dance choreography promoting community gathering, dialogue and impact. Mathew Janczewski's Artist Statement My responsibility as an artist is to ask questions and incite awakening, both in myself and my collaborators, through the making of work, and in my audience, through their experience of performance. Innovation and experimentation have been central concerns in my work. I seek to balance this need for personal discovery and growth with a responsibility I have to my audience. A central challenge in contemporary dance is the degree to which it has become rarefied and dislocated from the culture in which it exists. In fighting against this, I am deeply concerned with making my work relevant to the public that I am addressing.
ARENA is one of the area’s premiere modern dance companies. ARENA’s works, while abstract, bring audiences into the worlds and emotions presented on stage. Reviewing for mnartists.org, Lightsey Darst called Janczewski’s work "physically brilliant yet emotionally intimate, dramatic, widely varied, witty and heartfelt."
ARENA Dances was founded in 1995 by founder/Artistic Director Mathew Janczewski. Over the past 17 years, Janczewski has created over 35 works that ARENA has performed nationally and internationally to great acclaim. The company has toured to Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York, and has conducted residencies throughout Minnesota including New York Mills, Winona, and Morris. In Europe, the company has taught and performed in the 7th Open Look International Summer Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the 3rd TOUCH Festival in Arkanghelsk, Russia, and the L1 Dance Festival in Budapest, Hungary. Recent highlights include the 2007 Walker Arts Center commissioned premiere of Ugly; 2007 presentation of the company by the SCUBA Network in Philadelphia; the commissioning of the "rock star" string quartet ETHEL for ARENA’s Dancin’ with ETHEL concert at the Southern; New York city performances (City Center, Joyce SoHo, two performances at Symphony Space including one with Dance Gotham, and NYU); and tours to Philadelphia, Kalamazoo, MI, and St. Louis. ARENA presents a Fall and Spring concert each year in the Twin Cities.