Choreographer’s Name: Regina Klenjoski
Company’s Name: Regina Klenjoski Dance Company
Artist Statement/Philosophy/Mission Statement:
RKDC’s mission is to promote the understanding of and to create a passion for the art of contemporary dance, making it accessible to both seasoned and virgin audiences. Through the vision of Artistic Director Regina Klenjoski, the company creates original dance works that feature collaborations with cutting-edge composers and theatrical artists. RKDC is dedicated to bridging the gap between artist and community by engaging the public into dance and dialogue through classes, workshops and performances. RKDC promotes the value of modern dance in the community of arts education.
Short Artist/Company Bio:
Regina Klenjoski is a creator, performer, educator and advocate of contemporary dance. Passionate about the moving body with a thirst for communication through dance, the Austrian-born choreographer creates deeply personal works that examine our search for intimacy in contemporary society. She tells stories with character-driven, socially relevant dances that expose our authentic nature through seemingly small flashes of humanity. As an artist, she is most concerned with providing a revealing journey for an audience by engaging them into familiarity through abstracted every day moments in life, distilled to their physical and emotional core.
Recognized for her innovative partnering and dynamic energy, she has created 24 works for the Regina Klenjoski Dance Company; nine of which feature commissioned original musical scores from award-winning Los Angeles composers. She founded her company in 1999 and has since received numerous awards including 24 Lester Horton Dance Award nominations and four Achievement in Choreography awards from the prestigious Palm Desert Choreography Competition. In 2008 she was awarded a Lester Horton award for choreography for the Museum Project created in 2007. She was chosen as one of three Public Corporation for the Arts Fellows in 2003 and was honored with an Excellence in Arts Award from the City of Torrance, RKDC’s hometown, for her contributions to the community. She has received support for her work from The Durfee Foundation, Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Time Warner, Inc., the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Torrance Cultural Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Long Beach and the Arts Council of Torrance. In 2009 she was chosen as a Help Desk/LA artist with Pentacle, an organization that “works with artists in delineating and supporting their professional systems, allowing them to maintain a stable, professional base and thus securely nurture their creative process.”
In addition to being presented at the Avignon Festival Off in France, Florida State University and various locations in Ohio and Illinois, her work has been performed throughout Southern California dance venues including the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, UCLA’s WAC Performance Series, Arts Open House at Cal State Northridge, the Fountain Theater, Carnival: The Choreographer’s Ball at the Key Club, Scripps Collage, Sushi Performance Space in San Diego, the Spectrum Dance Series, the Torrance Art Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, Loyola Marymount University, The Brand Library Dance Series, The Palm Desert Amphitheatre, Highways Performance Space, Dance Kaleidoscope Festival, The Invitational Concert at Golden West College and yearly at their home base, The James Armstrong Theatre. Her work has been commissioned by professional, commercial and educational institutions including Chicago’s Next Dance Festival, Loyola Marymount University, California State University Long Beach, Renaissance High School for the Arts, Palos Verdes High School, Bob Barrett Productions, Zephyr Dance, American Video Artists, Torrance Unified School District, DePaul University, and the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble.
Klenjoski’s uncompromising dedication to arts education has led her to create numerous programs for public and private institutions. Most notable is the ongoing residency program she began with the Torrance Cultural Services Division that has seen over 12,000 participants since 1999. The city now models their artist partnerships after her successful program. Ms. Klenjoski was guest faculty and choreographer with California State University, Long Beach’s Dance Department from 2008-2009 and with the Loyola Marymount University Dance Program from 2004-2006. She was the Director of the 150-student modern dance program at North High School in Torrance from 1999-2001. She was master class teacher and choreographer for the dance program at Torrance’s West High School and the Renaissance High School for the Arts in Long Beach. Committed to building community and opportunity among local professional dance artists she instituted the highly regarded SOLA Contemporary Dance Festival in 2001. She hosts this annual event to further contemporary dance in Los Angeles and directly benefit the South Bay community. The festival has garnered critical acclaim since its inception and has been nominated by the Lester Horton Award committee for Outstanding Festival in seven its eight years of presentation.
Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:
RKDC’s most significant artistic achievement over the last few years was the celebration of their 10-year anniversary. In November of 2009, the company presented a world premiere evening length dance work, The Crossings, which was met with critical acclaim and has garnered three Lester Horton Award nominations. Other recent artistic and administrative changes include their 2008 partnership with the Long Beach Museum of Art for a performance of the Museum Project and a dance workshop and lecture demonstration for 60 fifth graders. In April of 2009, RKDC hired a new Administrative Manager who is currently transitioning into a Booking Agent position thanks to funding received from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Also in 2009, Regina Klenjoski was chosen as one of ten artists for Help Desk/LA, a Pentacle program that “works with artists in delineating and supporting their professional systems, allowing them to maintain a stable, professional base and thus securely nurture their creative process.” RKDC’s mentorship through Help Desk/LA has led to a stronger infrastructure for the company, increased performance opportunities, and a stronger connection with the local dance community. Past accomplishments include a guest faculty and choreographer position for Regina at the Californa State University, Long Beach Dance Department from 2008-2009, the addition of a company manager in April of 2005, the securing of a pro bono accountant in July of 2005, the year long guest dance faculty position for Regina Klenjoski and Loyola Marymount University for 2004-2005, and her return to choreograph for the faculty concert in January 2006. Other accomplishments include the launching of their website in October 2005, the establishment of the “Kids Show” as a biannual event for RKDC's dance students in Torrance, the hiring of a part-time administrative intern to begin in January 2006, obtaining a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach to conduct a four week residency at the Renaissance High School for the Performing Arts and finally, the successful productions of SOLA Contemporary Dance Festival from 2001-2008 that included theater performances, site-specific work, contact improvisation and professional level workshops for the community.
What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?
Exposure for the company and my work. An opportunity to meet new artists, presenters, and patrons in the field. To create new connections and expand RKDC’s network. To be inspired by other artist’s work.
Have you participated in other festivals or showcases?
Yes, please see the biography above. In addition, I am currently creating a new work to be premiered at Celebrate Dance this coming March. Celebrate Dance is a well-renowned festival produced by Jamie Nichols every spring at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA.
If so – what were elements you enjoyed and what areas do you think could have been improved on?
I enjoyed meeting the other artists in the festivals. I enjoyed presenting my work to new audiences and hearing their feedback and response. I enjoyed the festivals that were run professionally with producers who respected the artists that were performing for them by running an on-time schedule, providing food and drinks backstage and making sure there was a full house to perform for. I can’t think of any time where I would have liked things to be different or “improved upon.” All our experiences were great.
Work Regina will be bringing to the Festival
Choreographer: Regina Klenjoski
Number of performers: 6
Title: Digital Nicotine
Length: 9 min
Brief Description of the Work: This is a new work in its second week of rehearsal. The piece will feature new music by a local composer, possible video. The dance is about technology, how it infiltrates our lives and how it is redefining our social landscape. Another theme I am exploring is a question in reference to the unlimited and immediate access to media of all sorts: Among all of the messages that are hurled toward us, how do we compete and how do we discern what is important? And…how do we curb our addiction to technology?