Uncompromising and unconventional, Malgorzata Nowacka is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and Artistic Director of The Chimera Project Dance Theatre, which she founded in 1999.
Nowacka’s creative path stems from being born into a family of artists in Warsaw, Poland, with whom she studied visual arts since she “could hold a brush in her hand,” as her mother says. Nowacka also studied visual art at the Ontario College of Art and Design, which translates into the strong visual and cinematic aspects of her creations. She has trained with The School of Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in New York, Bengt Jörgen’s School of Classical and Contemporary Dance in Toronto, Debbie Wilson, and Montreal’s Elizabeth Langley. Malgorzata started performing at the age of 17 in the production of Metro in Warsaw, Poland.
The Chimera Project burst onto the dance scene with Nowacka’s hyper-physical creations. Her works explore spontaneity while tapping into urgent, gritty themes. Under her artistic direction, The Chimera Project continues to flourish on the Canadian dance scene.
As a choreographer, Nowacka created over 15 critically-acclaimed works described as the “most exciting” and “most original in Canada” (The Globe and Mail) and have garnered accolades such as Top 10 performances of the year in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, NOW and FASHION. Her recognition also includes Best of International Dance Festival, the Paula Citron fFIDA Award, Toronto Emerging Artist Award, the Most Fearless Change of Direction Award (Globe and Mail), the Dance Ontario Commission Award, the Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Awards, and was the 2013 finalist for the Canadian Dance Assembly’s “I love dance/J’aime la danse” award for Innovation.
Nowacka’s works were showcased in some of Canada’s most prestigious contexts, such as Ottawa’s Canada Dance Festival, Toronto’s DanceWorks Mainstage series, Victoria’s Dance Victoria, and Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge. Nowacka has been creating works for Ballet Jörgen Canada since 2010, including Icarus and Séance, both of which have toured nationally. In 2012, her work The Calm Before… premiered at the Lila Lopez International Dance Festival in Mexico, and travelled nationally. Her newest development, Bears Stars and Trees, commissioned by the Algoma Festival, has recently toured Ontario.
Nowacka is a featured dancer with The Chimera Project, and additionally has worked as an independent dance artist with William Yong, Little Pear Garden Collective directed by Emily Chung, Bageshree Vase, Blue Ceiling Dance directed by Lucy Rupert, Anandam directed by Brandy Leary, Carlos Rivera in I’m Not The Indian You Had in Mind, Timea Wharton’s Eclipse Dance and with Motus O Dance Theatre in their tours of Midsummer Night’s Dream, Perspectives, and What the Heck.
Collaborations included a commission by Waawaate Fobister, co-creation of Bird Bee Bat Attack with Anjelica Scannura and Ritmo Flamenco and creation for Circus Orange, directed by Rebecca Carney.
As an educator, Nowacka has taught and trained pre-professional and professional dancers across Canada in contemporary dance and dance-focused body conditioning. She currently runs Company B, a training and mentorship program for young artists, which she founded in association with George Brown College’s dance program. She is on the program steering committee of George Brown Dance, and frequently guest-teaches workshops for their programs. She is also on the faculty of Dance Teq Centre Young Dancer Program.
Nowacka has taught master classes in contemporary dance and elementary Horton technique at The Ohio University, McMaster University, and throughout the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic School Board.
She has received numerous commissions to create works for young dancers, which include Canada’s Ballet Jörgen Junior Company, Ryerson University and George Brown Dance.