Originally from Illinois, dancer, choreographer, director, and creative Mathew Janczewski (he/him) has been residing in Minneapolis, MN since 1989. He was a company member, most notably with Shapiro & Smith Dance from 2007-2014 and JAZZDANCE! By Danny Buraczeski from 1992-97. As a dancer, Mathew has performed as a guest with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Bebe Miller, and Jacek Luminski of Bytom, Poland. Over the years, he has performed the works of Beth Corning, Sean Curran, HIJACK, Marge Maddux, Shawn McConneloug, Jane Shockley, Robin Stiehm, Morgan Thorson, Doug Varone, and Cathy Young.
Shortly after receiving his degree in dance from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and performing internationally, Mathew founded his own non-profit dance company, ARENA DANCES, in 1995. His practices are profoundly inspired by music, architecture, self-expression, and an ongoing collaboration with dancer’s opposition of distal extremes while pushing the edges of space within the body’s potential. ARENA serves as the vehicle for his body of work and provides young, aging and underserved segments of the Twin Cities community with opportunities to experience the transformative power of dance.
Mathew’s choreographic and creative work has garnered praise in the Twin Cities and beyond. He has set numerous commissioned works for universities, colleges, and companies such as Minnesota Dance Theatre, Cleveland Repertory Co., aTrek Dance, and Zenon Dance Company. He has been named as the Bates Dance Festival’s choreographer (2001), received the Sage Award for Outstanding Performance (2005), and was awarded the distinguished McKnight Fellowship for Choreographers (2005). In 2008, Dance Magazine named him as one of their “25 to Watch.”
Mathew founded The Arena in 2021—a community movement center offering affordable movement classes for all ages, pre-professional and professional workshops & intensives, and community gatherings, all in support of the moving arts in a bustling urban location. Janczewski is a specialized teaching artist at The Arena in addition to ARENA DANCES’ DanceON program for K-12 Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools.
Janczewski’s most recent project, THERMAL: Meditations on Climate Change, was researched and created in collaboration with the dancers at the Tofte Lake Arts Center (Ely, MN) to then be performed in residency for a month at the American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis, MN). Mathew has also recently been invited as a guest choreographer and teaching artist in various collegiate settings, including University of Minnesota – Duluth and Carleton College. Currently, Mathew is working on a new project that includes twelve dancers and an original musical score, Erased Steps, which uses dance (steps, improvisation, shape, and gesture) as a way to articulate his curiosities about past and present, industrial revolution, and the struggle of homelessness—actively allowing the vibration and energies that surface within the process of creating the studio to reverberate within the performance.