“Hold My Hand” Examines Gun Violence through Dance

Mathew Janczewski’s contemporary dance company, Arena Dances, hits the Fitzgerald Theater stage for one-night only premiere Nov. 10.


courtesy armour photography/mathew janczewski

In 2018, our country has experienced more than 300 mass shootings. Meanwhile, more than 12,300 people have lost their lives to gun violence alone. 

In the wake of another act of terrorism in Pittsburgh late October and last week in Tallahassee, we’re forced to remember how far we still have to go. 

Mathew Janczewski, founder and director of Minneapolis’ Arena Dances, feels a calling to do something about it.

“There are big bouts, we talk about it, and it goes away,” he says. “I can add something to this.”

Not with his voice, though—with his body. On Nov. 10, his choreography will make a bold statement on the status of our country in the one-night-only premiere of Hold My Hand at Fitzgerald Theater.

The show isn’t just about gun violence. Different pieces hit on different controversial, heartbreaking, and politically charged topics that ask the question, “Are we truly ready to progress?”

Janczewski likes to believe so. The show consists of five pieces—four dance, one choral. “There’s gorgeous dancing physically, but with such an honest, human approach to it,” Janczewski says.

The show is brought to life with music by 2018 McKnight Fellowship recipient and composer Joshua Clausen, the MPLS (imPulse) choir, and St. Paul Area High School students. With a trio, quartet, and two sextets (one of which is all women), they’ll help bring an emotionally fueled and viscerally honest contemporary dance performance to the stage.

Janczewski founded Arena Dances in 1995 after he graduated from the University of Minnesota, and this show is “something I always knew I wanted to do,” he says. “I just thought I could add something to this community.”


Who: Mathew Janczewksi’s Arena Dances
What: Hold My Hand—a contemporary dance performance 
Where: Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul
When: Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m.
How much: $17.50-$26.50 

The show is expected to run 90 minutes with an intermission and is kid- and family-friendly.