June 24, 2014

Photo Credit: Karen Scheffers

Artist’s Work:

Samadhi Dance Company & Vraja Sundari Keilman

Location:

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Medium:

Dance

Samadhi Dance Company is a fresh contemporary dance company based in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The company is renowned for their collaborations with artists in other disciplines. Their productions fuse knowledge of the ancient Vedas with Western art and dance techniques. These include contemporary ballet, with strong influences of Bharata Natyam (traditional Indian dance), yoga, theater, jazz/urban and classical ballet to create a wider range of movements. The stunning production ‘Saranágati received the prestigious Dutch Dance Audience Award for best production and dance company of 2011. After eight successful productions the company’s fan base is spreading all over the world.

Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:

Vraja Sundari Keilman (Dance 1 & 2)

What made you want to participate in this project?
The friendliness of Sally, the interesting content of the project, and the quality of the tracks.

Who was hearing the music? (Ex. you now? you as a child? you grandfather? The earth? The sky? A place? A time? Etc)
I was hearing the music as myself now. It felt compatible with how I currently feel as it had some rawness in the style and warmth at the same time. It felt very sincere, making me feel comfortable and free to be myself completely.

What did you tell yourself about the story behind the song? (aka. Who or what was the song about and how did it translate into your dance?)
I tried not to create too many associations since I wanted to be completely fresh and free from any pre-conceptions as this was part of the assignment (to not prepare but just react and go with the flow).
Looking back at the results it felt like a story of strong personalities sitting together in a living room in a cabin or house in the woods with a fireplace, some sofa’s and chairs, a guitar and just expressing purely from the heart. Trying to break free from daily life and frustrations, getting it out and sharing it with the others.

What thought/image came to you first?
2/3 persons together in a small house in the woods with a fireplace, lots of wood and warmth, candles making it intimate but with a southern feel to it and cute furniture, more of a country feeling, being together with a big cup of coco in the early evening during the winter seasons.

How do you normally create a dance? How was this experience different that your normal process?
Usually the first few times I just go with my instinct and improvise without planning too much. In that sense it was very comfortable and similar to the way Sally requested us to work, it felt natural and pleasant. Sometimes I create a movement sequel and then find music to it, but usually material and productions come from improvised material so in that sense it felt really natural for me to work like this.

What was the story you were trying to express with your dance?
Trying to break through the daily routine and thoughts to express the urge and slight frustration within myself, that part that feels like breaking free from all rules and obligations of the world, to just feel free and be me, to push through the toughness of life and search for the freedom and strength within myself; at times I would feel like I wanted to give up and just be indifferent to the others, other moments I wanted to open up myself completely and show my vulnerability and share these feelings with the others, expressing the insecurity within me coming from life.

Are there certain movements that you used which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know?
There weren’t any specific movements that came to mind, but we did feel the urge to use chairs as if it were the furniture in our imaginary living room. Also, movement wise we felt moments were we wanted to be playful and almost (playfully) sarcastic towards each other yet at the same time having moments were we would just let go and create big movements in where we would surrender ourselves to this feeling of futility and became soft in our movements; so a mixture of fun and dynamic, playful movement with more lyrical, soft and expressive movements.

Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project?
All of us absolutely enjoyed it, especially when seeing the results after just trusting the moment, the music and ourselves, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to create something special, despite of the more chaotic situation at the moment due to our Winter break and many, many external changes around us; it was a nice release and way of getting rid of certain difficult emotions so we definitely enjoyed the process as well as the music.

 


Annlydie Groenen (Dance 1)

What made you want to participate in this project?
For 2 reasons: I love the concept, working with connections and the fact you love the way Samadhi makes her art makes it even more interesting.
And I learn in Samadhi the music is first priority to start to dance and with the song it was a challenge and a very interesting process.

Who was hearing the music? (Ex. you now? you as a child? you grandfather? The earth? The sky? A place? A time? Etc)
I would say, me and a girl friend (not dancer) and she was really touched by the emotion of the voice of the singer. ME but me as a young girl in my salon dancing, as I was the music. Trying to find a moment to let go

What did you tell yourself about the story behind the song? (aka. Who or what was the song about and how did it translate into your dance?)
For my interpretation, I sow some one that got bit by love, a big emotion that you can’t control and can be fun and beautiful but also hurtful and being able to understand why and that in the end she realizes she is not in control so she prefer to go with the flow and see what will happen…. That way during my dance movements I use the opportunity to play with the other dancers but also to use the space for big movements to not loose any moment or space … and enjoy.

What thought/image came to you first?
A small home, with a warm living room at first. A lot of people in different places and where a big bird with big wings is flying on top of everyone or that you can see from far.

How do you normally create a dance? How was this experience different that your normal process?
Normally I do have a base as a phrase or we work for a moment or we meet the other artists and we wouldn’t be ask to tape and send it like that fast… But I must say it did give us the opportunity to realize how much when you get the freedom to do what you want or feel its very hard and after that you see how much you can make and play with art and the qualities that you have.

What was the story you were trying to express with your dance?
That I am sharing the moment with the other dancer. Its a game with different qualities, love and of course what the song expresses for me. And after to let it go and enjoy the moment because at that period for me hearing the song is about the things we say we know, but we always forget it, to live in the moment, meaning the ‘now’ and to go with that and what we had in the past as a light suitcase.

Are there certain movements that you used which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know?
Yes, I guess a lot of movement can be complicated to read with the eyes because they are from what my body reacts to, meaning the words and gestures that come from this (that’s the reason why it can be called modern dance) but of course I m also aware of the audience as well and that its also nice if they get a moment of the emotions and feel similarity or think ‘yes I feel something as well’; simple as that is enough.

Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project? 
Very much!! How nice it is to be able to share some moments in different ways with artists and different visions from so far away! And for me it was more than an honour to be able to do that, I am so thankful for that!

Answers Jeffrey Stuut (dance 2)
What made you want to participate in this project?
I heard about the idea from Vraja and was immediately interested about the concept. Then I had a Skype meeting with Sally to talk about the concept and the idea that she had and after that meeting I also wanted to participate in this project. First I couldn’t because I was not in the Netherlands when they filmed the first movie, but when the second song came I was happy that I could be part of it.

Who was hearing the music? (Ex. you now? you as a child? you grandfather? The earth? The sky? A place? A time? Etc)
I tried to be as neutral as I could be before hearing the song and just do follow my first intentions.

What did you tell yourself about the story behind the song? (aka. Who or what was the song about and how did it translate into your dance?)
I heard the song only 4 times as this was part oft the assignment but the emotion of the song gave me a bit of a depressed feeling. I had the feeling that the artist was singing about how he wanted to do a lot but he couldn’t or didn’t have the power to do so.

What thought/image came to you first? 
A heavy thought. I had the image that a person wanted to stand up but couldn’t stand on his feet but later on the person finds his way to stand up and dance.

How do you normally create a dance? How was this experience different that your normal process?
In Samadhi we are used to work out of improvisation so that was not really different for me, but the fact that it was filmed and sent immediately gave the improvisation a completely different feeling. I was much more aware of the camera and the intentions I wanted to express.

What was the story you were trying to express with your dance? 
I didn’t really have a specific a story but more of a feeling. I wanted to show a person that tries but doesn’t really succeed. This struggle continues during the whole dance.

Are there certain movements that you used which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know? 
No I did not have that, except for the idea of not being able to stand up and the struggle to overcome this, which perhaps shows in the floor work.

Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project? 
Yes I enjoyed it very much and I hope that it will be of use to others.

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