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"The dancer is a translater of the multiple layers of history and cultures"

"The dancer is a translater of the multiple layers of history and cultures"

Interview with Vania Vaneau by Emma Meerschaert (Soundcast)

Haar liefde voor het podium ontdekte Vania Vaneau toen ze als jong meisje meedeed in de danstheaterstukken van haar ouders in haar thuisland Brazilië. In 1982 trok ze naar Frankrijk waar ze vele jaren vertoefde en ook een bachelor in de Psychologie behaalde. Ook volgde ze een opleiding in P.A.R.T.S bij Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Daarbovenop danste Vania Vaneau bij Wim Vandekeybus, Maguy Marin, Jordi Gali en Christian Rizzo. Momenteel volgt ze een training Body-Mind Centering. Achter dit artistieke talent schuilt ook een lieve vrouw die na haar intensieve voorstelling met veel plezier de tijd nam voor een gesprek.

--- I have read you did a lot of research on trance and transformation trough rituals and Shamanism. How did you translate this knowledge and ideas onto the theatrical stage?

The performance arose mostly out of free inspiration. It is not an anthropological work but rather a creative one. It is about the parallel between the stage and the position of the dancer as a medium between forces of nature and energies. The dancer as translator of the multiple layers of history and cultures. Where the actor embodies characters, the dancer works with physical and imaginary forces, like the shaman, they transform themselves during the time and space of a show or a ritual.

--- Can you tell something more about the concept of the ‘Archaeology of the body’?

There are two types of transformation in the performance: the first is an interior one, where emotions are expressed through shocking motions and where the inside of the body is represented by blood coming out of the mouth. This refers to a Shamanist Ayahuasca ritual where purging toxins by vomiting and psychedelic experiences brings inner peace. The second transformation is represented trough disguising the body with masks, cloths and flowers, an later by covering the naked body with Indian powder-paint. It’s like adding multiple layers of skin. The idea was to make an archaeology of the body, unfolding its material and subjective layers and making a parallel between rituals and theatre. To unravel the diversity of faces that is to be found in one person, like the colour white exists out of all the other colours.

--- In what way did your studies in Psychology influence your work?

In the beginning when I was looking about other states of mind – for example the strong state of mind in Shamanist meditation -, I was interested in neurology, in how the brain is able to function in other ways then we normally use it for. So, there are two aspects in the research: a spiritual one and scientific one.

--- And working with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker?

I’m not directly using the tools of structural composition of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, but she also is a very spiritual person. I’m researching about the body and the landscape, how we can transform ourselves in nature. Also about the different layers of ourselves: emotions, energies and muscles are on the same line.

--- This dance performance is partially presented as a reaction against the domination of rationality and the individual desire for material possession in the competitive atmosphere these days. How do you make the personal change from everyday life to the intensity of the performance and transformations? How does it feel to dance it?

In the beginning of the performance, I’m absorbing the energy of the people by looking very closely at their faces and expression. This internalisation, the presence of the audience, the energy of Simon Dijoud –live accompanying guitarist ¬¬- together with my personal state of mind, engender transformations in my movement and sounds. It’s not just a formal representation. I really have to go through a real experience, together with the people in the audience.

Gezien op vrijdag 8 december in Stadsschouwburg Brugge

December Dance 17 – Curated by Christian Rizzo – International Dance Festival Bruges

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