{feature} A ”modern” Flamenco woman dancing on the stage – Anna Castillo

I walked into the cafe in Wedding, waiting for Anna Castillo to enter. She showed out shortly, wearing a black top, black pants and a black pair of boots. Her hair was hanging down, unlike her stage image as I remembered. She is such a bright woman that you would easily recognise anywhere once you have met her. Anna Castillo is half German half Chile, a young flamenco dancer growing up in Berlin. She used to dance in her room with her parents. People used to tell her: this looks so flamenco. So she got into flamenco first. Describing flamenco as ‘painting the air’ at age five, Castillo got inspired by usual things with their simple movements. One step afterwards, she got inspired by flamenco festival at age eight.

That was the first time she saw the Spanish flamenco. There was an amazing young dancer called ‘La Moneta’ dancing on that stage. Castillo told her Mom, ‘I loved it. It was amazing!’ Her mom went straight to talk to that dancer. She expressed, ‘my daughter wants to dance with you.’ That was a big deal. They even went to the backstage to talk to the performer. The performer replied, ‘ok, you can take the solo classes with me. You just have to come to Granada to dance.’ That’s how Castillo starts flamenco. She went to Spain for the first time, following this specific dancer. Castillo still appreciates her mom did that. It made her first understand flamenco in a deeper way.

It was very personal and strict. She used to cry when she took classes with her. It was professional flamenco. La Moneta comes from Granada, dancing a lot at ‘Cuevas’ which is a place Gypsy used to live. It was the houses on the mountain near cacti-studded countryside. It was a deep flamenco setting. She basically understands the sense and the difficulty of flamenco. It’s not just dancing. It’s also a cultural thing we are transmitting.

What’s flamenco?

It’s a dance which comes from people who suffers a lot. They’ve never been accepted by the society. They are kind of like the outsiders. That’s why this dance has a lot of suffering and fighting in it, which makes it really strong. What does interesting to me is the ‘solo’ thing. It pushes the women into not as anyone’s background on the stage, which is really nice. A very strong woman dance of who has been discriminated for a long time. It has an important message.

However, there’s a lot of amazing male dancers. They dance a little differently. Flamenco is a very traditional thing with a traditional image, such as a woman in the red dress and a man in the black suit. That’s changing a lot. I was taught by a man how to use ‘petticoat’, which is like a big long wedding dress. Flamenco is a traditional thing but changing very fast and floaty. There’s also women dances a male role. It’s getting more and more free from that cultural perception. In the meanwhile, you have to respect the culture. It’s difficult to say how modern and traditional you want to be. The transformation is happening individually.

modernizing flamenco

Perhaps it’s my interpretation of movement. Flamenco is just changing a lot from last twenty years. People get to have for example ballet and contemporary dance so we can mix traditional flamenco movement with other movements. This is unusual. Because of like I said, fifty years back flamenco was a discriminated dance. That was not very usual to dance it. Now it spreads all over the world. It’s amazing. If flamenco dancers get very famous, they tour around the world. They go to Brazil, Tokyo and China. Fifty years back, people would not imagine that. It’s becoming so international. That’s movement of modernization and globalization. If you talk to professional dancers in the school, you would know you normally need to take flamenco classes. Because flamenco has its own character which is interesting to get to know, such as Arabic dancing and American tapping. It’s a weird combination of totally different backgrounds. It’s quite complicated including the rhythm. It’s an amazing way for people to learn different perceptions of the dance. For example, our communications with guitarists. We always work with live musicians, which is such an incredible experience. Obviously I am alone on the stage, but actually, I am not. Although I am not with other dances nor my partner. We have unspoken rules regarding the communication with the musicians, which makes us able to dance and improvise together. That’s how flamenco start.

We have rules, for example, starting a phrase. It’s called ‘Llamada’. If I do this specific movement, everyone would know the new phrase is gonna happen. Even though we have never spoken to each other, I could jump into a session doing this movement. I think that’s a really important thing people/dancers all over the world could learn from flamenco. It is an interesting way of improvisation. With the strange undercover rules, it’s almost a bit like jazz sometimes. They also communicate in a non-verbal way. Flamenco maybe is richer than jazz regarding this communication. Instead of communicating on the stage in jazz, flamenco dancers need to know specific melodies and lyrics. If you know the lyrics, you know the song has to end at some point. For example, at the end of the phrase comes ‘flowers’. You wait to improvise. The flowers are the change. Everyone knows that. Then we change to the solo of guitarist, singer or foot-tapping. It’s kind of complicated structure. I have to say myself I don’t understand it fully. It takes years to understand. From the popular dancing forms, there are twenty-four types of flamenco. We have to know all the rhythms, the singing and the melodies of the guitar. It’s a difficult art to manage. Different flamenco also has different characters. That would kind of define the improvisation as well. That’s why I sometimes like to choose my song so I could improvise freely.

Gestures & unspoken rules

I learnt these rules from stage experiences. I start doing improvisation. That’s really good to start at the young age. After going to Granada, I went to Plaza de Saint Nicolas, which is a beautiful platform to exchange with all the other live musicians there. That’s where I learn the improvisation rules. They are very free, however, the stage performances are difficult. Especially in Germany, it’s difficult to get taught. My teacher taught us doing choreography, explaining what are we dancing. We as the dancers also contribute to the way how flamenco piece gonna transform on the stage. For example, if I would dance ‘subida’ to suggest speeding up gradually, or Salida as a closer. There are workshops/ lessons for pure techniques. If I want to share or understand more of flamenco, Youtube channel is also a great resource. It changes flamenco completely. Before that, some steps and classes are secret and exclusive. Now you can go on Youtube, watching everyone dancing. You see how the structures are, how everyone respects the singers, the guitars and what the melodies are. Some people just learn on Youtube all the time. You can also google different lyrics and ways of singing. Flamenco’s textbooks are actually the internet. Every day I wake up, I watch a flamenco video. To entertain myself, or get to know the dancers I am curious about. That’s the way I get inspired a lot.

The turning point of life

One of my most important experiences in a professional setting was a dance in the flamenco centre of Berlin by Raphaela Stern, who is my main teacher. She has a flamenco night in a big church. The performance includes two singers, two guitars and two people clapping. That’s always in October. I dance twice with it. It’s always an amazing experience because we prepare a year for that. Even after 15 years of experience, it’s challenging to understand all the steps for dancing nicely. This year, there was another experience which changed my personality and dancing. It was a participation in the Club Oval Battle. The reason is I am pretty young in flamenco scene. There are two or three other ones in my age. But I feel lonely sometimes. I needed to learn more. I was desperate to learn more. I wanted to know how the dancing world looks like in Berlin. Although I am from Berlin, I have no idea about other dance scenes except flamenco. That really depressed me. After seeing Club Oval on facebook, I decided to participate the next time.

I was incredibly nervous at the first time. I only told one friend that I would participate. That’s was a heavy raining day. I came after university with my backpack and computer. My friend told me she’s not gonna have dinner with parents for coming to see me. At that moment I knew I need to go. It turned out Club Oval changed my half of the year completely. It made me a flamenco dancer with more self-confidence, forcing me to dance with non-flamenco music. That’s why I actually participated the Diggs Deeper Berlin. I got to know one of my best friend who I met in the Club Oval in July 2017. I was participating three times in a roll. I won every single one of them. That was something I would have never expected if you would have asked me a half year ago. I was so shy, feeling excluded from this huge dancing scene in Berlin. Suddenly I was so accepted and welcomed by this event. That was a real surprise for me, a most important turning point of my life. I realized this completely new scene that I want to explore and learn. I want to take something from it into flamenco. Club oval is such an interesting place. It is definitely one of my favourite places in Berlin. I feel so motivated by the people I met in Club Oval, that’s why I am going exchange in Madrid Spain for a half year. A lot of things change.

Anna Castillo by Shantel Liao

How does the urban dance/flamenco scene look like in Berlin?

I have no idea what is it like in Hip Hop community. It is really big. I am just myself still discovering it. I was surprised that they are so accepting me as a flamenco dancer. I was able to participate! I would describe it as an open scene. Everything I have seen is inspiring. Every time I went club Oval I met someone inspiring to me. Then I went classes with them. For example, Prince was my judge in the Club Oval twice. He invited me to dance with him in a show ‘BI NKA BI – Tanz in seiner höchsten Form’ at Pfefferberg Theater, which is the same place I met my teacher La Moneta the first time. For me, it was kind of emotional that fifteen years later to dance in that theatre. That was amazing. I also went to another judge’s wrecking class. I am sure you can use the wrecking dance somehow in flamenco. I also met the entire voguing scene. I think the Hip-Hop scene is really well connected. I was so surprised. I would never expect that. I also a little bit of shame of myself that I felt different and afraid. I was not even trying. I lost so much time and energy, instead of just trying. Everyone is so welcoming.

I dance Flamenco since I was five. I tried everyone out in all the different districts. It’s relatively small. Now we have Spanish teachers coming to Berlin two or three times a year in the different schools. That’s really nice because we are not so isolated anymore. I also travelled to other cities for flamenco. It is all over Germany. Berlin has the good amount of people, musicians and other resources. We never dance to CD. There is always singers or guitarists joining.

Which city is the most suitable place for flamenco?

Seville in Spain is the Capital of flamenco. You can find good flamenco in every corner. Once a while, I would go Seville for learning more. It has festivals and crazy good schools. Madrid is also a good spot. There are things happening. You just need to be aware of it. In flamenco, all the different city has its own flamenco atmosphere depending on the circumstances. Granada has its Arabic influences. Without knowing it, there’s a lot of Arabic touch to it. You want to understand flamenco, you have to visit all the different places to be a part of the different scenes. So to speak, travelling is necessary.

What motivates you to continue this journey? What’s your drive?

Oh god! I wouldn’t say I have a specific drive. It’s quite funny. I sometimes try not to dance flamenco, or I can’t dance flamenco because of my study. Then I got really depressed. Like the last two weeks, I couldn’t dance, and I am having nightmares everyday. I would say it’s almost like a surviving skill for me. I don’t know it’s good or bad, but I just need it. It is my deepest way of the communication. It’s also the only way I know to dance. I’ve always been dancing. I can’t imagine myself not dancing in the future. It’s bad for my own health if I don’t dance anymore. But obviously, my drive is also to be a part of this movement, which is ‘modernizing flamenco’, bring flamenco to a wider audience. A lot of people think flamenco with a specific image, like having the red flower in the head. Flamenco is way much more. We are also learning from other styles. We are having new instruments, new dance forms and cooperators into the movement. I want to push that too. I feel like flamenco is such an interesting way of communication. I want to bring it to more people to see it. How beautiful it is.

Anything you would like to share with our audience interested in creativities?

From what I learn from the experiences, not being afraid of the audience is very important for a dancer. It is so difficult. Even I have so many experiences dancing on the street of Spain, I am still afraid of showing myself in Berlin. That’s just because I was feeling different. We need to explore and understand differences. You need to see the different styles, dancing in different battles. I wish people would be willing to show themselves, standing for their own identities. it’s important to show these differences, which is not only important as a person but also for the dance community, even the whole society. So we can explore more, get inspired. I love to get inspired, seeing what other people do. It’s so nice! Not everyone is gonna like you anyways. It’s worth to show a little bit because someone gonna appreciate you.

With many thanks to Anna Castillo
Photos credits/ Ralf Bieniek and Shantel Liao
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link

Berlin-based Club Oval Crossover Dance Battle

Berlin has its privilege to fusion all kinds of style by its diverse residents. One of the most influential events is exactly speaking the same language. An Boekman, dancer, choreographer and dance teacher, who has found the key ingredient for sharing her idea. She is the head of a big training centre for professional dancers: Marameo Berlin e.V, also part of TanzZeit-Team. She said it all started in 2013 at Podewil Palais: an eventful, centuries-long baroque palace situated in midst of Berlin. A key role of cultural education. The tenants decided to create every Thursday evening a special event: “The Wildes Palais” and TanzZeit decided to create the Club Oval- a crossover Dance Battle.

We were driven by an idea that was fascinating to us: creating an event that did not exist so far – connecting the diverse dance scenes that did not relate to each other, or even were quarrelling and wasting energies with rivalries.

They luckily have structural support from TanzZeit and the Kulturprojekte Berlin, Podewil is their headquarter. The working process goes like this: Kulturprojekte Berlin develops and coordinates both recurring and one-off-large-scale projects, events and exhibitions throughout Berlin. Club Oval is a joint venture of Kulturprojekte Berlin and TanzZeit. They both take care of their parts.

The actual working and organizing team consists of two persons, Lydia Thiele and An Boekman. She said, over the years there is a kind of “blind understanding” between them, concerning the responsibilities. Boekman does the “people work” – inviting and searching for teams, the members of the jury, being busy with the “groundwork” of organizing, communicating, preparing. Thiele takes care of publishing, organizing the soloist lists, doing the work “behind the scenes”. They do not have any serious public relation going on. “No marketing whatsoever”, she said. They post it like 2 weeks before on facebook and that’s it. Club Oval runs by itself, sort of a sure-fire success. In the beginnings, there was sort of an anarchist spirit and a struggle to reach out to audiences. What’s supporting their success is two years of hard work. They learn how to deal with all kinds of crisis-management.

How are your experiences in Club Oval, especially about the dance and creativities? Any stories behind you would like to share?

The main story remains the same. The fusion of all styles is totally unique: Swing, Crumping, Twerking, Ballet, African Dance, Hip Hop, Voguing, Tango etc. My favourite is the duets, where we mix two dancers who have never met before and ask them to dance to music both of them have never heard before. They improvise for two minutes. Most of the time it’s hilarious, touching, magic or wonderfully silly. A super-queer voguing star meets the macho Hip Hop dancer, the national champion in Latin-American dances improvises with a b-boy, the tango dancer has his two minutes with a young student from the state-ballet academy. New crews evolve, because the soloist-finalists discover, that they would love to work with each other the very same evening they met first at the Club Oval. A young man gets up spontaneously, a refugee from Syria, asking for permission to do a spontaneous rap: the DJ just nods, he takes the microphone and afterwards, the applause grows into standing ovations. I love those moments.

What does Club Oval offer to the dance community?

There is a powerful radiance and at times a charisma belonging to that very small-scale event ( more than 250 people are not allowed to watch due to security reasons), that attracts many touring dancers, who are just travelling through Berlin. It’s the first contact point for newcomers in Berlin. It’s an anti-commercial, anti-elitist event. Dancers perform on the dancefloor. Nobody asks for their nationality, origins, religion or age. Nobody needs to argue about subjects like equality, tolerance or gender-issues. It’s an egalitarian togetherness, that functions. It’s open to very young audiences due to the minor entrance fee, which in the overall sum is the prize for the winning teams and winning soloist. It simply brings diverse dance communities of Berlin in touch with each other and dancers and crews from abroad.

Any words you would like to share with our audience who are interested in creativity?

Creativities? I just learned some basics about creativity. It seems to be the product of a long evolutionary process. In its most elementary form its the capacity to create an order within chaos, processing is given information, judging them and develop from there a certain pattern of behaviour, that helps to cope with surprisingly new situations, you are confronted with. A deep feeling of satisfaction follows, in case you succeed and so you are looking constantly for new situations, where you can develop your creative skills. It’s such a simple and down to earth definition of creativity – just forget about artists, galleries, dance studios and art. I think it’s not about being interested in creativity, it’s about being interested in basic humaneness, isn’t it?.

With many thanks to Club Oval, Lydia Thiele and An Boekman
For more information about Club Oval please see the link.
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link.

Kazuma Glen Motomura who Speaks out for a better world

Kazuma Glen Motomura, half Japanese half Zimbabwean/South African. He mixes Hip Hop, contemporary dance and martial arts, to make artistic and political actions inside and outside of theatre for a better world. I met him right at the fusion battle in Berlin. In my head, I still remember one time he was wearing the mask while dancing. The scene reminded me of the character who lived in Miyazaki Hayao’s world. It was hard to not notice him. He is such an authentic human being.

At first, he was dressing up as a superhero for his Mom. He described himself as an antisocial child who is drawing all the time because he was moving around a lot. After a long time being this urban gate dancer in the city, he successfully transforms and connects it back to himself. “It’s been quite a strong moment”, he said. Of course, he also wants to be a socially successful dancer to be able to live from it, instead of suffering. But deeply behind that, he wants his actions to get back to nature. In the end, human beings are stupid, but at the same time lovable.

For seeing all the consciousness efforts he puts in his actions, his dance needs to literally present himself. It does. His style is the cultural fusion and remix of the existing style and making something new from it. The influence was coming from his mix background. He always needs to find the middle path of behaving Japanese or behaving Western, because of growing up in New York and Tokyo. For him, making fusion and finding the connecting points between two very different things somehow became inevitable. It also helps in intercultural communications. But how does he do that? First, he puts contrasting things together. Basically kind of forcing it together, and then the body and mind would adjust to it naturally—Sometimes it would just happen. For instance, if one forced to live with a very different neighbour, one would take actions to find solutions to live with this neighbour peacefully.

For his political activities in performing arts, he shared, ‘I have always fascinated with student movements, Hip Hop, funds raising, and speaking out for injustice, racism.‘ When Fukushima happened, he saw the ridiculous thing happened on TV and the government reactions. At that moment, he found what he should fight for. He wanted to do something about it, instead of being an observer. He added, this lie that we are living in is a live theatre, and we are actors in this live theatre.

What’s the concept behind the production “Lies/Harmony 和とウソの間” you created?

It’s a piece I did and start developing exactly after Fukushima. I start doing part of it in the anti-nuclear demonstration in Berlin/Japan. Making setter of the mistruth that been told on TV, like if you keep smiling radiation doesn’t affect you, or safe to drink the water that it would go through your body. All these information controls, I just want to put that straight onto the theatre. Somehow this imagines of pretending, that this is no danger when there is a danger. It came to my mind that an image of dancing happily with a mask on like a child, innocent feeling but going through terrible things. How can I describe this stupidity of mankind, in dance and theatre movement?

In the newest version, I collaborated with this Taiwanese Canadian multi-media interactive stage artist named Sammy Chien, with sound and video. He’s also politically active, doing a lot of feminism and queer actions. I know him from Lake Studios when he was there. I was away for a month. I came back two days before he left. We spent two days together and became so close because we have so much similarity. We are both Asian going into North America as a young teenager at the time, both did Hip Hop and dance, professionally working in theatre. It was so lucky to meet Sammy Chien, we are like the brother, so much fun being with him. With Sammy work doesn’t feel like work. It’s very important to keep having fun because many activists they burn out after a while. You have to learn how to keep the fire, it’s a lifestyle. You can still have fun and

protest, fight for what you believe in. It does reflect my own personality, I always try to find fun and dance. I think it’s human instinct.

How you and Sammy work together?

We share a lot of similarities, so we support and understand each other really well. We talk a lot about racism and sexism. We both suffered racism when we were younger in North America. We both have Hip Hop as a way to get out of this. Through public culture, we find individual expression and be accepted. We try to make a piece about our life and what we experienced in the world. To make a funny little autobiography.

How does the urban dance scene look like in Berlin?

I like the scene in Berlin because it’s a lot of fusion battle, like outbox me and Club Oval, including partnering, contact improvisation, and insights to win the battle. This is like the urban dancing future that I was thinking of for ten years already. When I start to learn contact, I really want to explore that with street dancers, also to expand the horizon. I think maybe because of that, I feel like it’s less aggressive than other cities, it’s not just solo against solo. You kind of force to work with other people. It’s a bit similar to my dance method, putting very different things and forcing to make friends with it. You have to let go what you have been hanging on it, so you can make the new path and create something interesting.

How you describe the relationship between dance and movements?

When you see somebody just moving, then it doesn’t touch your heart, often they are also not getting touched. They just do something, and somehow it doesn’t reach you. When you just do things purely physical, it’s like movement. But when your heart is moving with it, then it’s dance. So to speak, physical plus emotional movement, it’s dance. This physical empty doesn’t affect the performer itself, it stops inspiring dancers themselves. When I was in a club in New York, a bunch of B-Boys showing tricks, it’s really just about ego and showing, and then I kind of got tired of it. Something didn’t feel right, it was not the nice energy. But in the corner, a big fat black woman, around fifty, she was really feeling it like ‘mmm oh yeah’ to the music without any technique. I felt like I could look at her enjoying herself hours. See these kids trying to show up makes me sick.

How did you start working with Lake Studios? What’s your role in it?

I came to Berlin to start, to be one of the starting members, to have a creative home close to nature. I was the clown, I was the one making people laugh, making mistake and making the move. Also thinking about the concept of having people lived there. The original concept is it’s a place to live, I think that’s what makes it different from normal dance studios, because usually, nobody lives there, strictly a place for business and some exchange. It’s not a living thing, which I think it makes people feel very welcome and open in a different way. Marcela does most of the things in terms of running it. Once it was built, I got into doing the comedy show, kid’s events and battle, guides in nature, Christmas’ event. That’s how I contribute, I am always next to her supporting her in some way. I was the first one joining the lake studios, now we start to get money from the city, and do the festival this summer. It’s flying.

To me, Lake Studios is a home, workplace, communal place. It’s a place you always meet new people, a place for international exchange, for friendship, sometimes troubles, also a place for solutions. It’s a beautiful place. For me, the living space needs to be close to nature, it’s the key element how I combine these different forms from I learn. It’s also the reason why I perform, nature is my biggest love, that’s what needed to be projected that’s what we need to take care more and to educate each other about it. So that’s my biggest motivation in performing. Lots of my projects are political or environmental related.

Which city is the most suitable place for dance and creativities?

Berlin, because there’s creative energy everywhere. You see people’s energy is like accepting weird and creative things pretty well. It’s a place for revolutions and creativities, it’s so beautiful. I have been living here for almost five years, right after working in Japan. Fukushima happened, I moved to Paris, then Amsterdam, and now Berlin. The balance between going to nature and coming to the city, I feel the energy of the city and having the options, its feed me a lot.

Best places you ever been?

I’m part of this crew called BIRDMILK COLLECTIVE. We show some crazy parties and performances around. That’s my recommendation of Berlin. Another recommendation is, the group of people called TAET VREMYA participating in Lake Studios last summer, it’s a conceptual post play dance group. A lot of things from them is must see.


With many thanks to Kazuma Glen Motomura
For more information about KazumaGlen Motomura please see the link. For more information about Lake Studios please see the official website.
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link.


Organik Festival 2016


The moon is so bright, a blurry huge shadow that people waving hands just show it on a stone wall which right across the stage. Stand barefoot on the sand, the rain sudden fall. People stand on the sandy beach beside me, with big smiles on faces start dancing hard. Some of them look up to the sky, some of them close eyes with rhythm. The weather is perfect. Warm breeze. Rain is drifting. We blossom and celebrate. At that moment, I’m not me, I’m everyone, I’m us.

We walk through the little wooden bridge, sitting beside huge campfires, you sudden been carry away by thoughts. I lie down to rest. After hours, the music starts getting hardcore, we stand up and walk back, with a bright orange fire’s shadow on the back. I still remember I open up both arms at that moment. When we almost get close to the stage, sounds like a bunch of frogs sudden stop, obviously because of the music change. We stop and look at each other, and those frogs start singing again, right on another music drop. It’s a moment, I feel the magic and power of nature.

In the last morning of celebration, after dancing days and nights, K turns to me say, ‘do you wanna lie down on the stone with me?’ I agree. That stone is with magic. It’s a big round settle stone sitting beside the road toward the main stage on the beach. My soul totally surrender to it, while my skin feels cool in the night time, warm in the daytime. K says, ‘you are my sister, even cross the ocean.’ After I don’t remember for how long, E comes to us and say, ‘my two girls,’ S also stop in front of us to catch this moment with his camera. We decided to climb all the way up, not for the sunrise, but for the glimpse of mother earth. The road is muddy and steep, but for somehow they help me get up there. We sit down and amaze by the view, so we stop, breath and dive into it. Sudden, far away from the stage, the first round of morning set from DJ, spreading the secret aboriginal chanting sound in the air, I feel liberal and bless. It’s almost overwhelming, so I gently touch the shoulder of these partners say, ’this moment means a lot.’ I meant it, till now, I could still close my eyes and feel the air, sun and rain on my skin, and under my feet, music in my ear, view in front. There’s nothing to do, but to live. Celebrate the lives.

With many thanks to Organik team and everyone who was there.

New wave of Berlin-based Frantics

Various characters but close as family, Frantics is a Berlin-based dance company, found in 2015 by a group of young talents. They met each other in 2013, Berlin. Strike to be different from B-Boys scene, they decided to do something else. Due to the contacting source with the contemporary dance scene, they start to create choreography and other theatre pieces. Following by that, they got noticed by public and theatre scene, instead of staying in the underground. As well known production team in Berlin, Germany, they just published their latest piece “Last” in Sophiensaele. Catching the free time during their intense rehearsal, here’s the exclusive interview to share with you all.Start from zero, they prove to the world that anything is possible. At very first step, all of them had other works and plans to support them surviving as artists in the underground scene. But the situation has changed since 2014, just about two years ago. It was the year they created the first piece, right after that, all of them focus on teaching, workshops and winning battles in the dance field. For them, the changing point of the whole group is when one of the member Juan joined major theatre as a dancer. He shared everything he learns with Frantics. So to speak, that was the influence of making Frantics stronger, also the base of how they look like now. This year, they got invited to produce a program in Sophiensaele, major theatre in Berlin. For that, they had an audition for one more new member. Amazingly, it turned out to be a great energy flow in for the group, and their new production “Last” just published this week.

 To synchronize everyone on the same channel, they play vivid roles in the group. For example, Marco does more organizing and theatre-related preparations, Diego directs the creating process with sharp logic and gentle voices, Juan always bring massive ideas for everyone to try it out, Carlos remains the whole group in peace, and Young Won provides strong concepts of spaces and counting beats, along with solid determinations. Everyone in the group is rather a sensitive artist, but for them, to learn how to deal with people saying no is exactly how they grow together. As equal position for everyone in Frantics, all of them are both dancers and choreographers. Instead of giving anyone powers to be the boss, they prefer to decide everything within Frantics as a group. This fundamental mindset is also the reason they decide to start up a company to call the owner, but not to join a major dance company in Europe. No one tries to play all the roles in the group. Based on mutual respect, they are coworkers and friends at the same time, to truly understand and listen to each other’s needs.

While we talk about the situation of co-creating for this piece or in general, they said the most common ways for them to build up an idea, is to find the start point resonated with what emotions they try to communicate with others. Later on, to create visuals, spaces and choreography by creating and looking at images at certain spaces. Of course, everyone has their own ideas about what they want to say, but to find the balance between different bodies with different qualities becomes the crucial point for them to work as a group. In this process, more or less there would be some fights, but they always try to sit back and talk about why they want to present this particular choreography with everyone. So to speak, the creating process allows everyone to use their own creativities, also to continue their own body movements research. Even everyone comes from the similar background, but to really look at it, every human has their way of living. Most of the time, they agree and disagree with each other at the same time, and this mutual understanding is exactly what makes them outstanding as a group.

This year, they are invited to participate in Fuse the world 2017 happening in Taiwan. If they figure out the time for teaching and making choreography, they might also apply for residency of Soulangh Artist Village. Hope to communicate their voice with unique European flavours, could be brought completely to the audience in Taiwan.

What’s the concept of this collective piece “Last” published this January?

In the whole picture, we hope to present how the mind tricks the realities and time in certain situations.This idea came from our daily training and the concept of time. Step by step, we decide the further direction with more specific research, especially regarding this topic so open and including millions of possibilities, we called it time. For us, we try to capture the different perceptions that human brains interact at certain situations. To make it more clear, just imagine the car accident. While human bodies receiving a traumatic injury, it extends the time longer than it actually is. Which means, you might feel like it’s half-hour accident, but it’s just within few seconds. In order to process this concept, we present people’s body languages in daily life, also to show the perceptions under circumstances. In addition, we blend in the relationships between us in a playful way for our audiences in the theatre. In the end, add up repertoires for replaying the human brain’s reactions toward new and habits, regarding the time differences.

Which city is the most suitable place for dance and creativities?

Diego: For me, the crucial point to decide is the characters of a city.
Marco: Places near sea and sunshine, maybe south of Spain. The best solution for me is to live in other cities in summer, and back to Berlin in the end of winter. As a city, Berlin brings us so many inspirations. Here is the place we start to know more people in the very beginning.
Carlos: Dance scene in Berlin is massive, but maybe not so much in breakdance and Hip Hop. Since they seem like against each other sometimes, although this situation is changing now. As a dancer, we still need to struggle a bit or making the ideas come out. But yes, Berlin is really nice, especially how supportive people are in conceptual creations. And now we are facing the new wave of dancing.
Juan: It feels good to create in Berlin like we mostly inspiring by surrounding people’s moving ways, music and architectures. There is a strong relationship between how we look like and how Berlin looks like. On the other hand, to stay in Berlin for the whole year is a bit tough, so we try to find the balance between different cities. Although people in Berlin seems like much more supportive of theatre art and creativities, compared to the warm cities like south of Spain or Italy.
Young Won: Berlin is nice, although any capitals in Europe countries might also work, it’s much more expensive to live in Paris and London. I was studying dance in a small town in Austria for five years. They support creativities with lots of sources, but in the end, no one comes to the theatre to see the performance. It made me miss the young spirits.

Dancer’s biggest inspiration is themselves. To embrace the imperfections of their body, so you can become perfect, by accepting the nature of human bodies.

How you describe the relationship between music and movements in your piece?

First of all, we enjoy dancing on the beats in some situations. But we found it more interesting when you have another layer of movements. In practices, we often use music with rich atmospheres, then we give it the beats from our own definitions. In this way, the dance seems more playful with vivid colours. For example, we play music and see how we feel about it by natural body movements, afterwards, we identify it with certain movement’s settings. So for us, the beginning of music research and choreography is separated, if we don’t feel good with the music, it would be strange to actually use it.

Best events/parties/festival you ever been?

Atonal, It was the very first time all of us went something together. Also the Mira Festival in Barcelona, it just happened two months ago when we first met Young Won. Altogether, we participated residency in Barcelona, and at the last weekend, we experienced all kinds of art like lightings, designs and installations in a party. It was inspiring to us. Besides, we all like Tim Hecker and saw the lives there.

With many thanks to Frantics and all members of Frantics
Photos & videos credit/ Alvaro S.Rodriguez, Derek Pedros, Projeto SOLO
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link

Unknown journey of Daniel Rojas in celebrating the life

Arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, in the kitchen with the working heater and hot tea on hands, we breathe in fresh air and share about the core of dance, live, social changing and beautiful memories on the road here. Aim to contribute ourselves to something bigger, soon I realize how kind, talented and heart-warming my new friends are. They are not just dancers, facilitators or teachers, they are real human beings. Thanks to the conversations in lovely kitchen, one of my new friend named Daniel(aka Sonic) and I, surprisingly discovered our connection with RedBull and B-Boying scene. By chance, we decided to put this article together, for sharing this wonderful journey in dance. Most importantly, continue to offer love and energy to the world.

Daniel Rojas as known as B-Boy Sonic, originally from Colombia and moved to Denmark when age sixteen. Found himself in Singapore for the new wave of life, he has continually contributed himself to dance, movements, performing art and entertainments for over twenty years. Focus on spreading healing love, inspirations and energy around the world, he is also the founder of legendary crew Natural Effects and Embodied Dance combining his own concept of movements and dance. Just like he said, his feeling toward dance is only growing stronger than ever.

I’m a traveler, a father, a lover, a teacher and a student. I’m no one, and at the same time, I’m everything!!!! I’m simply grateful,

As far as Daniel could remember, he always loves to dance. It was 1996 when he first met breakdance, right after moved to Denmark. Since then, he has been devoted himself to this wonderful dance with his heart and soul. And the ride is still unfolding itself by creating endless movements every second. Wondering how Daniel transforms between different styles and dance forms that seem more spiritual, he said to us, ‘In my understandings, everybody has a spirit, it makes us all spiritual beings. Every time I freeze, I simply try listening to my body more. In that silence, I found the real music. The music of my heart playing by my spirit.’ That melodies guide him through every step and move, direct him to use dance to a full potential. Not longer, Daniel bumped into Meditation and Yoga, along with many other amazing art forms of movements. Following by that, slowly Embodied Dance was born, a creation from his personal journey as a dancer, a mover. Breakdance was just one of the key to open the door of this endless journey. For now, he’s blessed to share the dance in different communities through facilitating Embodied Dance around the world, also support the art of movements to grow. Furthermore, Daniel and his beloved created a dance journey called Shiva Devi Dance Journey, a form of ecstatic dance where he plays instruments along to a playlist he mixes, to bring people into a two hours dance meditation journey. He also teaches in conscience physical conditioning training, yoga and active meditations sometimes.


Curious about his story, we softly share some conversations in the kitchen under the candles lights. As he said, those memories are more like magical and unforgettable moments for him. Those unknown spots on this earth where he has been experienced many times because of dance. Like dog sledge in the mountains of Greenland, or meditating in Crystal Caves in Malaysia, through his sharing, those stories became part of my memories in life journey. In the end, he said, ‘what makes this journey unforgettable is to have the opportunities to be able to share endless inspirations, regardless wherever I go and whoever I meet. We all meet humbly through movements and dance. I consider myself very blessed.’

How do you describe the relationship between music and movements in your choreography?

Simplicity, unmasked, honest, freedom, creative, celebration, live, love and dance.

Resonated with modern society, political and human races dilemma, what’s your perspectives concerning to take responsibilities as an artist on this planet?

For me, art isn’t particularly one thing. If I do describe it as a thing, it is the only thing we can come to touch and have, but just for a moment. In my opinion, everybody is an artist, an artist of life. So in this life, we are experiencing, we have to be open to keep learning, in order to share some more. By doing so, we can educate each other’s hearts, and help each other to see the realities more clear, which is what this beautiful planet is going through. Our responsibility is to evolve consciously.

To leave peacefully and joyfully with yourself. Acceptance and learn to let it go, until you find yourself in pure, unmasked and endless LOVE, for yourself and the rest of the world.

What music you are listening recently?

Music that fills me with inspirations for more creations, like having a story or a message behind. Music full of magical endless rhythms that it can bring me in and out through wonderful journeys, and leaves my heart with a big smile.

Best events/parties/festival you ever been?

 Oh so many. In Hip Hop culture, I would say Battle Of the Year, IBE, UK B-Boy Championships, Euro Battle, Red Bull BC One and Floor Wars, etc…In the spiritual community, would be Bali Spirit Festival, Sound & Silence Festival in Greece and soon some more to add to list.

With many thanks to Daniel Rojas
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link.

The born of Berlin Diggs Deeper

Sometimes, a scene or short clip would communicate more than words, but when we speak about dance and performing art, the energy of self-witnessing is incomparable with anything else. I participated in a dance event as a dancer while doing my very first solo performance. It is a new form of dance event born in LA, nurturing freestylers to fully express themselves, share their passion, love, inspirations and personal stories with the audience. Nobody watched the performance through their phone screens, thanks to the principle of no video recording enforced by the organizer.Just like the underground music scene in Berlin, by giving you two stickers to cover the cameras before entering, what’s happening inside stays inside, no video and photo. And it’s your free will to follow the rules or not. I see this as mutual respect and understanding, whatever you see, it’s for that moment, the privilege of people on scene to experience. In other words, it can only be tasted.

While celebrating this incredible event arriving in Berlin, we share a little conversation about Diggs Deeper with house dancer/event organizer Madeleine Schulze, a 24 years old German who used to live in France, U.K. and U.S for the past 6 years. Diggs Deeper, been held in Phoenix, San Diego, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and so on, now coming to its first international location Berlin, by fusing juicy organic vibes within the city and its dancers, expand to its maximum.

Encountered with Diggs Deeper while she lived in San Francisco Bay Area, it was November 2015 when Madeleine attended it for the first time. It blew her mind. As she mentioned, she used to be surrounded by a highly competitive environment from the European perspective, and Diggs Deeper offered her a completely new way of celebrating art. Deeply inspired by that, she decided to get down to the floor at the upcoming one in February 2016. Following up, she determined to share this wonderful experience with the community in Europe.

Madeleine described the Bay Area as a big pool of artists of all kinds, the performing arts community is different from what she’d seen until that point. The dancers are extremely creative, offering everyone who shares their passion a family vibe and community to exchange with. In the meantime, providing all sorts of supports with dance styles and personal projects from individuals. So to speak, what impressed her the most is the spirituality and love those dancers shared.

Everyone is the crucial parts of Diggs Deeper, no matter we are talking about performers, audiences or music. This is the momentum between creations and sensations, what’s inside can only be tasted.

As the organizer of Berlin Diggs Deeper, she shared her insights into what this event is all about. Which is, same as their statement of mission, creating a safe space for artists to be fully self-expressed, surface awareness and acknowledge to culture, and to bring individuals into leadership, regardless what location the venue is. They were able to communicate this spirit and realize it at the very first Berlin Diggs Deeper event.

Founded in July 2013 by Jojo Diggs who was born in Germany, Diggs Deeper presents the awareness and acknowledgement of culture evolving from dancers and allows to capture the intimate and authentically raw momentum in creating processes, exist powerfully beyond the dance event. It successfully fuses multiple cultures in an organic way, leaves people feeling reminded and healed. As a ground for artists to feel completely safe to create, no video recording allowed. By doing so, those memories become unspokenly precious, a certain kind of touch that no media is able to recap, or copied a thousand times for people to review afterwards.

How was the process of making this event happen in Berlin? Any stories behind you want to share?

The process was indeed a lot of enjoyable work. Creating awareness about a new format, with a completely different mission from what dancers in Berlin are used to, represented the biggest challenge. I spoke to at least 75% of the performers either on the phone or via chat to explain what the event is about and make them understand why Diggs Deeper is different than other events and competitions they’ve participated in in the past. That was very time-consuming. I did my best to explain the concept in our Facebook event and still, questions like “Who will be judging?” And “How do the preselections work?” were asked on a regular basis.

Which city is the most suitable place for dance and creativities?

That is a broad question. I think every city has its unique things to offer when it comes to art and dance. I personally had the best experience in the Bay Area, just because of the mindset of the people, but I find inspiration and artistic power in every place.

How would you describe the relationship between music and movements?

 First of all, I think that movement and music come from the same source, heart and soul. There wouldn’t be music if there were no feelings and there wouldn’t be dance either. Movement and music are ultimately connected to each other, music is moving and movement can look like music. One inspires the other.

Best places you ever been?

I am not a big festival person. I’ve been to quite a few good parties all over the world but I certainly can’t remember all of them. Regarding dance events, in particular, I would say Diggs Deeper, House Dance Forever, Juste Debout, Paris-Berlin Dance Festival, Cercle Underground, Footwork Frenzy, Funkin’ Stylez, and many more.

With many thanks to Madeleine Schulze & Berlin Diggs Deeper
For more information please see the official website and Facebook fan page.
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link.

Spanish dream, Deltebre Dansa!

It is said that if you can dream it, you can make it. And this is how the Festival Deltebre Dansa began: with a dream. Since he started his studies and the artistic career as a professional dancer and choreographer, travelling has always seemed the only way out. But, ‘why should this be always like this? Perhaps I could reverse the situation and make people come to my land,’ he thought. Here they are, with a great event in our hands. It has been 13 consecutive years of hard work.

What about the most challenging situation at the outset of the process?

 It was the venues. In any case, the challenge has ended up becoming one of the main attractions of the Festival. In every edition, the Festival carries with it an ephemeral city. An entire city of Performing Arts is created out of the blue in Deltebre, which is an idyllic setting at the heart of the Ebre Delta. And after 15 days of pure intensity as a capital of Culture, everything disappears again.

Local people understand Performing Arts as an important tool that help people think and express. We have created a questioning audience.

Any impressive people or stories you have encountered inside and outside of dance field, that you would like to share?

Overall these years we have come across many impressive and beautiful stories both inside and outside the dance field. As an example, in 2016’s edition, one of the women’s associations of Deltebre gifted us with an artistic action. They had been knitting for months lots of metres of colourful fabrics in order to decorate the trees of the Festival’s Performance & leisure spaces.

What do you believe, regarding the mission of Deltebre Dansa or performing arts?

Dance is motion and motion is life. Dance is the most flexible way of communication we can articulate, a dialogue without words that is able to express it all. The great advantage of Performing Arts is its capacity to connect several fields in order to create new languages. And in this sense, the Festival Deltebre Dansa is working very hard to create a space where different disciplines of movement can be intertwined and create new forms. It is time to switch our attention from the pure disciplines to the mixed fields.

How did you get into dance?

As simple as seeing breakdance competitions on 70’s TV programs. But also getting mesmerized by movies like DIRTY DANCING or 80’s video clips of MICHAEL JACKSON and MADONNA. I only could think that those are REAL people… and I was wondering why not to try to be one of those who makes their passion and profession a way of living. Since I am a hard worker person … and a little bit stubborn… I made it happen after some years!

Who or what inspires you?

Even if it sounds strange what I am going to say that is the truth: when I was a kid I lived a lot in the mountains, very close and merged to nature. Seeing certain natural beauty acting (rainbows, trees moved by strong wind, insects and animals doing their thing, rain and colours of the sky) gave me further more than inspiration, it gave me admiration for the beautiful things of life and seeing the world as a full option of possibilities. I feel merged with nature, and my inner nature is movement. I feel calm when I dance, I feel my mission in this world is taking place when expressing my feelings and emotions in this particular way.

Festival Deltebre Dansa 2017, #nativenomad | Summary video about 13th edition from Vèrtex Comunicació on Vimeo.

What’s your vision for performing arts for next five years? What would be the next coming innovation in your perspective?

We are living nowadays a very strange moment. At all levels. I think something strong has to come from this general chaos. I am not sure what will it be the innovation in the future, but I know it doesn’t bring us anywhere positive to keep on feeding that selfish attitude accompanied of ignorance and little interest for other existing things. We should think differently if we want to adapt to the new changing conditions and to rebuild empathy and respect. Therefore works with lots of honesty, simplicity and sincerity has a lot to bring to the upcoming spiritual needs.

Any words you would like to share with our audience?

Of course. I would like to remind people that dreams can come true, but not magically. It is all a matter of hard work, persistence and thrill. As an example, the Festival Deltebre Dansa is a project that reminds us that we must bet on that in what we believe because this is how we managed to transform a small dance workshop into an international festival of Performing Arts.

With many thanks to Frantics, Festival Deltebre Dansa & Roberto Olivan
For more information about Festival Deltebre Dansa please see the official website.
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link.


Ephemera Dance Company Presents ‘Kairos’

I have met a lot of incredible human beings in Berlin, and Katrina Elizabeth is one of those who influences my understandings of choreography and dance. Trained as a contemporary dancer at the San Francisco Conservatory and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, she is a mover first and foremost. She believes the body, this fleshy thing which we are stuck with is our most intelligent guide and friend throughout this life. Through poetry, movement and music she aims to trigger dormant cracks and corners of her body into memory, into movement. She calls this, embodied memory.’ Most of these memories are complex, grey areas-the grotesque. This year, she starts the experiment into working with others in this grey area, by creating the dance company Ephemera Dance Company. As artistic director, she collaborates with an amazing team of women to trigger their memories of the border, the places in between.

I believe the body, this fleshy thing which we are stuck with is our most intelligent guide and friend throughout this life. Through poetry, movement and music I aim to trigger dormant cracks and corners of my body into memory, into movement.ーKatrina Elizabeth

Elizabeth was motivated to found her company by a lack of compassion and rhetorical shortcomings she witnessed in her life as a professional dancer. As a dancer she often found herself being objectified by the choreographers I worked with. Most of this objectification was unconscious on the part of the men and women she worked with. Objectification it was, nonetheless. EDC is her venture into treating the body and memory with utmost care, a research into vocabulary, into the body, into the triggers which a life in a dance setting can hold. To value the collaborators as people first, and movers/musicians/filmmakers second.

Why did you choose to create a females only environment for your company?

EDC is a women’s company because we work with embodied memories. Often these are quite ugly places to go into. First and foremost, I decided to work only with women in order to create a safer atmosphere. Secondly, I think in dance (as with most fields) women are treated differently than men- in terms of everything from movement vocabulary to salary. I wanted to make a women’s company in order to create an opportunity for women in the arts. Finally, I am a fan of the female figure (female-identifying, by which I do not mean genetically female necessarily but anyone who identifies as a woman) I believe identifying as female changes the way we move through the world. I am a big fan of this movement, I call it, the fembody expression.

What is it mean to you for being a female in your professions?

I’m going to be unpopular for this answer…I think it’s tougher for us ladies. There are so many more women in dance that it is inevitably more competitive for us to get jobs. Furthermore, as a choreographer, I have repeatedly seen male choreographers move ahead of myself. Sure, they are brilliant, but often I think, as in most professions, there is a subconscious bias that moves people away from seeing and appreciating a woman in a high-level position.

Kairos Trailer from Ephemera Dance Company on Vimeo.

Ephemera Dance Company is my act of resistance. It is me telling the dance world that it IS in fact possible to create a safe, successful, and professional environment within a dance context.ーKatrina Elizabeth

What’s the concept behind your latest production?

The Greek word “Kairos” means the ‘opportune time.’ It is an alternative to chronological time, instead, it is the amalgamation of meaningful moments. “Kairos” is a collage of memories. Six dancers, six poems, six stories. Each dancer moves through her own score, sometimes encountering others on the way, in trios, duets and group choreographies. With “Kairos” I worked with the brilliant electronic musician E.L.L.I (Katja Kettler) who created an original score for the show. This score integrates elements of text recited by the dancer. In “Kairos” we investigate the borders between movement and text, memory and body. It is playful, heartbreaking and poignant to look into the embodied memories of these brave women.

How does the creating process go with your team?

We work with a combination of structured improvisations and choreography. We always begin with the text. Each dancer is given a series of questions from me. I then abstract their answers and create poems from them. These poems then become the scores for a structured improvisation. As such, the movement becomes the living explication of the poem. I also collaborate with Kamilla Gylfadóttir on film and through her lens catch a glimpse of where the moment needs to go. With that glimpse, I then fill in the rest of the piece with my own choreography.

Anything you would like to share with youth interested in creativities?

Whatever the creative medium you have chosen to work with, wake up every day and tell yourself: “Today I will define dance/art/music/film/etc. anew.” Do not let the medium you are working in define you. It must be treated as a living being, ever changing, ever ephemeral, ever just beyond your grasp. As artists, it is our duty to try to capture glimpses of the definition of our field. Each day we must wake up and be open to seeing dance (in my case) as a completely new and ever-changing phenomenon.

With many thanks to Ephemera Dance Company & Katrina Elizabeth
For more information about Ephemera Dance Company please see their viemo and Facebook.
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link.