For me, the London calling was more than dance. I felt Visiting Arts Residence came to me like a real London calling, a special way to tell me: “come on, you have space here to learn, share and enrich your dance and life world”. The experience was a very big collection about universal history, people from everywhere with every language and ways of thinking, enjoy every kind of art, lost myself in the city to discover the small things which make a big city, and –of course-, the new relation with my body discovered through London’s way of contemporary dance. Well, I think it is possible summarise all of the experiences by saying that: I feel a new door opened for my life.
Is not a cliché, believe me. In fact, since when I was a child I felt a big curiosity about London in particular and United Kingdom in general about, thanks to The Beatles and Charles Dickens mainly. Dance way of life came with time and time showed me United Kingdom like one of the main sources about contemporary dance.
Cultural thing come now, because I am from the third world, that means it is not easy to have an opportunity to be in one of the most important countries in the world just learning and enjoying new knowledge, without preoccupations like money, passport, job, house to sleep… well, all the life things difficult to get without a scholarship and difficult to get in my own society to. A small parenthesis here: contemporary dance in Colombia is not considered a respectful profession yet. We just began to build our dance movement with two young and new professional degrees in our country and a lot of people who choose dance as a life project; it means trying to survive with dance in a virgin land about it. So we get a very special source to create (our culture is rich in music and traditional dances) but it is difficult to make a living working as a dancer and/or choreographer.
So, London has everything, this is the first thing that you get into your mind. Yes, but not only about dance. The multicultural character is one of the most enchanting and surprising things which make the city a place where you can feel no stranger. And I felt everything I wanted to say would people have wanted to listen to it.
And, at the same time, I felt totally open to listen all about new faces, new skin colors, new languages, new voices, new accents, new bodies, new movements wanted to tell me. Listen and say, fundamental verbs to make a dialogue. All senses opened.
For me, the Artistic Residence provided me a lot of opportunities to make a real and intercultural dialogue in a lot of levels. For example, I had opportunities to know people from everywhere in a common place and activities: dance training, dance workshops, dance venues, dance performances, a simple level to dialogue and know different ways to make, receive and think about dance. Places to know how dancers like me live, think, dream and work.
And the special occasions to appreciate big dance companies (the famous dancers and choreographers that every dancer needs and wants to watch, but difficult to know in Colombia), like Siobhan Davies Dance Company, Rosas, Ariadonne, the Forsythe Company, among others. It meant looking up through an essential window.
Another level can be the simple life, the domestic stuff which makes you feel the real life, common to everybody. And let you know people who lives near you and has different ways to think, live and look at the world. This kind of dialogue level shows you common things that make us human people living in the same world. A universal citizen is a good name for me.
I can tell about other level to dialogue: to share. Two things make possible that:
First, share with dance people my artistic searching, in this case about beauty queens. Seven dance students from Independent Dance helped me in rehearsals and gave a precious material to use in the future. And second: The opportunity to show a piece of my work, my creation, my art, is a possibility to tell people who you are and why you are here (well, there in London). I this specific level, I search my way to show my art thanks to Open Space, a event for young choreographers and works in progress, that gave me the chance to present a small dance solo called “The Woman Inside” (La de Adentro in Spanish language). Fear, nerves and satisfaction is the real mix that I felt inside me, but it was my way to tell: here I am, sharing with everybody, show you my reality touched with London life. A universal citizen living a universal city.
Maria Claudia Mejía Alvarez
„My Own London Calling“
„Simple things make the difference“
Copyright: Maria Claudia Mejia Alvarez
More information about the participant on culturebase.net
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