'I have a down-to-earth approach to movement'

'I have a down-to-earth approach to movement'

Minimising in order to maximise is what drives Arno Schuitemaker, choreographer and dancer from The Netherlands. The artiste, who was in the city for the ‘Attakkalari India Biennial 2017’, expressed a physical and sensorial approach to existential subjects using the body, movement, music, light and space through ‘While We Strive’ which was presented here. In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, he sheds light on his journey in the world of dance and his works.

What got you interested in dance?

(Thinks) It’s a long and interesting story. I started really late. I discovered my love for dance by coincidence during my engineering studies. I never thought I would be a professional dancer. After I joined dance classes, someone suggested that I should probably take it up more seriously. I wasn’t sure, but I took up an audition for professional training in dance. I graduated and got interested not only in dancing but also in doing choreography. The whole process proved that if one wants to do something, they can do it.

You have taken your dance to various places. How has the experience been?
Apart from The Netherlands, I have taken my dance to Belgium, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Canada, China and Hong Kong. This is my first time in India though.

Of the places I have performed at, I have always loved performing in France because the relationship the people there have with their culture is very strong and rooted. Performances which are seen by adults in The Netherlands are watched by families together in France. They follow their mature contemporary dance closely.

What brought you here?
For me, it’s always the pleasure of sharing my work with different types of audience that takes me to different places. In the works I make, the presence of the audience is very important. Every audience is different and every culture has a different way of looking at a performance. The performance gets influenced by the different audiences. I wanted to know how the work would fare here.

‘While We Strive’ stands out for its technicality...
The technical details of the work are different. I haven’t used as much technology in my works before like in this one. We used sound technology through various speakers that have a bluetooth connection, which were meant to create a different experience of sound and movement together. In this work, repetition of a movement that forms into another movement was looked into. I choreographed with slow movements which sometimes cannot even be seen and then the energy goes up and up, till one in the audience feels the movement themselves.

The different components you look into when you choreograph a work...
I always like to put unique and different individuals together on one stage. The other thing I look into is that they have a beautiful chemistry together. For me, each performance shapes a unique relationship between the performers and the audience.

I like it when the performance is not only something one looks at but also makes one feel part of it. I have heard people say that they have felt their body temperature go up at a show.

How important is the role of energy in your works?
I like a lot of energy. I am a very energetic person and I’m not very patient. (Laughs) This can be seen in all my works.

Define your own style...
I have a down-to-earth approach to movements yet, at the same time, they can be hallucinatory and trance. These opposite factors together create my unique choreographic style.

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