'Try as many genres as possible'

'Try as many genres as possible'

Ima Eljas Iduozee is a Finnish dancer and choreographer with a background in breakdance. His debut work ‘This is the Title’ was selected for the ‘Aerowaves Twenty circuit’ for 2016 and this production has toured all over the globe. In 2015 he received the annual honorary prize of the Finnish Critics Association, as an acknowledgement for the best artistic breakthrough of the year. Ima’s works are characterised by a rigorous physical approach that apply the living body in motion.

Having performed his acclaimed piece for the Attakkalari Biennial 2017 recently, Ima talks to Rajitha Menon about the demand for dance in today’s world and the oft-neglected topic of injuries.

How did you get into this field?
I have always been interested in dance. At the age of 10, I was as interested in dance as any child would be. I found myself in this art form and I am still learning and experimenting.

What sets your style apart from that of others?
Style is something that is inborn; it is difficult to articulate it in words. In my style, one can see traces of my background and a lot of floor movement as I am fond of that. I try to keep my performances as organic as possible.

What is the one thing that most people ignore in dance?
It’s a very simple thing — the possibility of injuries. When I was studying dance, we had no knowledge of topics like anatomy and sematics. These make it easier to utilise the body in a more effective manner. There is more awareness about these subjects now and I wish dancers would make use of it to avoid injuring themselves.

You teach dance too. How has the demand changed over the years?
Dance has commanded huge attention over the years and this is only growing. The styles have also transformed. For example, there was no dance studio that taught street dance or pop in Finland in the 90s. But nowadays, the best institutes there are the ones that teach these forms.

And the myth of dance not being masculine is also fading away. Attitudes are changing worldwide and dance is being accepted in different social structures.

Tell us a bit about ‘This is the Title’?
It was my debut work as a choreographer and was created from the need to question established principles of dancing. It questions the relation between our individual choices, the norms set by our environment, and the boundaries that we ourselves build. It doesn’t fall under any particular genre; I don’t want my choreography to be bound by genres.

Any Indian dance form you would like to include in your productions?
I would like to explore kathak; I want to study its history and explore the possibilities. The performances that I have seen have mostly been contemporary and post-modern interpretations but I would like to see the old, authentic version.

Generally I would be interested in any dance form that is not western in nature.

What are your thoughts about India?
It has been a lovely experience so far. It is probably minus 10 degree in Finland right now so I am enjoying the weather here; it suits me perfectly. The hospitable people, the open social structure and the long history of culinarism are the other aspects that attracted me.

What would be your advice to the hopefuls in this field?
Everyone knows that persistence and hard work is needed. I would advise them to try as many different genres as possible and figure out the techniques they want to use. Those who can travel, please gather some international influences.  Others can make use of technology and social media to check out the new styles. Not everyone had these privileges while growing up so those who do, please utilise them.

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