ME(et) YOU in Malta

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

A mo­ment, cross­road – the act of com­ing to­gether. A glance, a look, a smile, a sim­ple ges­ture can make you feel like you made a con­nec­tion with an­other per­son you have never met be­fore. ME(et) YOU is the new pro­duc­tion by Mal­tese dancer and chore­og­ra­pher, Sarah Vella in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Lisa Co­lette Bysheim (Nor­way).

Sarah Vella is a Mal­tese dance artist and speech and lan­guage pathol­o­gist, cur­rently liv­ing in Ber­lin. She started danc­ing at the age of 4 with train­ing in clas­si­cal bal­let, mod­ern jazz, fla­menco and con­tem­po­rary dance. After grad­u­at­ing with a Bsc. (Hons.) in Speech Lan­guage Pathol­ogy from the Univer­sity of Malta she moved to Lon­don where she ob­tained a Di­ploma in Dance Stud­ies from ‘La­ban Con­ser­va­toire of Dance’. She stud­ied un­der the di­rec­tion of many in­flu­en­tial teach­ers and worked with some in­spir­ing chore­og­ra­phers. Sarah holds a teach­ers cer­tifi­cate in Fla­menco Dance (IdB1) and vast ex­pe­ri­ence in var­i­ous dance dis­ci­plines.

Dur­ing 2010 and 2011, Sarah per­formed with ‘Red Tape Dance Com­pany’ around Malta. In 2011, Sarah moved to Ber­lin, where she has worked on var­i­ous dance projects, in­clud­ing a film doc­u­men­tary en­ti­tled ‘Danc­ing the cri­sis’ by Caro­line Schaper and You Gy­oung. She per­formed with JSLN pro­duc­tions for 3 months and worked with chore­og­ra­pher Mat­teo Graziano in the Opera “Wil­liam Tell” and in the short movie ‘Das Tri­adis­che Schloss’. Sarah also joined and per­formed with Gauge Dance The­atre in 2013. From October to July 2014, she was also fea­tured as part of the Ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Tanz’ at the Deutsches-Hy­giene Mu­seum in Dres­den.

She started her chore­ograph­ing ca­reer in 2009 and soon moved on to chore­ograph­ing other works that were per­formed in Malta, Eng­land, Italy and Ger­many. She has won awards in Malta and Italy for her first chore­o­graphic work en­ti­tled Ave Maria. Her work Iż-Żifna talPoeta, re­volv­ing around an in­flu­en­tial Mal­tese poet of the 20th cen­tury was per­formed in Malta dur­ing Notte Bianca (2013) as a work in progress and pre­miered in Ber­lin in July 2014 (this project was funded by the Malta Arts Fund) and later per­formed dur­ing the ‘100Grad Ber­lin Fes­ti­val’ in March 2015.

Over the years, Sarah has also car­ried out com­mu­nity work fo­cus­ing on di­a­logue, dance and chore­o­graphic work­shops. She has worked with Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ters and youth groups in Malta and Ber­lin through the medium of dance, move­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. She has also worked/chore­ographed with/for Teatru Zazz Malta on a project with youths that was pre­sented as part of the ‘Mari­nando’ fes­ti­val in Italy.

In De­cem­ber 2014, Sarah was part of a month-long dance res­i­dency pro­gram (Play Prac­tice Ap­pren­tice­ship Pro­gram) in Ban­ga­lore, In­dia where her main fo­cus was to work on au­then­tic­ity on stage when cre­at­ing and im­pro­vis­ing and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the dancer/per­former and the pub­lic au­di­ence.

Since 2013, Sarah has been trav­el­ling back and forth from Ber­lin to Malta and Gozo to teach classes and give work­shops at In­cite Mo­tion School of Dance and at Liv­ing Dance. She is cur­rently study­ing ‘Dance and Move­ment Ther­apy’ and she con­tin­ues to work as a free­lance dance artist and speech ther­a­pist in Ber­lin.

Her new project ME(et) YOU is a cross-cul­tural ini­ti­a­tion be­tween her­self and Lisa Co­lette Bysheim (a dance artist from Nor­way). It is in­spired by the no­tion of meet­ing – the act of com­ing to­gether.

What hap­pens in the mo­ment of an en­counter? We meet peo­ple ev­ery­day. The world is ex­pe­ri­enced as smaller, our ev­ery­day lives and cul­tures in­ter­weave within each other. Dif­fer­ent cul­tures meet and cross paths daily and greet­ings oc­cur all the time.

ME(et) YOU aims to cre­ate a new aware­ness about the in­evitable mo­ment of in­ter­ac­tion which re­sults from such en­coun­ters. It is an in­ti­mate dance per­for­mance that ex­plores the in­di­vid­ual ex­pe­ri­ences that oc­cur dur­ing the first mo­ment of en­counter. How do we greet oth­ers? How can body lan­guage com­mu­ni­cate th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences? In what way do so­cial and ge­o­graph­i­cal norms play a part? Are we aware of this? The piece plays be­tween a phys­i­cal and sen­sory land­scape which ex­plores the many im­pres­sions that oc­cur dur­ing a first meet­ing.

Sarah and Lisa met dur­ing their stud­ies at Trin­ity La­ban and now they work to­gether on this in­ter­na­tional in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary dance per­for­mance that will ap­pear in Ber­gen, Malta and Ber­lin. As artists, they are cu­ri­ous about what it means to meet each other, how to com­mu­ni­cate without words and read­ing body lan­guage. They are in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing how move­ment is af­fected by text, lan­guage, vis­ual ef­fects and sound. For this per­for­mance, they are also col­lab­o­rat­ing with a Nor­we­gian mu­si­cian, Mads Svee, who will be play­ing live mu­sic dur­ing the per­for­mance, French fil­mo­g­ra­pher, Melissa Faivre, who was in charge of edit­ing the videos that will be pro­jected dur­ing the per­for­mance and Nor­we­gian light­ing de­signer Thomas Bru­vik. ME(et) YOU had its pre­miere in Ber­gen, Nor­way on the 14th of October 2016 and will be per­formed next in Malta, as part of the Spazju Kreat­tiv Pro­gramme on the 26th of Novem­ber at St. James Cav­a­lier. Later on, in Jan­uary 2017, this per­for­mance will also be shown in Ber­lin.

As part of the per­for­mance, Sarah and Lisa will also be teach­ing an open class as part of the Evening Space and carry out work­shops with stu­dents from the dance stud­ies de­part­ment, ŻfinMalta ap­pren­tices and other Mal­tese dancers who train danc­ing at an ad­vanced level. The stu­dents of the work­shops will show­case their work dur­ing a per­for­mance on the morn­ing of Satur­day 26th Novem­ber for the pub­lic in Val­letta.

Tick­ets for ME(et) YOU held at St. James Cav­a­lier as part of Spazju Kreat­tiv on the 26th of Novem­ber 2016 at 8pm can be now booked on­line at www.keat­

ME(et) YOU is funded and sup­ported by: The City of Ber­gen, The Malta Arts Coun­cil Cul­tural Ex­port Fund and Ber­gen Dans­esen­ter-re­gional com­pe­tence cen­tre for dance.

Lisa Co­lette Bysheim and Sarah Vella

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