ME(et) YOU in Malta
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.keattivita.org
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