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International Dance Festival Foshan

International Dance Festival Foshan 5351 3251 Meraki Dance Collective

Previously Rebecca contacted us to judge at the youth art festival. Due to the positive feedback from our dance performance at the opening of the festival, she contacted us to help her with her next project. This time round she wanted to organize a few dance workshops and performances throughout Foshan. We, of course, were really excited to participate and help in any way we could. The project was not aimed at professional dance performers but more directed at amateur dance teachers (active in Foshan) who could experience new styles of movement and were able to perform them. MDC was responsible for organizing the dance teachers and the artistic content. Our aim was to have three different teachers (two foreign and one Chinese) teach in different contemporary movement styles.

Liam O’Callaghan (Amsterdam, NL), organizer, director, and head teacher. Shifei Chen (Zhuhai, CH), our good friend (who we worked together with at the Sino-Dutch dance festival) as teacher, performer and supported in translating (most students did not speak English very well) and last but not least Roos De Groot (Rotterdam, NL), an intern from the Codarts University of Rotterdam teaching dance in Guangzhou. All three only had one workshop of 2.5 hours each to teach, experiment and create material for the performance. Most of the participants did not have a high level of technical skills so our workshops were quite challenging for them.

It was such an inspiration to see them so motivated to learn new things. The following afternoon we molded all the material into a small performance of 40 minutes, which they performed for the first time that evening. Rehearsing, choreographing, light/stage designing and performing all in one day! That’s intense and quite demanding for professionals let alone doing this with amateurs who have never set foot on a stage before. We took the challenge head-on and found a way to make it work.

To support and guide the participants on stage all the teachers joined the performance. Working hard in the studio is not the only thing that is important. Standing on a stage with an audience gives you a totally different feeling. Through our guidance, we were able to give them a base from which to work with. Everyone gave it their all and truly enjoyed every moment on stage with us. All levels mixed up together to create a totally new experience. We were more than happy with the result and look forward to our future projects with Rebecca and her company.

MDC collaborates with SUNNY Photography for clothing brand Mosaic ©

MDC collaborates with SUNNY Photography for clothing brand Mosaic © 4700 3133 Meraki Dance Collective

Sunny, one of our good friends here in Nanning is an extremely talented photographer and has loads of experience with dancing himself and also dance photography. He has a unique photography style which blends well with vintage and a subtle modern look. He has a great eye for detail and movement within a photo.

It was a privilege to work with him and his team to make this photoshoot happen. It was such a relaxed, comfortable and inspiring environment to work in. Besides the shots we took for his clothing brand Mosaic, Sunny also took some personal pictures of us for which we are extremely grateful. You will see a lot of his work here on the website! 辛苦了!

Liam & Loura teaching in their ‘hometown’ Nanning at the European Trio Dance Festival!

Liam & Loura teaching in their ‘hometown’ Nanning at the European Trio Dance Festival! 6349 4233 Meraki Dance Collective

Somewhere around July 2017, we met Louis, the head of the Modern Dance Department at Guangxi Arts University and founder of his own dance studio ‘Good Dance Studio’ in Nanning. Besides teaching, he’s an incredible dancer and choreographer, and such an open-minded and driven spirit. He is well known for his passion to create as many opportunities for his students to engage with modern dance and to learn from various artists around the world. Naturally, it was a true honor when he invited us to teach at the first European Trio Dance Festival of Nanning that was going to be held at his studio at the end of October 2017. Participants were students of the University with a major in dance and also other dance enthusiasts. It would be a 4-day intensive with everyday workshops and the last day would consist of a presentation.

The other teacher who was present was Jens Bjerregaard, a Danish choreographer with an elaborate and inspiring work experience yet a soft and friendly personality. It was a privilege to work with him and see him work with the students in a different way. The contrasting approach between us three teachers was very interesting to experience and the effect on the students even more. The presentation was a success and it’s always so rewarding to see the results in just 3 days work! We’re looking forward to working again soon with Louis and Good Dance Studio.

A special thanks to Amaznian, H.A.M. & Sunny photography for making such memorable pictures of this great project!

Intimate and warm dance intensive in Zhengzhou, Henan

Intimate and warm dance intensive in Zhengzhou, Henan 1776 1184 Meraki Dance Collective

The first week of August was one not to forget. At the Sino-Dutch opening performance in May ‘17, Loura & Liam met and performed together with Zen, a passionate and beautiful dancer and teacher. He has danced a great repertoire at the Guangdong modern dance company and now free-lances throughout the whole country.

Each year he organizes a dance intensive in his hometown, Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, a province in the east-central part of China. Following the festival in Guangzhou, Zen invited Loura to teach at his annual modern dance intensive. It consisted of daily technique workshops in the morning from several teachers and a choreography workshop in the afternoon. At the end of the week was a presentation of both the classes and the choreography. It was an extremely hot week and with all the dancing happening, it got, let’s say, really sweaty! Forget the sweat, more important, we managed to create a very safe, inspiring and creative atmosphere during the entire week.

To break the week we also had an improvisation performance on one of the evenings. A few advanced students and the teachers performed whilst the other participants were the audience. Following the performance, everybody shared their views and there was some time to ask questions. It was really special to connect with the dancers, even though it’s tough to – in normal life – communicate with each other, the magic on stage just happened. We were able to connect on an artistic level and share a story together. A memory for the heart. The few outdoor classes were fun too, giving the students an opportunity to work site-specific and transform the environment as an element within their improvisation.

Apart from the work, the people were just fantastic. Igor, the other foreign dance teacher from Russia, Aee, beautiful contemporary dancer and my translator for the week and of course Zen went from strangers to friends within the week. We laughed, we danced and we enjoyed so many delicious dishes from Henan province!

But then, they surprised me in a way beyond words.., After the presentation, a day before my birthday they threw a mini-surprise party! They sang, we danced and I cried. What a love, such beautiful people and they made me feel at home in a place where I’d never been before. What a blessing! The cake, the flowers, the joy… Like I said, a week not to forget!

Thanks, Zhanghongru, Igor, Aee, and Zen!

Judging, dancing and enjoying Foshan during the International Youth Arts Festival

Judging, dancing and enjoying Foshan during the International Youth Arts Festival 1280 852 Meraki Dance Collective

It was at our performance at the SINO-Dutch international Dance Festival where Rebecca first saw Liam & Loura on stage. From this moment forwards a fruitful working relationship has bloomed. Only a few months after meeting each other, Meraki Dance Collective had the honor of working together with Rebecca for the International Youth Arts Festival in Foshan, Guangdong. Besides judging the different art categories, ranging from musicians to dancers of various ages and levels. Meraki Dance Collective also performed at their grand opening evening.

Amongst the other judges was also (Dutch cellist) Roeland Duijne, an incredible musician, and warm-hearted human being. It’s always such a pleasure to meet inspiring people such as Rebecca and Roeland when traveling through the country sharing your art. We can’t wait to see you both again!


MDC moves to China!

MDC moves to China! 1620 1080 Meraki Dance Collective

8th of February 2016, Where it all started….. i2 international education in Nanning. This was our first experience sharing our love for dance in China. From dance classes, workshops, events, lectures and performing we had a wide range of things to keep us busy. Life is filled with all kinds of different opportunities however you will not always be able to see them let alone take action. Developing your awareness and educating oneself is key! Through education, you will be able to become more knowledgeable and able to grasp the opportunities that present itself. Not only are we teaching dance, a universal language, but also are we sharing our life experiences to broaden our student’s perspective and in turn change their reality of what is possible to achieve.

Our students were adorable say the least. Lovely, energetic and eager to learn dance, the language barrier was absolutely not an issue nor has it been with other projects we have done around the world. Emotions, rhythm, and physical movements are all universal. We love to play with all sorts of music and styles of dance and find the best suitable style for our students. Learning becomes most effective when it is enjoyed. Thus this is one of our top priorities.

When we arrived at i2 they did not have a dance department yet. We were the first ones to help them set this up. Through frustrating and joyful moments, we feel we have done our best to accomplish our goals. China is a huge country with an incredible amount of people inhabiting it. Just staying in one city was not going to work for us. We needed to meet more people, learn more about the culture and most of all spread more awareness on art & dance. After we finished our one year contract we decided to start our own dance collective. Meraki Dance Collective was born!