Movement For Humanity
Thank you for backing our project so far:
Jan en Dirrie van Straten
Stephanie Elizondo Griest
Astrid van der Velde
Roderick en Tanja van Straten
Simone van Dordrecht
Diane Elizabeth Shaw
Marcel van der Endt
June-July 2016: Ubumuntu Arts Festival, Kigali, Rwanda
In July 2016 myself and my colleague Tjarda Van Straten have been invited to choreograph a work each as part of the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Rwanda. the meaning of Ubumuntu is Humanity in Kinyarwanda and during the 15-16-17th July 2016 artists from all over the world will be performing and collaborating at the festival. An opportunity for cultural and artistic exchange between numerous artists from different backgrounds. The Performances will take place at an outdoor theatre in Kigali, at the genocide memorial.
We are looking for funding to help us support this project. We will be working with professional Rwandan dancers who need to be paid a fair wage, we need to pay for travel expenses, studio hire, costuming,... and we need your help to help us contribute to the growing Rwandan arts scene. Please visit our Kickstarter page to find out how you can help us.
Tjarda and myself have chosen the working title: 'Movement For Humanity' working in the lines of the aims of the festival. Each of us will work separately with the Rwandan dancers so we explore two ways of working with them. At the same time, we support each other by observing each other's work in progress throughout this 3 week collaboration.
Rwanda For Calais - Voices In Refuge
As part of the Movement For Humanity project, I will be creating a work with working title Voices In Refuge. This work is a reaction to the global refugee crisis. In 1994, during the genocide against Tutsis, 1000s of Rwandans managed to escape the brutalities. 22 years on and Rwanda is a thriving place for arts, culture, economy, tourism,... Many Rwandan refugees went back to their homeland, including my own family. Many of them have worked hard to rebuild their country and despite its dark history, Rwanda is onwards and upwards.
Voices In Refuge is a work about displacement. In January 2016 I went to 'The Jungle' (a refugee camp on the UK-French border in Calais) to teach a dance workshop at the Good Chance theatre. What struck me the most was the resilience of the people there and the brutality of the people outside of this bubble. 1 month later most of the camp got demolished by the French police. Many innocent people got beaten, chased away from their homes, tear gassed, ... including many unaccompanied children that have since gone missing. I remember one little boy I danced with, I cannot remember his name but I remember his eagerness to dance and enjoy himself to the music that was playing. After the camp got demolished I saw a picture of this same little boy with the mention that he was missing. Over 100 other unaccompanied children have gone missing since the 29th February destructions have started...
After the 29th February, 12 Iranian refugees decided to sew their lips together and went on hunger strike. The strike lasted nearly one month. Most stories I have read or heard are linked to the fact that the refugees feel like they do not have a voice.
The voices, the music, the laughter, the sense of community, the dance, the arts, the stories that took place at the Calais camp evaporated with the destruction that took place. In my work I am aiming to give the Calais people a voice through the Rwandan dancers. A country that has suffered so much in the past and that can relate to the pain and suffering of the refugees not only in Calais but in Europe and all over the world. My aim is to create a connection to remind ourselves we are all humans and we all share the same hopes and dreams for a safe life surrounded by the people we love.