sylvan – In conversation with my past self

This past Saturday, I had the wonderful privilege of performing my solo sylvan on the occasion of Dag van de Dans. This solo was something I had started the process of creating back in 2021, when approached to create something in the context of another dance festival here in Brussels. I took on the challenge back then with gratitude, but hesitation as well. I would say that that previous occasion afforded me the opportunity to flesh out quickly, and on a surface level, some ideas and slight inklings into what I wanted to present, and more importantly, express through this work. At this point, I feel the need to add that I've never been terribly drawn to the act of 'choreographing' or such a title as 'choreographer' or even 'maker', and the few times I've created dance work of my own (as opposed to being a part of someone else's), it's always been the result of a very personal journey inwards, almost as a thought exercise, a diary-keeping act, and therefore a way of checking in to see who I am at that very moment in time when the work was made. This is very much the case in this instance with sylvan especially since there was a period of about 2 years in between when I had not really touched the piece in any physical way – I'm sure it was still living in me in some ways and the questions I had introduced my then self were still floating somewhere within my being. And so, I call the rebirth of my creative process with this piece as a kind of conversing I did, on a daily basis, intimately with myself, over the course of a month, leading up to Dag van de Dans. Taking a look at myself in the mirror by way of video captations of the 2021 performance, I opened the door for a non-verbal and non-judgmental kind of communication to occur, really trying to leave space for the intelligence of the body to decide; I wanted to believe that all the things I've lived through, all the things I've seen, reflected upon, danced, touched etc. in the past 2 years (and more) would find their ways of coming to the surface if the context and time called for them, and that most importantly, I need not enter in too much with my rational, verbal-language speaking mind. For me, this was a new way of approaching working on this solo, but it proved to be extremely freeing and revealing to me, revealing of how powerful of a voice one's intuition can have. Thus, this solo was created, with my simply deciding to show up for myself everyday, without fail, not for longer than felt necesary, and leaving myself open to possibilities. My past self spoke to me as much as my present self intervened in order to, together, work towards creating the future self who would perform this very personal solo on the 27th of April 2024, for this Day of Dance.

I thank from the bottom of my heart, my artistic collaborators, Eric Bribosia (music) and Aliocha Van der Avoort (regard exterieur and all-round emotional and artistic support), for even more than what they brought to the project artistically. I thank you for you love, encouragement, trust and support. I feel immensely blessed to have such people by my side.