Interview with Anna Székely (C2)
By Kavya Iyer (C6)
& edited by María Peredo Guzmán (C4)
The idea is to interview one unknown person from a Cohort other than yours. Thus you get to know each other while practising the beautiful craft of interviewing. Do you want to be part? Just contact us by e-mail
Kavya: It has been a while since I did an interview. It felt so good - getting to know you and getting close to someone I have only just met!
Anna is from Hungary, graduated from Choreomundus in 2015, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Szeged. She recently received a scholarship grant to go to New York to study Hungarian diaspora folk dances in the USA [which has been postponed due to the pandemic].
K: What are you doing currently? Are you working or doing research or dancing?
A: I’m doing everything! (laughs) Currently I am in London, but during lockdown in 2020 I was at my parents’ house in my hometown in Hungary. I had to move back there from Szeged because of the COVID situation. I recently finished the second year of my four-year PhD studies. At the beginning of summer this year, I accomplished my comprehensive exam for the PhD and I got my required language test in Romanian for my university studies. I finished the academic year quite busy!
K: That’s great! So what is your PhD research topic?
A: The theme is the “Myth of Authenticity in the Hungarian Dance House Movement”. In the 70’s, a group of folk dancers from Budapest made a journey to Transylvania, and they saw an original - “authentic” - traditionally organized dance event called Dance House, literally held in a house or in a room. These urban dancers were fascinated with this experience, and they recreated the event in Budapest in 1972. It was a very big thing and became successful, and then spread all over the country. This movement was really about recreating tradition and promoting dance transmission at the dance houses, conducting folk song sessions and promoting social interaction. Since then, it is still going on.
Maybe all of you went at least once to a Dance House when you were in Szeged? My main focus is on this recent phenomenon - the contemporary expression of the Dance House movement. I am looking at younger generations; my aim is also to investigate the relationship between generations and how their notion of traditional culture is shaped.
What is your “before” and “after” Choreomundus story?
I received my Bachelor degree from the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology in the University of Szeged in 2011. And in 2012 I started a Masters there, after which I got accepted into Choreomundus in 2013. After finishing Choreomundus in 2015 in London, I went back to Szeged to pursue the Masters that I had started, and finished it in 2017. My PhD dissertation topic is actually inspired by one of the essays that we had to write during Choreomundus for the Anthropological Approach of Dance course. I wrote about the concept of authenticity in a male folk dance competition in Hungary.
After this, I applied for another scholarship called the Petőfi volunteer program. Petőfi Sándor is an important national poet, and this is a scholarship funded by the Hungarian government. It sends volunteers to Hungarians living territories in Transylvania, the upper part of Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine in order to help the communities there. I spent 9 months in Sighișoara, Romania, working with children, teaching dance and English. We even had a theatre group and I go to visit my friends whenever I can. I would call this, my “gap year” a necessary one after many years of studying: I needed something refreshing!
K: I’m currently applying for PhDs and I see that there are many different motivations for people to pursue a PhD. So, what motivated you to do a PhD after that?
A: I cannot imagine myself doing anything else other than research. I want to become a professor at some point, but it is not my first motivation. I want to use the advantages of being a PhD student to go far with this research, which I believe, is really important and deep. After the PhD I hope to find a good job that suits my projects and research.
Is not easy to visualize the future, I will see…!
K: How do you look at your experience during Choreomundus? Was it useful for you?
A: My situation is funny - Being in Szeged since 2009, and thanks to Professor László I went to diverse courses in Norway, so I already knew the Choreomundus teachers: Egil, Andrée, Gediminas, Georgiana. In fact, my application video to the Choreomundus programme was recorded one year before with Professor Sándor’s group at one of the intensive courses in Trondheim where I danced csárdás. I felt really happy when I got accepted. I lived in Clermont Ferrand with the group coordinated by Georgiana and it perfectly suited my interests. Georgiana was a great supervisor: in very specific moments, when I needed her, she was really helpful. The topics and lectures we had about ethnographic research methods, helped me to find my own ways of doing research. My group was adorable, we did not have issues, we partied a lot, this made our relationship stronger, and opened my view on how to look at dance and at society.
One of my fellows was another Hungarian, Kinga. She is a contemporary dancer, and I didn’t know much about contemporary dance. From an innocent perspective, one may think that contemporary has nothing to do with traditional dances. But we had the chance to work together in Clermont and we combined our two fields: this experience was amazing! It opened our views; it altered my feelings, my respect towards other dances. Up to today, I have some ideas of collaboration with Kinga.
Szeged was more home than a trip, and all my cohort went there. We were five flat mates and had lovely months together. During the last semester, in London, I worked as an au pair, a nanny for a Hungarian family. I was in love with the library in Roehampton…I liked London, it was a short time, and we were writing our dissertations. But the feeling was: “I want more…”! I want to study more. The Department is amazing there! I hope I can collaborate with them in the future but currently I'm very busy with my research projects.
It opened our views; it altered my feelings, my respect towards other dances.
K: Talking about dissertations, what was yours about?
A: In the beginning, it was about dance transmissions in folk dance and music camps in Transylvania: I visited three camps during the summer of 2014. During fieldwork, I was hesitant about my topic, something was missing…
Until, one evening, a musician from a nearby village came to play in the dance house in the camp. He was like a “special guest”. I knew him from other dance houses, and I was having a good time, when suddenly I noticed that everyone was looking at him with special attention, whispering about, inviting him for a drink (a pálinka!) or getting closer to see him. He was seen as an important representative of a folk music genre, some kind of a ‘legend’. That night I saw interaction and participation that I had not seen in the previous months. He was what we could call an ‘informant’. In the Hungarian terminology, informants are not only interviewees, but people who have first hand information; we could call them “gate keepers” or those who are an authentic source of dance and music knowledge.
So I started to look at these relationships in dance camp settings. My dissertation was thus titled ‘The Imaginary Homeland’ to convey the sense of: something is familiar, but not! Familiar to the folk dance practitioners because everybody there speaks Hungarian. But they are not aware of the traditions, even though they are attracted to them. So they go to these camps to acquire such knowledge. And, these special guests are respected and loved in the revival community, and are regarded as “gods and goddesses of traditional culture.”
K: I see. So what is your ‘dance’ story? How did you begin dancing?
A: At the end of high school I had to decide what to pursue my Bachelors in: I liked literature but not enough to analyze poems or essays. I loved history, but I wasn't great at memorizing names and dates. Somehow I thought ethnography and social anthropology could be a good combination of these. Of course later I discovered it is bigger and quite different to what I had imagined!
K: Oh wow. In India, we do not have Bachelors dedicated to study dance theoretically as in Hungary!
A: Yes, this is special about Szeged! Hungary has four departments of ethnography and social anthropology, but the one dedicated to dance is in Szeged, and it exists thanks to our Professor László - he started it. I went to a practical folk dance class with Professor Sándor: it was really new for me since I had only done folk dances at primary school. I got fascinated: during that first year it became a passion. The folk dance groups were really great; we made deep connections. Dance brought us together as good friends, and eventually we founded our own dance company. My group is called Möndörgő which means thunder.
I am not a professional folk dancer, I dance because I enjoy it. When I go to a Dance House, or in the field, of course I dance, I like it.
I don't like to do it for “self-expression” but rather to dance with others together.
K: What excites you the most about dance?
A: If I were to say ‘dance and heritage’, it is too wide. If I were to say ‘dance and tradition’, it is too narrow! So I would say I am most interested in folk dances as subcultures rather than as structures. I see culture as a living thing, and I'm passionate about how people consider dances, the link between dance and community.
(Give an eye to It is not like used to be which also gives a hint of Anna’s research interests.)
K: That is indeed fascinating! It is hard to explain to people why we do what we do. Why should we study dance? What would you say? In some way I think it is our responsibility to make dance studies more accessible to people.
A: What we are studying now, will be history some day! We can give an understanding of how a community functions. I like to discuss this with people of all kinds: people who are a part of my field, as well as people who are not in academics. It is important to listen to what they need to say about dance.
K: What message would you like to leave for the reader?
A: Once I had a discussion with Georgiana. I explained everything I wanted to research, and she said “Okay, if that is your topic, sure, you can do it! But so what?” That question has stayed with me forever. This “so what?” is the challenge. It is the base of my discipline. Everytime I write something, I try to answer that question.
Interviewing alumna Kavya Iyer Ramalingam
by María Peredo Guzmán
The idea is to interview one unknown person from a cohort other than yours. Thus you get to know each other while practicing the beautiful craft of interviewing.
Kavya began Choreomundus with a Masters in International Development at Sciences Po in Paris, and 20 years of practice in Bharatanatyam. She belongs to cohort #6, which graduated in 2019. Kavya is the kind of person who gives her 100% when she engages in something. The interview went from very general questions, to some personal ones, some recent moments and others from the past. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did meeting this wonderful person.
M. What happened when you finished Choreomundus?
K. I danced a lot during the Choreomundus program, so I imagined I would work more as a performer/dancer. But my first “job” reminded me how much I loved research too: to write, to talk, to debate and to analyze.
I met Harriet Deacon in 2018 at La Maison de la Culture de France during our Choreomundus intensive in Vitré. She told us she was preparing to work on a project in India where her focus would be on the intersections between marketing, heritage and intellectual property rights.
In 2019 we were requested to think of a professionalization project, so I wrote to her, and she said that it was perfect timing: she had begun to work with communities from West Bengal, (the State where I grew up in India) as part of the HIPAMS India project. The project aimed to help these communities to better market their heritage while also being critical and respectful of their ICH; in short, to find harmony between these aspects. I worked with Harriet in a research role among other tasks. The team was composed of experts from Italy, France, and a local Indian NGO called Banglanatak.com. We worked on one dance practice (Chhau Dance), one form of painting and one form of music.
Then I took what I call a conscious break and went back home. You know, that feeling... when you feel that it is the right thing to do? I had unfinished business: my final exam for a Masters of Fine Arts in Bharatanatyam was waiting for me since I left for Europe. I took three months to take care of my health, to be with my family and prepare for this exam, which I finished in December.
In January 2020 I came to Paris to join my partner Héctor. To be honest, it has not been easy to find a job in a place where you don’t belong. I started working with two other dancers, teaching dance, applying and searching for PhD options and then…COVID-19 happened!
Until now, I don't feel like I have taken very big steps after Choreomundus.
M. Sometimes we don't perceive quality time sharing with family or choosing a life with a partner as something big. But these times are showing us how important our beloved people are. Things turned in wonderful ways; when I began Choreomundus I thought dance anthropology was one thing, and after those 2 years, I realized many things. Did it happen to you?
K. In general I had never touched anything related to anthropology before…I learned so much in these two years! Just the fact that something so close to me such as dance, could be broken down to such an extent was quite new to me. It was shocking to see that almost everything we do in practice can also be theorized, debated and spoken about. Generally when someone speaks about theory of dance, people assume that it means history of dance, but Choreomundus showed me how relevant dance is in the current times, and so related...so interlinked with other subjects that I am very passionate about (gender, race, class issues, decolonisation). There was a big shift in perspective.
M. How do you live this Corona time? How do you analyze this situation?
K. I deal with it from all different perspectives. I feel both thankful and sometimes guilty. I am in Paris, back home the situation is terrible. Not being able to help my people back home - I feel a bit helpless. I love my country, and sometimes to be in this privileged position is hard to digest.
Personally, I feel that what we lack in life is time. This situation forces us to try a bunch of new things, and maybe we love it, maybe we hate it, but at least we try!
This situation has given me a lot of time to discover sides of me that I didn't know. Even after so many years as a dancer, I have never choreographed - in the sense of taking the time to reflect, conceptualize, embody ideas, collaborate with others. This time was good to explore; I got to work with people I would have never worked with in other circumstances! A friend from Malaysia in an online “Multi-dancing” project; a friend from Paris, where we constantly pushed each other to try dancing out of our comfort zones. And of course, my mother! She is a Bharatanatyam professional dancer and teacher. We have been practicing together on Skype since the lock down. We create, I learn things from her, we experiment - this has been such a fulfilling and beautiful experience for me.
A lot of reflective anthropology also came about after seeing online talks, online performances and debates around online performances (which we - cohort 6 - discussed quite vehemently on our WhatsApp group!). Personally, I do not think the virtual platforms are bad, but there should definitely be some reflection on the part of artists and dancers on what our purpose is, and what we need to do when the world around is in the situation it is in now. That is my new anthropological motivation. I don’t think I would choose to be a screen performer all the time. It won’t be my priority. But at the moment I do like to research what is possible, and that has been a huge learning.
M. Coming from contexts outside of Europe, perhaps something that you produce online with your friends in Paris can be read completely differently in your home country and vice versa. There is an interest in that part... It is wonderful what you said about your mum, could you tell me more?
K. This pandemic made my mum and me come together to work. All these years our relationship was like any other Indian classical dancer: your guru is unquestionable, you’re the student, you go to class and practice your items and that's all. But that equation changed a bit. We take more risks now - together!
“Amma, I´m not going to do this one, because it is the same thing about a woman crying, waiting for her lover. Let’s create something new. Let’s explore other narratives through and within the Bharatanatyam realm.”
Suddenly I saw that I have also grown as a dancer, as a thinker. This changed our relationship: there is more friction between us, in a good sense. It brings out issues that we need to talk about. I have a voice in what we do and create.
Mum is my guru, my inspiration and my mentor. She is open to it but she also resists, and we have real discussions and arguments about how to make Bharatanatyam more relevant to society!
M. I feel that in this way of working together, she created a space for you to become an adult. I think that during lockdown, people´s relationship with their practice is becoming more intimate. We have to face ourselves and make it happen, we find within ourselves the embodied knowledge, we have to dance alone. Perhaps you were able to choreograph long ago, but never dared because you had to think about many things, relate to others with respect to some hierarchies, maybe you were busy with other things, and now in quarantine, you found the space and the courage to do it. What is your relationship with Bharatanatyam at the present?
K. My relationship with Bharatanatyam has evolved a lot. I believe the community is very closed; we don’t question the history, themes and the stories of the dance form, we don’t question how it is still so classist, how only certain sections of people do it. And I think there is a fear: people who don’t understand the form very well often feel alienated. The dance form is beautiful. It is great to keep within its structural boundaries, but we should not let these become a barrier.
I think the form needs to change, not necessarily the way we dance it, but the themes we portray need to evolve. We are in the XXI century, there has to be some reflection: why and how is Bharatanatyam relevant for our society and how can it be more relevant? That will be my quest.
M. What do you feel for your cohort?
K. I love them. My first Masters in Paris in Development was stimulating with motivated people who wanted to change the world. But it also implied a competitive and egocentric environment. I did make a lot of friends, but not really deep relationships. Choreomundus was the opposite: we did have competition but with love and respect for each other. The fact that we were so small in number was a huge positive: we could know each other in a very special way.
I tend to be empathetic; I make connections everywhere I go. But Choreomundus goes a step deeper. My fellows are not just my colleagues, not just friends, it went a step beyond that. Professionally they pushed me to do things I would have never dared to do on my own. Valentina, Estefania and me went for yoga. They pushed me to try contemporary. Emmanuel was and is always ready to try new projects. Jesus and I often worked with common rhythm structures in Salsa and Bharatanatyam. My girls Katia and Pamela taught me so many important lessons on life and love. Mululu and Sam showed me what kindness and care really mean. We were always encouraging each other - in other environments this kind of growing together is kind of rare. They are my Choreomundus people.
M. In the beginning of this interview, when I asked what you did, you said “nothing big, no publications, no papers, not much” and then you shared with me stories about important personal decisions with your partner, you finished other Master, you created with your mum, you traveled, collaborated… all these wonderful things that happened only in one single year! That is why I ask: How do you understand success? What is to be successful?
Both in Academia and in dance, we were taught that when you finish something you have to go towards the next step, the higher challenge, society tamed us to always run behind something, simultaneously showing us that we will never reach that perfection... 99% of people end up feeling that they will never be successful, that they can not. I think it is very important to change that perception, I even see it as a postcolonial shift.
K. We, ambitious people, tend to connect success to achieving things like milestones: Choreomundus, check! PhD, check! Work with XYZ, check! Choosing Choreomundus was a big change; what I then considered a risky decision in my life. Definitely I think I make the same assumptions about myself: trying to achieve what society thinks is a good idea. But you’re right. How hard these last few months have been! But they have also been a time for healing and a time for nurturing so many new ideas! All of that is something to be proud of, valuable moments which may not fall under the traditional view of success. Success does not always need to be seen as achieving a goal, but in terms of how much you have grown, or how much you have evolved, what has changed in your life, how much positive change you have affected in your community; it is nice to have this change in perspective. Success is not about being worried about whether others approve if you did something well or not, but to know for sure that what you do for is important enough and making a difference.
M. Do you want to leave a last message to the readers of this wonderful chat?
K. I think what we are doing is important - a program on dance is essential. Sometimes the socio-politics in the world makes us think that dance is not important. But if we continue to work hard and believe in ourselves, we can prove that dance and movement, indeed, deserve a much larger place in the world.
See Also: kAVYA'S INSTAGRAM
by Nneamaka Augusta Igbonezim and María Peredo Guzmán
Do you still remember what you felt the very day of your graduation in Roehampton`s hall, after completing those two wonderful years, together? Or perhaps, you are going towards that glorious day…?
Although we believe that the Choreomundus experience is something that accompanies us wherever we go, we acknowledge that finishing an International Masters can be an empowering and sometimes frightening transition.
In this article, I would like to share a few of my experiences, some tips and ideas that could be helpful for you as you journey through your Choreomundus and post Choreomundus time. I don’t claim to have all the answers but you can learn a few things from this.
First, remember that you are not alone, you have a thriving alumni community that’s always available to help you. So, take advantage of this and reach out to them, ask questions seek counsel, ask for guidance. Just talk - it does help!
While in Choreomundus, remember to enjoy your time in every country you visit: It’s not just about studying, there’s an intercultural exchange part of it.
I know feedback on your coursework or your assignments can be slow. While you wait, benefit from the many resources you have available to you in the Universities’ libraries and online. You can also count on your fellow students, and spend time with them, as you will miss them later…
You also have the alumni and their diverse knowledge base. Having gone through the program already, we have been on your shoes, and we are in a good position to guide you and advise you in diverse matters, from useful literature, to the cheapest laundry in Clermont…
Choreomundus is a process for us, but each cohort is part of the process of the programme. I believe that for every cohort there’s been some improvement. So, always try to look on the brighter side of things.
Another good piece of advice for you is to find alumni whose areas of interest connect with yours, dissertation topic, fieldwork location or residence location is similar to what you’re working on. You can buddy up to more than one person. Having diverse conversations can stimulate your mind, you might be asked questions that would help you think about your dissertation differently and possibly shine more light on areas that you might have ignored. They can also recommend articles or books to read. Natasha (C1) was that buddy to me many times, via text, audio and video calls.
Squeeze the knowledge from the guest lecturers. I looked out for the ones whose research matched mine. I took their contact information and I openly communicated with them. I tried to get an opportunity to speak one-on-one with them, before they leave, about my research and I got ideas from them. I still maintain email communication with some of them. Sometimes I send them something to look at and we share thoughts.
Just before he finished his studies, in 2019, I had a long chat with Mululu (Cohort #6) about the ideas we could bring to CAA. At that moment, we dreamt about a team called “The buddy team”, a group of people who would be there to support newcomers, academically and personally. After months trying to design a plan for such team, CAA realized this: Everyone can be a buddy for the others. Some alumni are finishing their PhD, others are just starting, and some of us chose to go towards artistic creation and social work. Some of us went back home with a big bag of tools to transform our realities, while others stayed in Europe or went somewhere else. We are searching for the right way to design such a good database with connective dots, so newcomers could find affinities with older alumni for networking and expanding everyone's possibilities.
We are building a project to create a private database of Choreomundus alumni dissertation titles, abstracts, areas of interest, geolocations, and key words. That way, you can narrow down who to speak to, and you don’t have to talk to only one person.
Post-Choreomundus life could be challenging, that’s why you should save as much as you can while you still get your stipend.
Find different and creative ways of explaining the peculiarities of your research to people, because you’ll find yourself doing that a lot.
While some of us want to continue to a PhD, others go straight to get a job, but whichever the case, you have to put in energy and work to get to the next step. Personally, it took me over a year to get a job and when I finally did, it was an unpaid internship at the Smithsonian Institution, but it was a great opportunity for me and I don’t regret it at all.
Breathe, take it easy. You are not the same, you have changed during this time far from home. Embrace and observe those changes in future encounters with others, and take note of the ideas that come to your mind.
Take your time, some of us needed two years to figure it out, others one, others just a few months... even if you don't see how; things will fall into place.
Stay within the dance/art community as much as you can. Keep on dancing as you navigate your way through it all.
Best of luck!
Amaka (cohort #2) & María (cohort #4)
A collective text written by Jorge Poveda, Majo Bejarano,
Naiara Assunção and Subhashini Goda
PHOTOS, VIDEOS OF PERFORMANCES, AND VIDEO ART LINKS BELOW!
"Is this an actual Festival amidst the COVID-19 situation? Who sees the necessity to dance at this point while everyone is battling larger issues?"
The coronavirus pandemic caught Cohort 7 at the end of their Choreomundus journey into a lush southwest London setting, and within this context of social isolation and distancing naturally, came about the dancing. Or should we say, Dance?
This self-quarantine and imposed isolation moment brought lots of frustration. As a group, we are conscious that it is our last semester together, and the only semester to enjoy the amazing classes and teachers at Roehampton, to take advantage of living in a multicultural London with its access to theatres, parties, seminars, bars, conferences, libraries, workshops, lectures, performances, museums, and all the richness of a cosmopolitan cultural and social lifestyle. And so the inevitable occurred. Trips were cancelled, plans were abandoned, gatherings were prohibited. Every day brought a different message of a workshop or a conference being cancelled or postponed. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find motivation to wake up in the morning and continue the work that we should be doing (yes, essays, assignments and dissertation still to be completed).
These are tough times to handle, floating between the familiarity and strangeness; between normality and emergency; between home and work; between the real and the virtual; between the present and a slippery future that escapes from everyone's hands when we are about to hold it. Between those feelings, there is a strong, pertinent question: When the general orientation is “stay home”, we saw ourselves asking: "what is home? How do we habit it? How do we know it exists?"
Some of us chose some years ago to go into the world to look for our home. We have lived in several houses since then, all of them filled with different accents, sights, tastes, sounds and movements. Colourful houses that we turned into our own place, one way or another, with the companionship of beautiful souls. This storm has surprised us in a house that we thought of as transitory, but with other people in it, thanks to which we now call it home. Being trapped between borders. For us, the birds that chose a life without them, it is a new challenge. But now that we play with languages, "bordar" in Spanish and Portuguese languages means knitting. Which are the new borders to be knitted with our hands careful, insistent effort? Which affects are to be knitted in this residence? How do we weave our narratives of belonging into this space?
We miss a lot of people, although being confined with part of a big aggregated family and having the privilege to see and talk to them everyday, even with a window separating us, makes all the difference. Our hands are so dry from all this compulsive washing, but we still feel immensely lucky. We have each other.
To cope with the isolation, Jorge started with the idea that every day, at 4pm, one of us should do a performance in the grass in front of our house so that all the rest of the people around can see through their windows (the Mount Claire accommodation of Roehampton University). It started off with a small seed of joy Jorge planted, to give us relief from the monotony of stunted time and sensitise familiarity. Now, we are calling this creative experiment “Performing the Pandemics (Emergency Festival)”.
Jorge was the first one to perform. Naiara, Subhashini, Majo, Bianca, Anÿla, Dafni, Fadi and Celina have already danced on our improvised stage. We are also holding dance classes and streaming them live in social media sometimes, hoping it brings a bit of joy to others that are also facing social isolation. Videos, pictures, drawings, songs and other creative material are being produced to record this difficult but inventive moment. These performances are a grounding exercise, an old feeling of those birds who travelled and got surprised by the land telling them something about growing roots… About knowing that the tree that is afraid to dig its roots deep into the soil will forever be afraid to spread its branches to the sky. It is a welcome hug from Mother Earth, whenever we are now. Even as we share this, we are trying to maintain sanity with a sense of community, creativity and love. Somethings will never be the same, so let the new world catch us dancing into it!
VIDEOS OF PERFORMANCES:
VIDEO ART LINKS:
“Memoria, Verdad y Justicia” by Majo Bejarano, Naiara Assunção and Tainá Louven
“Virulent Aesthetics” by Jorge Poveda with Majo Bejarano
“One Sun split into Two” by Jorge Poveda with Subhashini Goda and Avanthi Meduri
“BIANCA VODYOK” by Jorge Poveda with Bianca Beneduzi
“Communitas” by Majo Bejarano, with Jorge, Naiara, Tainá and Subhashini
“Third Pink Wave from Kosovo” by Jorge Poveda with Anÿla Musa
“Diseminaciones/We need more soap” by Jorge Poveda with Dafni Pantazopoulou
“COVID Antidote” by Jorge Poveda with Fadi Giha
“Tour through the twilight” by Jorge Poveda with Celina Gallo
“Plenty of air, plenty of faces” by Jorge Poveda with Majo Bejarano
“Notes about a quarantined body” by Majo Bejarano
Join our scholarly conversations on the link below
By: Ximena Purita Banegas Zallio
Choreomundus is the program that gave me an opportunity to see and understand dance in a different dimension. My concepts of dance were very limited and narrow compared to the vast amount of information, activities, research, and work being done in this area today. So far the Choreomundus International Master degree has allowed me to see dance and to explore it in a completely different light. Learning new concepts, theories, and perceptions of its importance in everyday society, have given me a wide range of ideas and possibilities for future endeavors. It has shown me that there is an entire world of academia and opportunities to be discovered in dance knowledge, movement, and intangible heritage. Choreomundus is allowing me to combine my passions for international relations and dance in a way that I thought could not be possible. And I could not forget about the opportunities of studying and getting to live in Hungary, Norway, France, and the UK. I have had the opportunity to travel to more than 30 countries and the grandeur of the Hungarian architecture definitely one of the most breathtaking I have seen. And I could not forget to mention the opportunity to experience the particularly rich cultural heritage. So excited for the upcoming semesters and to get to explore more about dance, culture and the different methods of study in each university. Which so far has given us a taste of the different ways of life, research and academic processes that take place in each country.
As an alumna of the Choreomundus program I seek for any opportunity to promote Choreomundus, to keep and share acquired knowledge and develop my skills in dance research. After graduation I had two great occasions to do it in my home country.
In the middle of October, I was invited as an American University of Central Asia (AUCA) alumna to present my Master thesis during Student Symposium of Social Sciences that was held in AUCA.
In the beginning of December professor Emil Nasritdinov offered me to conduct the final seminar of 2017 for the Anthropology Club of AUCA.
Honestly, it was my first time giving a one-hour academic talk about specific topic by my own. Considering the fact that the week before my hard driver with all collected data got damaged I was extremely stressed. Nevertheless, I remembered the Choreomundus professors, my friends as well as our lectures which gave me the power to go ahead.
As a result, I made an overview of Anthropology of Dance as a unique field of study, presented the summary of my Master’s Thesis, “Islamic influence in the Tatar folk dance”, and taught guests some dancing movements to a Tatar music. I mentioned some examples from Choreomundus lectures which helped to make my presentation more fluent. The small section on Labanotation surprised them and triggered questions. At the end of the seminar we had a question-answer session. The informal atmosphere created positive energy that let me talk independently and confidently.
Professor Nasritdinov wished me the best of luck and success in my future endeavors. From my side I set a goal to continue academic research in the field of dance.
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By: Ipshita Rajesh
Excerpt: Stories have always fascinated me. The Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata are neither black, nor white and it is this characteristic that lends them beautifully to retellings and interpretations. Not only are these stories a great source of material for art works, but also help one reflect.
Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, had four sons borne to him by his three wives - Rama from Kaushalya, Bharata from Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana and Shatrughna from Sumitra. Being the eldest,
Rama was the obvious heir to the throne. But Manthara, Kaikeyi’s maidservant, poisoned her ears, arousing jealousy. Kaikeyi now wanted her son Bharata to be crowned king, so she demanded of Dasharatha two boons that he had promised her earlier - first, that Bharata be crowned, and second, that Rama be exiled for fourteen years, and Dasharatha had no choice but to yield.
Instead of being happy, Bharata was saddened by this news, since he respected and loved his elder brother Rama dearly, and hated to see him go. While Rama was away, someone had to look into the affairs of the kingdom, and so it came to be that Bharata was the pseudo-king, ruling according to the principles of Rama, and took inspiration from a pair of Rama’s padukas (1) that he had placed on the throne.
Being suppressed during the times of Kemal Ataturk in Turkey the practice of whirling dervishes was revived in 1956 and from then the Turkish Government permitted an annual celebration at Konya or a week of whirling which culminates each year on the Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi’s death on December 17th. A man who founded the practice of whirling and is considered to be a man of wisdom, spiritual master, and the most highly regarded poet-philosopher in Islam. In 2005 Mevlevi Semâ Ceremony was proclaimed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. It enhanced the role of Semâ Ceremony not only in the Turkish society but in the whole world making the whirling dervish as a symbol of nation state. Over the period of time Semâ was transformed from closed ritual ceremonies in dergah (monasteries) into big shows performed in stadiums attracting thousands of tourists. On December 17, 2015 owing to Şebnem Sözer (Cohort 1 alumnae) I had an opportunity to watch this mysterious and spectacular ritual performance. Together with Şebnem we watched it on the last day of the annual 10-day commemoration of the death of Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi.
The time came. Same place, four years later. Where it all began. The first Choreomundus cohort met there, so did the next four generations. Our Choreomundus family has expanded and we only want it to grow from here. The first Choreomundus Alumni Conference took place August 26-28 at NTNU, Trondheim, and it was fabulous!!!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in all posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the association or the MA program.