Interview with Thor Henning Lerstad of KK magazine in Norway, here you can see the original article and read a full translation.
Original article as published:
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FINN DIN EGEN DANS!
(FIND THE INNER DANCE!)
By Thor Henning Lerstad
Article translated by Nyonga Rugumayo Amundsen
You have it in you, all that you need, and you will discover, develop and celebrate it! This is Merle Van den Bosch’s message – 44 years old, Head of the Centre for The Expressive Arts in London and Course Supervisor for one-year dance groups in Norway. The purpose is not to learn new techniques but to find one’s own self-expression.
It’s a whole performance listening to Merle Van den Bosch. She’s not stopping herself a moment to dance what she thinks; all with an intensity, humour and dedication that moves. She grew up in Trinidad, but moved to England 17 years old. She is a dancer and facilitator of body and movement awareness. She is the founder of the Centre for Expressive Arts in London and a staff member of the Skyros centre in Greece. In Norway she runs one year dance groups at Bauker Kursgard, Scandinavia’s biggest centre for holistic self and creative development My aim is to release the artist within the person and the person within the artist, says Merle. I wish that the participants can find their full potential by using their bodies as a tool to express feelings, experiences, meanings and to experience themselves as a unity and not as separate parts. A body awareness is important to get to hidden resources in ourselves.
Through physical explorations, body expression and through movement and stillness, we emphasize personal process to release ourselves from the limitations stylistic movements creates. After sometime, says Merle, the participants find their own creativity and experience themselves through natural and organic movements and release their creative power. Most of us walk around with social masks, as we have developed to protect ourselves. The dance will show that, most people dance the way other people have taught them to dance. It does not necessarily have to be wrong, the result of this is that we run away from our inner self, what is real. The course I have in Norway shall help people to reopen what everyone of us has within themselves. The body has it’s own language.
Merle emphasizes that she is not in the role of therapist or a translator. Drawing is also used a lot. The participants are often asked to draw something they experience or feel. Drawing is perhaps one of the most creative ways to express one’s inner feelings.
Anne Mari Siv Kvaale, Oslo, Age 31, Environmental worker –
I planned to start at the ‘Social Studies College’. I believe that the institutions in Norway need new ideas. I’m looking for tools I can use in relation to work, especially relating to teenagers. But the most important thing is, I have to work with myself before I can start to work with others. This course opens new doors within myself. The exercises seem simple, but are effective, on a deep level. They work! The whole time I feel I break my boundaries. It’s both wearing me out and fun. Another way to put it: I get in touch with my own creativity. I feel I have something to share with other people. I also have the possibility to experience things that are not good, for example my fear of making a fool of myself. I’m more aware of how I function in a group. I think I’m more able to give more to other people.
Eli Ulvestad, Trondheim, Age 28, dance instructor –
I danced ballet, but got injured. Now I run the Trondheim Ballet School. I did not know what I would go to when I decided to take part in this course; it’s different from what I expected. It’s gone a lot deeper and made me a more living, alive human being. Without doubt, this is the most important thing I have done except giving birth to two children. I can see it now; the classical ballet kept me back from developing. It was in a stylistic form, every movement taught right, with small possibilities for what was right and wrong. The result was that it stopped my self-development, my honesty. I believe that my dancers have a total unnatural relationship to their bodies, a prison relationship. In the dance – milieu you are told to be so and so thin, you are supposed to have a niche that long. You can’t be yourself. You are being controlled. Everything I did with my body to become a professional dancer was just like a rape. Perhaps this was my way to suppress bad feelings in myself. This course is totally different. Here I can find my own dance. It has opened up my muscles around my body (the wall of muscles). I’m more real, feel more sorrow and happiness. Maybe it gets too intense now and then, but it’s a good feeling. We use drawing a lot too. Nobody tells us to draw a horse or a beautiful face, only what we feel. It’s unbelievable what process it starts. You see yourself on paper and interpret it yourself.
Kari Gorwitz, Oslo, Age 34, photographer and environmental worker –
This course has made me get to know my own limitations that stop me from using what I have. It has been very frightening to show myself in front of other people. I have fought against fear of not being good enough. I must teach myself not to bother about other people’s expectations. I’ve felt naked and understood, especially when I’ve drawn. In the beginning I felt very childish, very stupid. I haven’t drawn for 12 years. People around me drew so artistically, I made drawings as a ten year old girl, with hands, eyes, nose and mouth. In this process I’ve started to find my own strength. I want to be me. This course is not an ego trip, I’m more conscious in the moment, I have a slower tempo.
Belinda Midtskog, Jevnaker, Age 23, homemaker with two children –
I’ve received a lot in this course. It has opened a lot in me, given me a lot of confidence. Dancing has always been the important way to express feelings.
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The purpose is to liberate the artist in the person and the person in the artist.
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Forget what you have learnt. Find your own dance! Liberate the artist, the creativity in you. Find your own dance, your own personal expression, says Merle Van den Bosch challengingly.