Rodrigo: So, my name is Rodrigo Ferreira, I’m a student from Brazil, and I’m in my second year. I’m planning on majoring in chemistry. However, I am taking this class with professor Deborah Levine, which is called HMMM. So as part of the class, we are learning from Aakash Odedra’s company about movements and dramaturgy, or different aspects related to dance. (Translated to Yasin)
Hoya: My name is Hoya. I’m from Taiwan. I have not decided my major yet, but… And um, I really like anything that has to do with Arts. I used to do some work with kids in arts and I used to dance hip hop. I just learn from the internet, so I’m not that good but um I took this class and I also went on the trip to Greece and I had a lot of fun teaching dance to the kids in the refugee camp. Through dance, I think I can connect with many people and also share something that I really like. (Translated to Yasin)
R: Okay so, first of all, as we said, we don’t have a vast experience with dance, so we wanted to know from your… what’s your relationship with dance, and from that tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mrs. Johnson: (Yasin speaks) So he started with the folklore, which is the traditional of dance style. And then he was interested in the.. uh… I don’t know, its not formal, I don’t know how to categorize it, but tango, salsa type of dances. He was interested in those alter on. And now you all understood that right? Uh, hip hop, and break dance. I don’t know the term, do you know that type of dance? (R&H: Yes) He also did that for a while (Y speaks) Ok, from he was 7 years old, uh , he was interested in dancing, he was doing it as a hobby for a certain time, now he will tell me. (Y speaks) So he, eh, got to know about this program, modern dance program at ____(dont know) University, and then he decides to choose it as a profession, going forward, not as a hobby only. So he started this school in that department. Ok, so so far, he started two departments in some other universities before but he stopped because he was not, because he decided that the only way he’s going to be happy in life is to continue with dance not as a hobby but as a way of life as well. So, he decided to follow that, uh, dream, let me say, and then started in that department, in modern dance, and he says that department, compared to others like ballet and folklore, the other departments were more strict, i think, in their teaching, so, but modern dance one was more flexible. He was always, uh…, he was always… very flexible to do what ever he wants on learn, and he was really interested and curious and in that sense it was very satisfying, this department, type of dance and department.
H: He was a student in that department? (Translated to Yasin)
R: And what were the… that he was talking that he really wanted… You were talking that you really wanted to follow your hobby, and did you have any challenges to do that when following your passion. (Translated to Yasin)
R: Like from your family, or from friends…? (Translated to Yasin)
J: They were really supportive, his family. His family has six other siblings, and uh, his family is in ___(10.10), he is from ___, a city in Turkey, and he went to school and now he’s working in Istanbul. Their only concern was how can he make enough money to support his life, obviously, but after graduating, he started working in ballet and opera in …(10.28), a government institution in um Opera. They were not paying enough, so his rent was the same as the salary that he was getting. So his family was trying to come up with alternatives, to help him to support his life, and they have been very supportive, he did not face any bad reaction, negative reactions. So he’s really a, one lucky person, I guess. (laughs)
R: That’s amazing.
H: Okay, so moving on to our second question and we want to ask you how did you hear about Akash’s Akash Odedres Company and what was the motivation for you to join this company and to join this production. (Translated to Yasin)
J: So, they learned Akash…(Speaks to Y for confirmation) So Akash was in Turkey for a workshop, for a festival, sorry. And then he gave a 1 day workshop at the school that he was attending. And then during that, when they were working together, I think he was impressed or he saw some, you know, light in his dancing, and then he contacted the school after asking about him, and then the school put him in contact with Yasin, and then, but his program was full until like two years ago, so when he graduated he called him but he was still not avaliable, he said I’ll let you know, and then so he started at the ballet and opera center, and then, finally, 2016 January, he asked him to join him. Akashi asked him to join. And then since that time, they have been working together.
R: Thats quite interesting to hear, because like I believe that the process to join Akash’s company was probably very conpetitive, because there were probably like many dancers, so we were wondering like whats the main difference like between you and other dancers, what makes you unique within the company and also outside? (Translated to Yasin)
J: Yeah, thats interesting because he’s saying there is dancers in England or everywhere else as well that they are maybe more closely to him, but I think he um, he discovered or he was impressed by the energy of the team, which was five people in the beginning, and then two more people got additional. He thinks maybe he fits a character or figure in his, uh…, what do you call it? (Asks Yasin about the word) repertoire ,repertoire is in English right? So he fit a figure in his repertoire whatever, in his plans for the dance, I think, and as a group, he thinks he got impressed with the group’s energy.
R: How do you think that, more specific, specifically to the piece #Jesuis, how do you feel that you fit in a character? (Translated to Yasin)
J: He says its not a character, actually, like, standard character. He says its his character that he is playing in different, um… that word I could, the term I couldn’t find. (Asks Yasin again) Composition, composition of the dance. Yes, so, he actually place himself in the composition not a different standard character, him as a character in the composition, yeah.
H: Yeah, so, the next question we want to ask is that what does the this piece now, after the process, what does it mean to you and also how do you relate it to your own life, after this certain process… (Translated to Yasin)
J: You mean, working in this…
H: Just this piece… the meaning of this piece… what does it mean for him? (Translated to Yasin)
J: Being a part of this group… working with Aakash, you mean?
R: Yes, because he was talking about how him himself as a character plays a role in the piece… in the meaning of the piece… so what is the meaning of this piece and what does it mean to him? Because we heard that it was something about censorship but we weren’t very clear what the piece was about. So we would like to hear from you now what the piece is about and how it relates to you as a person. (Translated to Yasin)
J: Just a second guys…
J: Ok so far… so his role in this… so it’s about historically the dictators and how managements change… it’s not only focused in censorship but in general… history. So his character is someone who doesn’t take things too seriously, like laughs about them and now continues to live his life and then it was until after that he realized that he needs to take things seriously… it’s getting serious… and now he doesn’t know how to react, like he is confused as a character in that theme or composition… and you asked one more question… how this affected his life or something?
R: How it relates to his life… if there was anything personal… (Translated to Yasin)
J: If this is the case for him in his own life as well? Like if this is his character?
R: Yeah, maybe living in Turkey… or maybe with something [else]… if he feels any connection with the piece, personally? (Translated to Yasin)
J: So it’s… he’s saying that this piece is in general about the conflicts and things like that historically and in the world happening right now. It’s not specifically in Turkey, but in Turkey they experience similar things as well. So they don’t want it to be perceived as the events in Turkey… this specific piece. They don’t want that. But it relates very close actually, what they went through in Turkey as well.
R: Very interesting to hear that, because it seems to me that the piece relates not only to a specific country…
R: … but more to the world in general. So it can be applicable to any place at any time. (Translated to Yasin)
J: Everyone can find something from their own country or from their own life, I guess… as far as I understand from what he said.
J: It’s about questioning and reacting to not only the political events [but] also any religious sayings or way[s] of things or making people do things… questioning any… er… any… how do I say that… like, you can question [the] Pope, you can question any Imams or anything… which tells you to do things from where they are sitting… not realistic things. It’s all about questioning what’s happening in the world and conflicts and things like that…
H: So… our last question… we’re curious about whether this whole process has changed anything that you used to think, like something that you used to believe in about this political situation or about what’s going on in the world? And after this process, has any of the thoughts that you used to believe in changed? (Translated to Yasin)
R: Yeah, just as a little bit of context, you were talking about how this piece is about questioning things, so is there anything that you personally questioned and changed the way you see things in the world? (Translated to Yasin)
J: I don’t know if this answers your question exactly, but what he is saying is that, during his education, when he was at university, it was more a free environment… they were acting like… freely and everything. And then when they graduated and started working at a government institution especially, so it was not the same freedom. They were still very flexible and free within their own circle, but not as like they were at university. With this project, he feels like he is at the university again… he is free again… like the mindset. He feels more comfortable and also personally and professionally, he is doing more freelance work now, he feels more productive and free in his profession. I don’t know if this answered your question…
R: Yes, it did. What kind of freelancing work have you done? Because you mentioned… (Translated to Yasin)
J: So… he’s been doing… he’s still doing… freelance work for different projects in Turkey and additionally he’s now getting work from all over the world, like his next one is from the States… he’ll be working in a project, and he’ll be going there after this.
R: Wow, congratulations… that’s awesome!
J: So he’s working with other professions as not only with dance… for dances, but hm… for short films, for musicians and for any, you know, music shows and things like that… even with the… what is called… I forgot about that word, but anyway… for different professions… he’s making projects, working, collaborating with different professions as well.
R: And by doing these different professions, like do you have an end goal, do you have like… what’s your biggest dream, biggest hope that you want to achieve in the end? (Translated to Yasin)
J: This is what he dreams for, he says. He’s happy with what he’s doing… yes… yes… which is great, right?!
H: That’s so amazing!
J: And he wants to share his own work with people… yeah!
R: And we hope that the interview will be a way for you to share your work with other people…
(Yasin nodding and smiling)
R: … so thank you very much and, lastly, do you have any questions for us or anything you would like to say to the audience?
J: Your sister is interested in dancing, he says?
R: Yes, my sister is a dancer.
J: He recommends/advises for you guys to continue, if you are already doing some dance. So, if you are interested in arts, continue doing it on the side, because it’s gonna help in ways that you don’t expect, it’s gonna contribute to your way of seeing things. Even though you don’t realize now, he says, after ten years from now, you’ll understand the contribution of that to your life.
R: Yes, thank you so much! We’re so thankful!
J: He’s saying don’t consider all this happy dancing, could be like movies, different types. I’m not exactly sure what he meant with this, but I know in his mind… it’s like… in different ways… it’s gonna… you’ll have different experiences with dance or art that you’re gonna follow, but eventually it’ll contribute to your lives.
R: How different?
J: It could… he says it could be… it could be drama, it could be like… comedy… it could be science fiction, you know?
J: It could be different types, he says… but if you want to ask more, I can ask more…
J: Yeah, it’s artistic thoughts… (laughing)
R: Ok… thank you very much, and I wish you success!
H: He’s already… (laughing)
J: Yes, he’s already doing what he wants to do, right? Guys, sorry… I have to rush as well, because I have work to go back to…
R: Thank you so much… thank you very much for your time!
J: Sure! Bye, guys! Best of luck to you!
R: Bye, have a nice day!
J: Mrs. Johnson (translator)
Y: Yasin Anar (interviewee)
R: Rodrigo Ferreira (interviewer 1)
H: Hoya Liu (interviewer 2)