Where did you grow up, tell us about the place and your childhood?
Esther: I grew up in a small village in the Black Forest, South West Germany. My parents built a house bordering the woods when I was 4 years old. One of my earliest memories is this time of builders being around and construction work taking place. I have a 5 year older brother, who I would spend hour and hours with, climbing trees and being outdoors.
How did you get to choose dancing? What would you say it gave you, in life experience and spirit?
To be honest, I had no intention to start dancing at all as a child. My mum’s friend opened a ballet school in our village and needed kids to teach. So my mum suggested one day I joined her classes. I really didn’t want to, as I loved being outdoors and the idea of being with a group of girls I didn’t know, terrified me. Surprisingly I absolutely loved it. I was eight years old at that time. Susan Carter, the ballet teacher, was an ex-ballerina from the Royal Ballet. She was English and had moved to our village several years previously. She would often tell us stories of her times performing with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and I remember being mesmerised as she spoke with her English accent and moved her arms - they flowed as if she had no bones. Susan would often play music like the Firebird and we would improvise in the space. A year later, I played Clara in the Nutcracker. I stayed with her until I was 17 years old, when she encouraged me to study dance professionally. She was a wonderful teacher, and taught me about dance in a way that I later realised was a great privilege. It was this experience with her that ignited my passion for dance.
What was the idea behind creating this piece and how did you meet with Tomas, the musician?
I came across Tomas through a Portuguese friend in common. About one year ago I saw my friend post a link to an album of a talented musician Tomas Rosberg. I listened to it and resonated instantly. It was at this time that I was looking for music to work with for a dance film. So this was very timely. I used a lovely space with beautiful old wooden floors in my local sports centre to play about with movements to different tracks from Tomas’ recordings. I decided on In my Silence, as I liked the earthy, relaxed groove that drives this piece, with Tomas strong voice and lyrics. For the film, I wanted to achieve a physically interesting and honest piece exploring social apathy on an individual level.
Who inspired you?
As a child I formed an instant connection with nature, and this remains with me until today. Being in nature has an instant impact on me, it opens my heart and I quickly return to a place of hope, trust and belief in life. Once dance became a part of my life, I discovered a way to experience the connection between my body and the spaces I go through in daily life.
To me, all life involves physical activity, and in that sense all life is a dance. I love improvisation, and the ability to respond instantly and for the body to be an honest vehicle to express this. I hugely believe in the greatness of people and love observing others. Human life is a fascinating display of possibilities to me. Ultimately we are all connected in the maze of life across the globe, and I greatly believe in how much we impact each other with our actions.
What makes the north a creative hub, what's your big dream?
Since my arrival in the North East in January this year I’ve come across many strong creative practitioners who are long established in the region. They are people from various disciplines such as dance, visual arts, film etc…What I found, is a strong interest in collaboration, and a generosity in spirit. In my experience here, there is a great focus on just producing good work, not on getting ahead of everyone else. I find this very refreshing and exhilarating for my work.
There is a new project coming in November, a few words about it?
This November, I will launch another dance film. This film is about Europe and the human links that exist within it. It is a celebration of human relationships, and how dance can transcend difference and show how universal we are as people. This film was shot in UK, Portugal and Germany, teaching members of the public a short movement sequence which collectively formed the full choreography for the film. People of all generations, race, abilities and status volunteered to take part and were filmed performing a section.
You got married a few days ago, does life get in the way of the art?
I married one month ago, in an old working men’s club in the community we moved to at the beginning of this year. This year has been a year full of changes, changes I’ve subconsciously and consciously been preparing for for years. Having lived in London for nearly 20 years, I have longed to live more rurally for a while. The last 8 months my husband and I have been busy building our house, on the coast of the North East, on a semi-peninsula north of Newcastle. So the last few months were filled with settling into a new community, building a house, planning our wedding and working alongside. At the beginning of the year I was awarded an Arts Council Grant to develop my creative practise. It has enabled me to endeavour in various activities as part of this grant, a trip to Germany, involvement in a choreographers forum in my home town, a trip to Portugal making this film, a very recent trip to Ireland spending time with world renowned choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, and meeting several creatives across Ireland. So no, life has not gotten in the way of my work, but definitely in the same way that the rest of my life has found new forms this year, I feel this is reflected in my work too.
Evolved from performing to choreography? - Thin line?
I graduated as a professional dancer in 2003. This is a long time ago, and I have done much different work since then. Initially I set out as a freelance dancer, chasing any job I could get my hands on. I often waitressed in a small arty cafe in Angel in London in between jobs. It took me several years to be consistently working in my field. Ten years into being freelance I set up an inclusive dance company that continues to run in London. It was through this company that I started to make my own work more regularly, and I haven’t stopped since. I continue to perform in other people’s work, but I choose more carefully what I want to be a part of now than in the earlier stages of my career. Making my own work is very important to me, it’s in my work that I utilise all of my previous experiences, reflect on my life and the wider community.
For more information, please contact Esther, check out www.esther-moves.com and follow Esther on twitter and instagram for updates.