PORTFOLIO

MISOGYNIST MEERKAT/AUNT WHO?

Ladies and Gentlemen! This is a play. A traditional, old-school play about a family; a mother, a father, and their two children.

Everything goes its normal way for the Johnson’s, until Aunt Vince moves in… A tragic tale of meerkats and blowjobs.

I have travelled and come home to a family who wanted me to fit into the same role I had before I left. To keep me in a box that no longer fit.

I have been abused mentally and physically by my partners… and stayed.

I have fallen in love while with someone else.

I have had sex when I did not want to… and I have blamed myself.

And yet I listen to music which oppresses and objectifies women: I love it and I dance to it. I sing it. Perhaps as a small act of defiance, or because I, for those few minutes, can play pretend that I am the predator, the one in control. That I am a man.

I do all this. And I am not the only one.

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This piece is not a testament to the strong and free woman I am. It is a testament to the vulnerable and abused woman in me. It is a painful reminder of what happens when we give up the fight. What happens when we try to make people something that they’re not. When we try to make ourselves fit in a role that is not ours.

This piece is also a spoof on ‘A Doll’s House’, it is a choreographic narrative which incorporates clown technique, animal study and contemporary dance. It is an exploration of the space between physical theatre and dance, the space between laughter and repulsion.

Why Meerkats?

Meerkats live in very large social structures. They are families where each member of the mob has a specific role. Meerkats also are very ruthless when it comes to intrusion or disobedience.

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The physicality of meerkats interest me greatly. When they stand upright in groups they have very human quality. Meerkats have poor eyesight and rely on their noses.

Making use of animals in my choreography allows me to examine deep human emotion in a raw and undramatic way: it gives me the opportunity to show our basic desires through the animal in us.

A play: Aunt Vince

I wrote Aunt Vince in 2015 and have staged it 3 times in Malta as a show for by children. It is a play loosely based on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Aunt Vince is a play about an unhappy family who gets a visit from their estranged aunt Vince. The mother, Nora, falls in love with Vince and the two of them attempt running away together.

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Music: Danish rap by Suspekt

The music of my youth and music which makes me question my own part-taking in misogyny by dancing to and listening to these offensive (yet catchy!) songs. I want Danish music because it is my heritage, and I want the rap to work as soundscape more than actual narrative; an ever-present male voice residing over the stage actions.

”Apart from serving as a break out of the mould of tradition, this subversion was able to demonstrate the fragility of the family construct as commonly understood in contemporary society and that, much like other animals, human beings can never truly be divorced from their instincts” – Sunday, June 10, 2018, 09:07 by Anna Marie Galea – Times of Malta

 

THE FARMOR PROJECT
My grandmother is dancing. I see her face on the screen. She looked happy then.

 

‘Farmor’ is a dance theatre piece about being sick of home and homesick; about roots and wings.

I feel homesick a lot of the time. I live in two countries, belonging to both but not quite at home in either. My life as a traveller has broadened my experience and given me many friends, but they are far apart; I can never have all my loved ones in the same place. Little pieces of my heart are missing wherever I go. Always homesick.

In Malta, I miss the birch trees and the buses that arrive on time. I feel like the character in H.C. Andersen’s The Shadow; a Dane stuck in the sweltering heat of the south, drying up. In Denmark, I miss being free to be who I am, a foreigner free of expectations.

Dance and theatre make a home where community is not based on heritage or even language; it is a safe haven where the soul and love of movement is what ties us together. Working creatively creates a little family of arty freaks, which can feel more like home than the place we happened to be born. In Denmark, my family and friends have known me always, it is hard to break that mould and defy the preconceptions in order to grow; I feel homesickness then, sick of being home and stuck in a box. These feelings are at the core of my next exploration. I want to combine the notions of homesickness with notions of home as a box.

The piece is about distances: How we can be close to people who are far away and feel estranged from the person next to us. In these very politically correct times, compassion for the minorities, for the environment, for the animals is on the rise, and as much as I love that development, I sometimes struggle to see the same compassion towards our neighbours, the lonely old woman next door or the estranged family member. I think these questions of impact and love are essential to explore, especially with a young generation who, in my country, communicate more through screens than through smiles. We are far from each other, sitting in the same room.

Where we are from can be a safe haven – or something which haunts us as a shadow and drags us into the mud. How can we let go of the roots we are born with and build new ones? Can we be rooted into different places at the same time?

The story is a simple tale of a beautiful woman I knew. Who danced with a bottle of wine in 1956. And who died with a bottle of whiskey in 2014. When a loved-one leaves us, where do they go? And how do we handle the loss when we lose a grandparent, a lover, a part of ourselves or our heritage? Do we become less ‘us’ when we leave home, or more, do we grow wings or lose touch?

An old film reel. My grandmother is dancing. She looks happy. At least I know that she was happy once, and her steps are the beginning of mine.

 

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COCK AND A FEATHER
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“Five hens,” it now ran, “have plucked out all their feathers to show which of them had grown leanest for love of the cock, and then they all pecked at each other till the blood ran down and they fell down dead, to the derision and shame of their family, and to the great loss of their owner.”

Hans Christian Andersen

“Cock and a Feather” is a dark fairy tale told through contemporary dance and physical theatre. It is an exploration of themes of gossip, feminism and how stories travel and change through time and space; an exploration of relationships in general, and female relations in particular. It is a piece about women and the issues they face in terms of empowerment, feminism and commodification. The project recognizes the constant struggle of the female body within patriarchal society and the ways in which feminism seek to reclaim this body and the sexuality it possesses.  It is also a story about chickens.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/arts/theatre_and_dance/87956/cock_feather_marie_kieser_nielsen_francesca_zammit?fbclid=IwAR2Eyj0siugQrj42SFl89HQINXOJZPrRRAraUh6kC7VEAMR4P7M6KTlDEes#

 

Next Monday, come experience a double bill performance of original contemporary dance pieces about stories of identity and sexuality also bringing to the forefront women's issues.A Cock and a Feather by Francesca Zammit and Marie Keiser-Nielsen and From Malta with Love by Diane Portelli, at the Valletta Campus Theatre on 2 July at 9:00pm.Buy your tickets today –> https://bit.ly/2JwH8Zf

Slået op af Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture i Onsdag den 27. juni 2018

 PLAY/GROUND

The year is 2118. The evil and greedy dictator Natas Adler implements a scheme to monopolize natural resources and starts draining the land of Acirema. Adler’s government begin PROJECT SQUARE; an attempt to collect and control the four elements of nature; Earth, Fire, Air and Water. If Adler succeeds, he will have total power and monopoly of the natural resources.

PLAYGROUND – ZFIN MALTA

Lest li tiskopri dinja ġdida? Lest issegwi vjaġġ fost viżwali u żfin spettakolari? Tista’ tafda lill-karattri makakki li se tiltaqa’ magħhom?Play|Ground hija biċċa xogħol eċitanti li tesplora d-dinja avventuruża ta’ ħrafa postapokalittika. Ħalli lilek innifsek tilgħab illogħba tagħhom u esperjenza direttament kif tinbena komunità virtwali, magħmula millaktar persuni eċċentriċi u kurjużi tal-madwar. Din hija esperjenza immersiva, imwassla lilkom minn grupp ta’ żgħażagħ pjuttost inventivi. Dati: Wednesday 21st November, 7pmFriday 23rd November, 7pmSaturday 24th November, 11:30amSunday 25th November, 6pmŻfinMalta Spazju Kreattiv ŻiguŻajg

Slået op af Kultura News i Mandag den 12. november 2018

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I choreographed this immersive dance performance in collaboration with national company Zfín Malta. It is a piece about balance, about collaboration, and about respecting the earth that supports us.

 

Artistic Direction: Paolo Mangiola Choreography: Marie Keiser-Nielsen

 

CANUCK/DADDY’S LITTLE MATCH GIRL

Canuck leaves home and learns to fly a bit too high.

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Canuck was conceived after reading about a crow in Canada which attacked people and stole murder weapons from crime scenes. I adore crows and my first attempts at animal study were utilized for this piece about a little girl whose scientist crow-parents go to far in trying to control her and making her what they want her to be.

We are happy to have Dance Studies alumna Marie Keiser Nielsen here creating a new piece of her distinctive dance theatre for Dance Tour 2017. Video of the work in progress is by Ilaria Lagna. Catch the show in France next week 24, 25, 26 October (Cannes, Nice, Marseille), and 10 & 11 November in Valletta Campus Theatre.

Slået op af Department of Dance Studies – University of Malta i Torsdag den 19. oktober 2017