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REPORT ON JDE RESIDENCY IN SKOPJE 10 NOV. - 1 DEC. 2011

PINAR BAŞOĞLU (BiMERAS | iDANS)

 

 I live in Istanbul, which is one of the biggest cities in Europe now… And I usually travel to the city centers in Europe, like Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, and Wien… Then suddenly I received a call for a residency in Skopje where I had never been to, and also had almost no idea about the culture. But my grandmother was born in Ohrid, Macedonia, so I said – why not. I’ll go.

Honestly, my first impression of the city was not ideal; the city was grey and dirty, traffic worst than Istanbul, and people living there in organized chaos. But I started to meet people and the picture gradually changed. I started to realize that the people in Skopje are nice and friendly. The relations between the individuals are of importance for them. They also gave me the opportunity to experience the city freely. I have been to few concerts, film festival, exhibitions, club shows… and I have realized that there are scenes for every occasion and even if the city is small and not exactly rich, all these scenes are quite alive since the people who constitute them are really enthusiastic and give a lot of efforts to every scene.

However, my purpose for being in Skopje was working with Lokomotiva and helping them throughout the Teaching the Teachers program within the Nomad Dance Academy (Nomad). During those meetings, the teachers of Nomad decided to evaluate themselves, to see what they accomplished in the past 4 years and if some things could or had to be changed. I believe the format of the meetings was perfect, since the teachers do not hold meetings in a formal conference type but also in a more relaxed atmosphere, when they are out for a dinner or during a happy hour at the office. Moreover, the discussions are held via playing different games. Following the evaluations, they have conducted workshops in order to better educate themselves.

As for me, having met all those teachers of Nomad, who are professors in their own fields, was a very interesting experience. Their working style and point of view inspired me. Once the education method was blocked, they managed to produce new methods. They agreed that theory is not enough and, therefore, they searched for new methods. They discussed issues like, “Who is the teacher”, “Who is the student”, “Could there be an education in the Arts”, “What is the future of the modern dance”, etc.

It was an important experience for me because, even though I have worked in the arts for a couple of years now, my educational background is neither art nor education, but environmental engineering. For instance, throughout the projects I have worked, I’ve always tried to solve problems using common sense/practices and intuition. The discussions with the Teachers have broadened my horizons in art/culture and its management; working with these educators helped me to see the problems that I have experienced in the past from a different angle and to understand the problems that are originating from the different perspectives of the artists and the contributors. I believe now I’m more prepared to deal with issues and to provide better creative solutions.

Last but not least, it is obvious that what is important in the Arts and especially in the Performing Arts field, is the “human” factor. Therefore, the Nomad teachers have focused on individuals and have given importance to the relations between individuals. They believe that the outcome of a proper sharing will always be a good work. Perhaps, this is derived from the Nomadic thinking…

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