Meet the choreographers: Esther Manon Siddiquie

Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform is exited to announce a new interview series profiling the upcoming choreographers and artists for our third platform which takes place Tuesday, November 10th at the Galvanisers Union. 

Be the first to hear from the choreographers about their work and thoughts, and get an insight into their process and rehearsals. 

Esther Manon Siddiquie 568KBEsther Manon Siddiquie is based in Berlin and London and works as a choreographer and performer.  Esther graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2013, where she was awarded the Charlotte Kirk Patrick Award for exceptional potential as a dance artist. (To read a full biography of Esther you can visit the Kaleidoscopic Arts website.)

In 2014 she participated in ‘Exit Visa’, a new artist development programme for recent graduates run by London Contemporary Dance School and The Place. There she created the piece ‘Suitcase – Ein Tanzstück für Zuschauer’. It has been performed at Tanzmesse Düsseldorf and Swallowsfeet Festival among others – now to include Kaleidoscopic Arts’ third platform on November 10th.

‘Suitcase – Ein Tanzstück für Zuschauer’ is a curious encounter between the performer, the viewer and an enchanting flower suitcase. If one were to label this performance it would find itself in the field of the participatory where it is celebrating the unpredictable. It essentially unfolds around a personalised discovery around the oddities in the suitcase. It follows a prescribed series of steps in which chance and choice are to decide upon the outcome of the performance. ‘Suitcase’ is a wonderful dialogue between the performer and the viewer leaving the audience captivated and with a smile on their faces.

We were fortunate enough to sit down with Esther in London and ask her some questions regarding her work and interest in Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform.

What do you enjoy the most whilst creating?

I am really interested in discovering new things at the moment. I guess that’s vague, I think I am really looking forward to subtle things and I find it takes a lot of time to make something out of something small. But I really enjoy that process.

Why did you want to take part in Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform?

I met Konstantina in a different festival – Swallowsfeet – she was showing a work of hers and she approached me to ask if I wanted to take part in the festival. I couldn’t make it to the second one but now it has worked out. For me it is nice, because I am based in Berlin, to stay in touch with London at the same time. I am also very excited by the performances and the pieces being performed in a quite particular venue that is not like a normal theatre. That’s really attracting me as well.

The space is beautiful I went to see it and I think it is very intimate and it will be interesting to try the work there.

What do you expect from your participation in Kaleidoscopic Arts? And how will the platform help develop your Esther Manon Siddiquie (5)work further?

The piece really does live from performing it because it is working with the audience and it does rely on the audience. I can’t rehearse the piece, it is part of the piece that it is not rehearsed and I am very specific and precise in the structure of it so it happens a lot in my head but the performance of it is the main thing. It is really important to perform it in order to find out what works and doesn’t and how to improve it. I started the piece a year and half ago and it keeps changing and I feel like the more I do it the more I find a set structure for it which I can then carry on.

What is your outlook on female choreographers? Does your work reflect your opinion?

For me I don’t think my work reflects me being a female choreographer and for me it doesn’t make a difference. I am interested in the platform and interested in the work that is being shown there. For me I feel like it shouldn’t make a difference whether I am a male or female choreographer.

Why do you do what you do, what does choreography mean to you…

Esther Manon Siddiquie (4)Essentially what drives you to choreograph?

For me it’s connected with my life, in order to choreograph I need to live. I am on the one hand interested in set choreography and on the other hand I found that regardless of choosing a specific topic that may be relevant like a political topic, or a certain emotion or psychological idea I feel that I am interested in how can I be real on stage and my research is really driven by that. It’s a bit of a conflicting idea because once you are on stage it’s already constructed so the idea of realness gets lost, but how can I find realness in a constructed structure of choreography? I find that interesting and in the future I want to find a way to combine very set material with an open structure. I want to combine the idea of leaving gaps of information: so I know how to go from a to b. I know I have to jump, but I don’t know what kind of jump, and after I have to get to the floor but what is that transition? I’m interested in leaving that open and combining that with a choreographed score. I find this particular piece focuses on the openness of things.

Is there anything else you want to say about your piece?

I started the piece last year that at The Place during a new artist development programme which is called Exit Visa. It happened half a year after leaving my bachelors degree and it was an amazing initiative to have space to find out what I wanted. In an institution you learn and look at other people, which is useful, but then you come out and you actually have the freedom to find what you want, and Exit Visa gave that support. The environment helped the piece.

Now I have moved to Berlin and am working in a collective space, which is important, and it is a luxury. It is still being constructed but in the future it will give freedom to creating work. However, it is also useful to change environment and to have feedback and different support so I think it is great to do residencies in many spaces.

What are you hoping to address in the Q&A?Esther Manon Siddiquie (2)

I think it is very important to work with the audience and to know how a piece is received and what people that take part get from it. With any piece you want to know how it is received – but mine does really involve the audience so it is slightly unique because everyone has a different experience. It is working with each other in a specific moment and I try to be careful to make it natural but does that work or do people feel manipulated? Those are the big questions; I’m trying not to go too far into people’s space but still work together.

Thank you to Esther for giving us the time to talk about your work. We are excited to see it performed and honoured to have you represented as a choreographer for Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform.

For more information on Esther you can visit her website.

To see her work at Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform you can buy tickets here.

We hope you can make it to the performance and have enjoyed this insight into what is to come.

Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform

This post was written by Cecilia Berghäll.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s