Encouraging budding performance artists to express themselves through movement, Danish dancer Nønne Svalhom has caused a stir with her creative competition.
Ahh dance! The thinking man’s moving… All throughout D-CAF, Nønne Svalhom, founder of Danish educational dance company Make Your Move, will be overlooking a sort of So You Think You Can Dance-style competition, except with less commercial breaks and more actual talent. She’s chosen 10 finalists from around 50 local semi-professional dancing and prancing applicants. The final 10 are now undergoing intensive mentorship under the blonde bombshell’s watchful eye, as she sits in on their rehearsals. Closing the D-CAF festival, the budding movers and shakers will perform their choreography in front of a panel of experts on April 28th, choosing two as their winner, while the audience will also get the chance to pick their favourites. We caught up with Svalhom to find out more…
What compelled you to come to the Middle East?
I was approached by Denmark's government to start this initiative through Denmark Culture and Development (DCAD) in the MENA region. So I set out looking for whatever talent I could find.
Which area in the MENA region have you found the most talent?
This crew I have right now in Egypt is the highest level of talent that I have come across. This is not an exaggeration!
What were the problems that you experienced launching this project?
Of course, any new idea takes some hard work to convince others of it. Luckily, we didn't have too many challenges. Of course, in the MENA region, there is a lot censorship over art. But dance is different because you can express so much without being limited by censorship or criticised for what you said or wrote. We look for young talent that has a view of their society and can express it.
Take us through the process of this competition.
It starts with an idea, a vision. Each of our 10 young participants has a vision. My job is to give them the tools and push them in the right direction. We try to equip them with techniques that they can use moving forward. The idea is not only to find talent but to grow it.
How do you get young artists to express themselves?
I push them, and I take them really seriously. Some of them have quit their jobs to participate in this opportunity so it’s only fair I give the same commitment. It’s inspiring to me that what I do makes a difference. I believe I am the one getting the most out of this experience, actually, and everyone participating is already eager to express themselves. They really take it seriously and being the catalyst behind this wave is a really amazing feeling.
What are your words of advice to budding dancers?
Keep working. Real talent comes from 10 or 15 years of hard work. Look at the Beatles or other artistic geniuses. They worked for years before people recognised them. Whoever works the hardest and the longest will ultimately be the best. It’s also important to actively build a community of mentors. I think that’s what’s helped me the most in my career.
What should we look out for when choosing our favourite at the final?
You cannot really compare art, but you can tell when something affects you more. This is why anyone can be a judge.
The Make You Move Finale will be on April 28th at the AUC Falaki Theatre. Find out more about the Make You Move community on their Facebook page here