It makes me boil, boil to the bone All my efforts were in vain – I wish I had known It didn’t matter whether or not – artistically – I had grown That glass ceiling wanted me away from the throne
Initially, I saw myself rise and rise and rise During the ascension – I thought it was all lies Women were flying high – as much as the guys Little did I know it was sneering in the background – in disguise
Let me introduce you: The Glass Ceiling Ladies and Gents: Gender Inequality Drum rolls… OFF BEAT please!
It hit me hard, and by surprise.
– by Cindy Claes
It feels a little bit like…
Walking straight into a glass door.
Whether your nose is bleeding or your eye is bruised, nobody even noticed you missed the entrance.
It feels a little bit like…
Running with sweat and tears after a train who has already departed.
But your waving ain’t catching nobody’s attention.
The arts industry is poisoned by gender inequality.
Female choreographers / theatre directors are not receiving the same commissions, support and opportunities.
I don’t have all the answers on how to make a deep long lasting difference.
I can only share with you the way it made me feel:
Frustrated, sad, angry, helpless AND…
Jazz music in the background, the smell of coffee and rose white tea, steam coming out my mug, all of a sudden… my eyes lit up!
“1000 Pieces Puzzle isn’t a project, it feels more like a movement.”.
I am sitting in a coffee shop, an informal catch up with Theresa Beattie, a phenomenal woman who has several decades of experience within the arts as a producer and artistic director. Her words resonate and echo a couple of times in the space… It feels like my mind stands still for a second.
It’s been 2 weeks now since we wrapped up the 2017 edition. I have desperatelly been trying to write a simple Facebook status, but not a word is coming out! Have you ever had a creative block when writing a Facebook status?!?!
1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017 edition) has been such an emotional rollercoaster of growth, an experience made of magic, bubbles and sparkle, it was such a powerful heartwarming event that I have been unable to write anything that would give it justice.
It was “life-changing”, as many participants described it. And life-changing moments are sometimes better described in silence than in words.
Sipping tea, my mind keeps repeating Theresa’s words in a loop: “1000 Pieces Puzzle isn’t a project, it feels more like a movement.”. My frozen stillness felt like decades even though I am sure it must have only taken a few seconds before I tried to speak again.
Theresa had heard of the programme last year, I had invited her as a consultant to be a part of a Business Brainstorm weekend to move Cindy Claes Productions forwards. Twelve months later, she saw the results live. An explosive collaboration between 30 dancers, and 4 countries: UK – Belgium – Jamaica – USA.
1000 Pieces Puzzle is an international dance exchange and leadership program I set up a few years ago. It is mainly, but not exclusivelly, aimed at supporting Hiphop, Dancehall, Krump, House and Afrobeats dance artists.
Ten years of day dreaming, 100s of sleepless nights and many flights later, the program is now a massive success, empowering artists and dancers with the necessary tools to make their own dreams come true.
Being speechless has its beauty, but if I want the program to expand and give opportunities to more leaders from the dance industry to rise, I must go on a quest of finding the rights words to describe “it”.
I take a sip of my tea and loudly respond: “YES! YES! Theresa… YES!”. A movement. This actually sounds right.
1000 Pieces Puzzle is about nurturing citizens of the world a.k.a. artists of the world. It is about highlighting the importance of each individual and his/her dreams, it is about reminding artists of the power of their artistic expression and making sure all involved use their creative work to make this world a better world.
1000 Pieces Puzzle is about building a society based on win-win situations. It is about embracing the champion that we are and about boosting the leader within ourselves. It is about supporting others generously and at the same time finding the courage to strive fully for our own ideas to come true.
1000 Pieces Puzzle had nothing to do with me, it was something way beyond the human being that I am. 1000 Pieces Puzzle carries an energy in itself, uplifting, joyful and a strong feeling of being ready to take over the world. It’s a mindset thing, in action, continuously in action, continuously in motion. It is something that happens within the interactions, the exchanges and the collaborations. The energy is created in the space by the dancers, for the dancers. And this energy travels beyond the studio, it has a domino effect and goes beyond the group that we were.
1000 Pieces Puzzle is a movement.
Thank you Theresa,
More blog posts will follow after this first attempt of writing more about 1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017).
***1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017) was presented by Cindy Claes Productions and Zinnema, in association with East London Dance.
Kimiko, straight outta Jamaica; and Krucial aka Queen Weapon, straight outta Los Angeles, will be sharing knowledge, technique and a piece of their artistic life journeys with us for one whole evening.
Kimiko has toured the world as an ambassador for Dancehall culture. She trained in traditional Jamaican folk dance forms, is a member of the DanceJA movement, and is a powerful female leader in the Dancehall industry.
Krucial is a passionate artivist. Co-chair of Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles, she has been dedicated to use dance as a tool for social change. She has toured the US with the documentary Stand, doing leadership and education work amongst the community.
Looking for 4 additional dancers for a new & refreshing artistic project.
We are looking for dancers who have a strong background in either Hiphop / Dancehall / House / Afrobeats or Krump; to create new dance theatre work exploring the themes of police brutality in Brussels and the Belgian prison system.
We are looking for dancers who:
◇have a strong interest in Hiphop Theatre / Dance Storytelling
◇are passionate about using art to bring social change
◇are eager to use creative platforms to bring new refreshing discussions to the table through art
◇are hungry for professional development The project will offer:
◇The opportunity to work 2 days with Benji Reid, a U.K. Hiphop Theatre pioneer / choreographer and renown theatre director
◇The opportunity to work alongside Cindy Claes, choreographer based in London
◇professional development for dancers who want to expand their performance skills
◇professional development for emerging choreographers
◇networking opportunities (Zinnema, international dance exchanges, etc.)
The project is unpaid but lunch will be provided during the last week of residency. Cindy Claes Productions (UK) and Timiss (Belgium) have as focus to invest in local upcoming talent, empowering leaders of the future. Our aim is to provide a platform for growth, reflection and artistic expansion for all involved. The project is fully supported and programmed by Zinnema, an arts organisation based in Anderlecht.
Audition & networking workshop: 12th February (morning)
Rehearsals (all day):
from Fri 24th March until Sun 26th March
from Fri 21st April until Fri 28th April
Sat 29th April
How to apply?
Please email TIMISS email@example.com with the following info:
max 500 words to tell us a little bit more about yourself (background and also your motivation!)
a short 3min dance video where we can clearly see your skills (freestyle / choreography / jam / battle videos accepted)
WHAT INSPIRED “Things aren’t always black or white”?
The story of what and who lead me to create this solo is quite a journey… From NYC to Philadelphia to Brussels, I came across so many signs, people, cold factual information, tears, questions and events that it all had to be translated into a piece.
One of the shocking images that stays in my mind each time I rehearse is… those 50 coffins. Visiting my Krump dance family in Los Angeles in 2016, I saw bout 50 coffins when entering the dance studio…
It was an arts project. Young men who passed away at the hands of police brutality were remembered through colors, collages and graffiti art.
“Things aren’t always black or white” is a Dancehall / Hiphop Theatre piece, a dark poetic dance drama, exploring the themes of police brutality, mass incarceration and the ugly realities of privatized prisons.
My solo performance is part of Resolutions, a triple bill shared with MCDC and Jannick Moth. We are all very eager to bring a raw night of dance theatre to our audiences.
***Internship Opportunity with Cindy Claes Productions***
We are looking for a pro-active and passionate individual who can think on their feet, to join the team. The internship will involve marketing, admin, video editting, blog writing, website updates and assisting on various shows, performances and educational projects.
This is a unique opportunity for an individual to be a part of the behind the scenes of a dynamic professional dance company.
4 to 7 hours / week. Hours are flexible.
From Feb until May.
***Please note this internship is unpaid, we are offering 1-to-1 mentorring sessions to the successful candidate as well as free access to classes and events organised by Cindy Claes Productions.
How to apply?
Please send your CV and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org (with as subject line “INTERNSHIP 2015”) before Wed 21st Jan 2015. Tell us more about your background and why you would like to work with Cindy Claes Productions.
Interviews will take place on Tue 27th and Thurs 29th Jan.
For more information about Cindy Claes Productions (international dance theatre exchanges, educational projects and performances), please visit www.cindyclaes.com.
“Time is ticking, phone is ringing” is a new Hip hop & Dancehall Theatre piece I am currently working on. A piece that questions our goal-orientated society and looks at how romance and relationships coexist in a world where professional success has become so important… I created this piece with the hope that it will create debate, raise questions and make people talk about a topic that always triggers something deeply hidden within us.
My next performance will be at the ADAD Trailblazers Showcase, on SAT 31st MAY at The Place in London.
It’s been so hectic in Cindy Claes Productions’ Headquarters that I realised an update was mandatory!
What have we been up to since January 2014? Here is just a small list of what we achieved over the last few months:
– Not only did we sell out two Dancehall Theatre shows at Sadler’s Wells in London, the show was sold out 3 weeks prior to the event!
– We organised a professional development program, a one week course aimed at dancers/teachers and choreographers looking for authentic Dancehall training and wanting to further their knowledge in Dance Theatre. Not only was the DTxTP program sold out as well… we actually worked with a whole team of European students! People came over from Belgium, France, Czech Republic, UK etc to attend the program.
– We were able to invite and work with a Jamaican based multi award winning Dancehall crew: Shady Squad. The international exchange happening in London was… POWERFUL and magic!!
– We worked with a whole team of interns who went on a journey of growth! Look out for the new team who are ready to take over the world again!
– We performed a new fresh version of “Is My Whining Winding You Up?” at Wild Card: Dancehall Takover. Three women on fiyah!
– The company received Arts Council England fundings to support their dance theatre activities and international exchanges with Jamaica.
– Cindy Claes worked set up a new company called PuzzelB in Belgium… 8 dancers aged 15-32 who’s drive is creating tornado’s of creative happiness!
– PuzzelB was initially a one hour production produced in association with Zinnema in Brussels, Belgium. The show was massively successful, a powerful and political Hip hop Theatre production challenging society in many ways.
– Cindy is an ADAD Trailblazer 2013-14 and went off to Jamaica for 6 weeks. Her main aim was to set up a Dancehall Theatre Exchange Program between the UK and Jamaica, as well as train and perfect her skills in Dancehall.
– Cindy met with the Minister of Youth & Culture.
– She also performed a new 8min solo (“Time is Ticking, Phone is Ringing”) at Dance Umbrella festival at UWI in Kingston Jamaica.
– Cindy lead a series of Dancehall Theatre rehearsals at DanceJa.
– She also produced a one hour and a half showcase at the outdoor theatre venue at DanceJa, showcasing some Dancehall Theatre work and the talent from all the crews teaching at the school. More info on Talent Pree: Dancehall Theatre Takeover coming soon!
– She lead interviews with dancers at DanceJa, she discovered a new passion: being a TV presenter, and it gave a new insight to her research on Dancehall culture.
– Cindy performed at several occasions with Shady Squad in Jamaica.
– Not only did she network and meet people about the Dancehall Theatre Exchange Program, she also featured on TVJ (Television Jamaica) Smile Jamaica to talk about the project. This interview took place at 7am on the same day she was flying back to the UK. A true highlight!!!
This is just what happened in a nutshell over the last 3 months…
More blog posts will follow with anecdotes, videos and more happiness to be shared to inspire others.