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Compassion and Creativity

I was on a meditation course this weekend with my favourite teacher (a Buddhist monk called Gelong Thubten).
We talked in-depth about the importance of integrating compassion and kindness to our practice of mindfulness.

For example:

During the meditation practice, our mind will inevitably wonder and thoughts will pop up, all in the name of distraction.
If people tell themselves things like “common’ you, can’t you focus!” it raises their stress levels.
If on the other hand, we kindly, gently bring ourselves back to focussing on the breath, without judgement, oxytocin is being released, which makes us feel safe and calm.

How compassionate are we with OUR creativity?

I am guilty.
I have definitely attended dance classes where I thought: “Common’ Cindy! You aren’t getting the groove right!”
Looked at my poetry thinking: “This isn’t good enough. You are not sharing that with the world.”
Preparing a show: “Girl, you better hurry up. Doesn’t look like ideas come quickly to you, or is it?”

Meditation combined with the practice of compassion brought me on a different journey.
Being kind to myself when ideas popped up transformed my relationship with my creative juices, but also with how I share it with the world.

 

Creativity and making this world a better world

As an artist, I always reflected how my creativity could make this world a better world. Whether I am creating a show, teach a class or perform, I want it to benefit society in some way, shape or form.

In Buddhism, we dedicate our practice to the benefit of others. Meditation is not a selfish act to improve our own lives, it is also a practice to benefit others, making all lives more peaceful and joyful.

I believe that when we tap into our most profound creative potential, we have the ability to impact our communities, relationships and environment. I want to see everyone feel confident in their creative approach to life.

When I talk about creativity, I mean ALL creative ventures:

– finding solutions to business problems
– being creative in our public speaking
– putting ideas on the table during a meeting at work
– etc.

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It is because I believe in the compassionate power of creativity, that I set up the:

DYNAMIC CREATIVITY RETREATS

A full weekend of dance, theatre, storytelling, creative writing… and compassion!

No previous experience necessary. All welcome.

SAT 25th & 26th AUG in London

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The benefits of engaging in fun and mindful creative tasks impacts all areas of our lives (personal and professional).
Join us to tickle your funny bone and learn to think on your feet!
The objective of this Retreat Weekend is to:

  • cultivate a creative approach to life
  • a solution-orientated mindset

 

BOOK TICKETS  CLICK HERE

Cindy

PS: we have early offers on at the moment, book your spot now 🙂

Book your tickets NOW for Cindy’s upcoming solo performance!

 

I am starting the year sweating and rehearsing for my next upcoming solo. Clear your diaries and make sur you are free for…

“Things aren’t always black or white”

TUESDAY 24th JANUARY

at 8pm, The Place

(near Euston tube station)

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

 

VIDEO TRAILER:

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.

TICKETS:

http://www.theplace.org.uk/whats-on/jannick-moth-and-company-cindy-claes-productions-mcdc

Thank you for your support, looking forward to sharing this piece with you,

Cindy

Selling Yourself Without Selling Out

1000 Pieces Puzzle is a Dance Career Bootcamp ran by renowned dance theatre choreographer and playwright, Cindy Claes. The program covers absolutely every subject you could possibly need to know to carve out a career for yourself in dance.

The first training program was held in Brussels, Belgium, over 5 weekends in January and February 2015.  Supported by Zinnema, the bootcamp was a true success!

In a theatre in Belgium called “Zinnema”, a dozen dance students in the program worked with professional mentors to sculpt a short performance piece over the space of five weekends. They learned choreography, storytelling through dance, creating a character for the stage and… they even studied project management and tools to budget their shows!

Artists of all mediums have never been known to have the best business skills.

Master painter Vincent Van Gogh, the archetype of the starving artist, famously never sold a single painting in his entire lifetime. It’s exactly that mindset that Cindy is trying to change. She believes that the key to becoming successful (whilst your still alive) is a sound business sense.

During the first weekend of the bootcamp, Cindy asked the dancers to stand up in front of the group and describe themselves as an artist in less than 2 minutes. For most of the students this was confronting, they where at a loss for words and found it hard to say more than “……I’m a dancer… and hmmmm…”.

So over the next month Cindy Claes, along with Kate Scanlan (founder of Scanners Inc., UK) and Jan Wallyn (Artistic Director of Zinnema) delivered a series workshops in budgeting, networking, marketing, pitching to funders, considering target audience, amongst many more.

The challenge for the dancers was that just five weeks later they would have to pitch themselves again, but this time, in front of a professional panel of judges who would be awarding one prize to the person and creative project with the most potential.

“A lot of dancers want to put shows together… but if you don’t have the skills to articulate your ideas and vision clearly, funding bodies and theatre venues aren’t going to invest in your potential. That’s why these professional development programs are so important.”  – Cindy Claes

The heat was on, but the dancers held true to their training.  When the final weekend came, all choreographers where able to speak with clarity and confidence about themselves, their artistic vision and their plan to achieve it. Each and everyone of them had a incredible breakthrough!

Zinnema was so impressed by the transformation of the artists, their pitches, and the quality of their final shows, that they decided to award not only one prize (as originally intended) but to triple their entire prize pool!

 

Jenny Onya received a commission of 1500 €, 10 days of rehearsal space in kind and technical support to develop her work.  She created a Dance Theatre piece based on rape and the suffering of women in the Eastern Congo region.  The extract her dancers performed on the night was very moving, bringing many audience members to tears.

Mouss Sarr also received a commission of 1500 €, 10 days of rehearsal space in kind and technical support to develop a creative project he wants to produce.  Based on inter-disciplinary collaborations, Mouss will be producing a one day festival which will result in a mond blowing performance.

Camile and Anissa, two young Hiphop freestyle dancers received logistic support and business mentoring for a project that is close to their heart.  They will run a course and program for young Hiphop freestyle dancers during te winter, providing a wamr and safe space for young people to train as well as workshops in variety of street dance techniques.

 

It goes to show that there is a subtle art to being successful, and with the right mindset and the right mentor it is something anyone can learn. Talent isn’t everything. It’s only one piece of the Puzzle.

And as Will Smith would say”

“Skill is only developed by hours and hours 

and hours of Beating on your craft… 

there’s no easy way around it, 

no matter how talented you are you talent is going to fail you 

if you’re not skilled, 

if you don’t study, 

if you don’t work really hard and dedicate yourself 

to being better every single day

you’ll  never be able to communicate with people with your artistry 

the way that you want.” – Will Smith 

 

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Written by Sara Kerrison

Edited by Cindy Claes

 

65 59 47 16 11

Documentary on our Dance Theatre Exchange JA / UK!!

We are proud and excited to share with you a documentary (made by Janka Troeber) about our UK/JA  Dancehall Theatre Exchange!!!  It just got released on YouTube and the images triggered so many positive memories.

 

The documentary got shared all over social media.  Here is what the students and artists who participated to the program said:

 

“Truly blessed and thankful to have been a part of this wonderful project thanks to Cindy and her whole team ! It’s been a life changing experience! All the hard work, trainings and lessons learned will be remembered and applied forever, and we will continue fighting for projects like this !” – Marie Popovski

 

“So happy I got to be part of that beautiful project!I learnt so much from the incredible Cindy Claes and the super talented @shadysquad. I’ve also met true real good friends!” – Felicia Dotse

 

“One of the BEST experiences of my LIFE!!!” – Matthew Richard

 

“One of the best times in my career. Being apart of this collective, training HARD, pushing oneself,creating, sweating, rehearsing,performing, tiredness, laughter upon laughter,international exchange new friends cest stylé!!!!!!!!. Don’t judge the shabby rehearsal clothes and heads scarf and dry lips by den image weren’t a factor!! Lets do it AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN!!!!!!!” – Natalie Baylie

 

“Sorry for my ugly, sweaty,tired faces but I completely released, pushed myself, my heart,me, just as I am and I felt the love of this family so much that this has been one the best training, crew, collaboration, memory, show, xchange, experience of my life!” – Michela Di Felice

 

I truly believe international dance theatre connections are incredibly life changing.  We now also have a DONATE page so you can support more artists to benefit from such training and experiences.  These projects allow artists to not only develop their performance skills but it also supported many to nurture their leadership skills.  Click here to DONATE now.

 

Drum rolls please…. let me introduce you to our first documentary about us taking over London and the world with Dancehall Theatre:

 

Solo Hip hop and Dancehall Theatre performance on SAT 15th NOV

Exciting news!!!

 

I will be performing my Hip hop Theatre & Dancehall Theatre solo piece “Time is Ticking, Phone is Ringing” this SAT 15th NOV.  Buy your tickets asap (call: 020 7622 9208) , come and enjoy a night of solo madness at the Lost Theatre in London!  An amazing line up of artists is awaiting you!!

 

SAT 15th NOV

7pm

BreakOut The Solos

at the Lost Theatre

£10

 

 

“Time is ticking, Phone is ringing”, my latest solo piece. The story of someone in search for love & romance while following a drive, a passion and perhaps a need for success. What to choose? Which relationships are toxic? How to see and understand when a relationship is unhealthy? Are we having our priorities right, how can we justify choosing success over people? Shall we go for the dream or shall we go for love?

A solo piece that raises many questions through Dancehall Hiphop and a bit of Krump.

Breakouthesolos

Hip hop Dancehall Krumping – … from the streets to the Theatre…

Bringing Hip hop from the streets to the Theatre wasn’t a natural progression “per se”… artists had to fight for it and break down walls. Today the movement of Hip hop Theatre, Dancehall Theatre and Krumping Theatre is growing. In some countries street dancers creating Theatre work still are not valued, in other parts of the world the art form has been embraced and acknowledged long time ago… Which challenges do we, as Hip hop dance theatre, Dancehall Theatre, or Krumping Theatre makers have to face today?

Sharing a few thoughts on my video blog series… I could talk about it for hours, but I am trying to keep the videos short… 🙂

If you have questions, please holla at me!

Cindy