A Visit of GazeteKadıköy
RUN, JUMP, DANCE…
An interview of Erhan Demirtaş with Beliz Demircioglu about Movement Street Jam
Dancer and academician Beliz Demircioğlu danced on an empty field in Moda a few weeks ago and asked the residents to join her. In doing so, she used her body instead of words and made calls on social media. Demircioğlu's call reached many people in a short time and many of her neighbors became a part of this improvisation. A group of people gathering in Caferağa Mahallesi Ruşen Ağa Sokak every Tuesday evening at 18:00, dance for 15 minutes without any rules, trying to communicate with their body. Talking about the aims and details of his project, Demircioğlu said, “We are not trying to show, we are trying to be and live what is happening. We try to establish a different kind of contact with people we both know and we do not know. "
MOVEMENTS THAT DO NOT FIT THE LIVING ROOM
You are both a dancer and an academian. How did your relationship with dance begin?
As long as I can remember, I have been a person who loves to move and dance. I graduated from the dance department of New York University's Tisch School of Arts. I have been teaching practical and theoretical classes in Istanbul Bilgi University’s Performing Arts Track since 2008 upon the invitation of Aylin Kalem. I completed my PhD in Expressive Arts in European Graduate School Switzerland in 2016. I am in the teaching faculty of Expressive Arts Institute Istanbul, founded by Fulya Kurter.
I also teach private classes on Somatic Dialogue, which is a very effective improvisation practice, structured by Berrak Yedek, that helps us in realizing the potentials of our body and expand its field of expression in a gentle and compassionate way. I have a book on improvisation published in England and America. I am interested in the healing nature of art, movement, bodily freedom, both individually and socially.
Every Tuesday, you create an improvisational performance with the local residents on an empty field. What is the origin of this idea?
There is a mural that I like very much in Moda and an empty space in front of it. I love to dance and improvise freely in this area. As I did this, my husband and son joined me, and we started to move together as we wanted. Even though I was doing online lessons and dancing every day, I noticed a thirst in myself, especially during the pandemic. First, I needed move in a wider space. Doing runs and jumps that would not fit in a studio, hall, or a room. Secondly, during this period in which our physical contact with people was very limited, I realized that I was longing to be in contact with them in another way.
I suggested my family to open up our improvisations to others within certain limits. The boundaries had to be clear so that people could feel safe and free within those limits. That's why I shared this idea with my circle on Instagram.
15 MINUTES IN SILENCE
I guess there are some rules.
Anyone can join, regardless of your age or your previous artistic experience, our space is open to everyone. We start at exactly 18:00 on Tuesdays and improvise as we want for 15 minutes without conversation and contact. Everyone is wearing their masks. Since our aim is to create a free and constructive space on the street in a communal way, we try to make sure that we do not disturb our neighbors. At the end of 15 minutes, we continue on our way to our daily lives without talking to each other.
15 minutes in quiet, without touching. Why?
I think words are very beautiful, but they take us into a very intellectual way of being because we pursue our daily life with them. Sometimes this situation causes us to form patterns. Let's get out of these patterns as much as possible and create spaces where we can exist in a different way from time to time. I strongly believe in the transformative power of this change.
I actually chose the ‘non-contact’ because of Covid-19, but on the other hand, even if we were not in a time of the pandemic I think it creates an environment of safety and trust. Touching is a very strong way to contact someone and sometimes it can be too personal for some people. It is also possible to move together with a person or a group of people without touching. It is possible to really hear them, to see them with their movements and to make contact in this way. I wanted to share this experience with more people.
“Just as one is..."
How would you describe what you are doing? Dance, movement or performance?
I think this is a free space. What is done is movement, sometimes it is like dance, sometimes just movement. We improvise. Whatever comes from within and how it comes is all welcomed. This is not a stage, so we don't have a concern about the audience. We do not try to express or show, we just try to be and live what is. We try to establish a different contact with people we both know and we do not know. Sometimes we just concentrate internally and focus on being there. So everyone listens to the moment, to the place and to their own needs.
How is the reaction of the residents of the neighborhood? Has anyone said "What are you doing here"?
We got wonderful reactions. An elderly neighbor came and watched the whole process and shared with us that sculpture is her hobby and that we really inspired her. Another neighbor saw us through her window while we were doing, came running, wanted to know what we were doing and whether it was open to everyone. People come and watch, but they are a little afraid to participate, when we notice we sometimes make a come sign with our hands, but we think our neighbors need more information about what this really is.
"WE NEED TO MOVE"
At the end of 15 minutes, everyone is dispersing quietly. What kind of a feeling do you think the people who participate leave with?
I think the answer may be very different for everyone. Because once people come, and move as they feel and join us without really getting stuck on thoughts, there is a possibility of a different awareness awakening for each one of them. In addition to these unique and individual experiences, we think that we are all in need of being a body that is moving freely in a public space, on the street, in life. 15 minutes of physically exploring this has the possibility of providing you with a completely different perspective on a subject you have been thinking about for days.
How long will this project last? Where do you intend to take it?
I want it to last a lifetime, to spread to other places, to open up space for all of us. Some of my friends abroad were also very interested in the idea, we have plans to realize this in different cities at the same time. We also aim to spread to different locations in Turkey and Istanbul.
Demircioğlu shares the details of the program with her followers on the Instagram account every week. @movementstreetjam @sokaktahareket @beliz_