Interview: Jasmin Vardimon

Monday 3 November 2014 by Carmel Smith

Jasmin Vardimon

It’s a busy time for Jasmin Vardimon. Her company are in the midst of a UK tour of a revival of her 2004 production Park (in London at Sadler’s Wells on 10 and 11 November), she has a new base in Ashford Kent, with an International Laboratory due to open in 2017 and a visual arts collaboration with designer, artist and architect Ron Arad in collaboration with installation artist Guy Bar Amotz at Turner Contemporary, Margate in April 2015 has just been announced….

Why did you decide to revive Park now?
Park stayed in the minds of our previous audience members after we first staged it and we’ve frequently been asked when we will perform it again.

I decided to bring it back into the company’s touring repertoire as I found the subject matters explored in the piece even more relevant and current today than it was when I created it, ten years ago.

It has been a pleasure to revisit these ideas and moments with the wisdom of distance and time. The cast is new and working with them gave me a chance to take a fresh look at the piece and this has been exciting.

All the dancers are new to the production, but not new to the company. Original cast member The rehearsal director Vinicius Salles was a member of the original cast.

What do you look for in your performers?
I look for honesty in their performance. This requires personal emotional investment in the character they perform, which in return allows them to express in their own individual way. In this way the role always changes when performed by another dancer and the individual skills and qualities are incorporated. Also the characters always keep changing during the tour, which reflects the growing understanding of each performer and their individual role.

Have you made any changes to the production?
Yes. The pleasure of revisiting it with the new cast was in recreating these characters with the qualities, understanding and talent each performer brings. I’m always interested in exploring new ways of communicating the story to the audience, through audio, visual, conceptual and while using different media. So the piece remains the same, but the story of this PARK is told in a new way.

Your company has been based in Ashford in Kent since 2012 and this year picked up three awards as part of East Kent’s Culture Awards – which suggests you are definitely making an impact in the area! Is it working well for you there?
It is working fantastically well for us. We are extremely lucky to receive very generous support from both Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council who recognise the contribution of the company to the community of the town and the county as a whole.
Our studio is the perfect environment for us to create new work, to research and explore new ideas and to run our current education programme. It has all the right ingredients to allow the process of quiet research and creation.
It is only 37 min train journey from central London, but still has the advantage of being isolated enough to hide away and focus on creation.

You’ve also got plans for the Jasmin Vardimon International Laboratory – with significant support from Arts Council England as well as the local authority. What facilities will the new centre have – and what is the time scale?
The new centre will have a performance space, studios and a production space with high quality media facilities, all scheduled to open in 2017. This creative hub will make it possible to fulfill a long held passion of mine to provide a multi disciplinary education for new dancers and choreographers. The laboratory will be a place to continue our artistic study and creative research, a place where we can explore new collaborations and ideas, create and research new work, and also deliver our growing education programme.

It’s just been announced that you’ll be collaborating with the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Can you tell us more about it?
The collaboration with Turner Contemporary is an exciting project, supported by the ACE Exceptional Award. Working out of my comfort zone always brings surprises, which is stimulating and therefore welcomed. I am always very curious about collaboration with different art forms and over the years I have collaborated with many different artists, but the result was mostly work that exists behind the proscenium arch.

Maze, the collaboration with Turner Contemporary is to produce a project that exists between our two worlds: the worlds of visual art and dance theatre. The collaboration with designer/architect Ron Arad and installation Artist Guy Bar-Amotz aims to create a complete multisensory experience. It will allow audiences to experience my work at extremely close and intimate proximity. It will be an experience that is similar to being on stage with the dancers and face to face with the art-work itself. The adventure each visitor will have will be dictated by the individual path they might choose within the architectural structure.

Park is at Sadler’s Wells on 10 & 11 November. Tickets from £12

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