Derida Dance Center hosts the American choreographer Sidra Bell for a three-week project with Dance PORT Derida participants

Sidra Balloons

In August and beginning of September Sidra Bell –  artistic director of one of the most prominent contemporary dance companies in the U.S. called Sidra Bell Dance New York (SBDNY) is staying in Bulgaria for a three-week project with Derida Dance Center. Part of the program is also the presentation of SBDNY’s work Nudity at One Dance Week Festival.

During the three weeks starting on August 18th Sidra Bell will work with participants from Derida Dance Center’s educational and training program Dance PORT Derida supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation. She will use her methodology Contemporary Systems: an interior & material approach to movement. The result of their work will also be presented at the festival. For the young Bulgarian dancers it is a unique opportunity to be able to collaborate with a renowned artistic director like Sidra Bell as her company is on the forefront of engaging and cultivating the next generation of artists.

Interesting details about what is going to happen during the three weeks of her work in Bulgaria you can read from our interview with Sidra Bell.


As an artistic director of such a renowned dance company as SBDNY, what does the opportunity to come to Bulgaria and work with young Bulgarian dancers mean to you?

We are absolutely thrilled to be visiting Bulgaria and sharing our work with the community of artists there. We are honored to be able to both work educationally with the young artists at Derida Dance Center and to perform Sidra Bell Dance New York's work at One Dance Week Festival. It is a unique project with many levels of engagement. Our mission as a company has been to engage with communities internationally through workshops and performances. The opportunities are great for us to learn about the arts community in Bulgaria and to share our vision of dance with Bulgarian dancers. I hope that this project is the beginning of a lifelong exchange.

You will have a 3-week workshop with Dance PORT Derida participants and the result of it will be presented at ONE DANCE WEEK festival. What would your approach be in working with the young dancers? Do you come with a clear idea about what you want to achieve with them?

My methodology Contemporary Systems: an interior & material approach to movement involves a high degree of collaboration between myself and the dancers. I have been developing a workshop that encourages artists to bring their thoughts and actions together through creative play. We will visit many movement ideas through phrase and improvisational task work. This integrated practice emphasizes a high degree of physicality and input from the dancers, encouraging them to execute movement with intention, play, curiosity, calm, empathy, ease, and focus. We will develop a new work through the three-week process.

SBDNY 2013.2

In Bulgaria you will run two workshops with dancers and will show your company’s performance “Nudity” in front of our audience. That’s a pretty intensive program. What do you expect from your experience here?

I love the aspect of exchange that this program offers.  The intensity of the three weeks of activity will certainly nourish everyone involved. To be able to share the process of creation with the Bulgarian dancers and for them to perform the fruits of that process is a wonderful experience. Additionally, they will be able to meet and see the performers of Sidra Bell Dance New York in one of our seminal works Nudity. I expect to learn a lot and I hope everyone involved will come away with new ideas and feel revitalized in their personal artistic journeys.

 How do you find Sofia as an artistic place when you compare it to other European cities you have done projects in?

Each country I visit has such unique qualities that it is truly hard to make comparisons.  What I have experienced here from the dance community is genuine enthusiasm, trust, and generosity. The dancers have been truly ready to take on each experiment I have proposed.  When I travel I find that I am personally more at ease because the pace is different. I learn to trust myself and my process. I feel like I have the time to really explore during a residency like this.

  What are your impressions from the young Bulgarian dancers here? How do you see their potential?

They all have great potential. They work extremely hard and are very open minded. I think those are the two most important qualities to possess in the professional world of dance. They value the process that we are taking on together and in collaboration.

More about the exceptional work system and the exquisite dance aesthetics of SBDNY you can learn from the company’s website: http://www.sidrabelldanceny.org/Company.html