Didy Veldman is the founder of Umanoove, who will be bringing The Happiness Project to Pavilion Dance on Thursday 4 May. We spoke to Didy about her thoughts on the world and experiences as an artist:
– Why do I do what I do?
I am passionate about dance, bodies, movement and finding ways of expressing ourselves through a visceral connection with the audience. I’ve danced professionally, choreographed all over the world, I teach contemporary dance in schools and companies and have danced my whole life. Life is movement, movement is dance and therefore dance is life for me. I have started my own company Umanoove (humanmove) in ’16 and The Happiness Project is my first work for Umanoove. I am thrilled to be busy with the next step which is creating my second work for the company. I couldn’t do all of this without being determined and extremely passionate about contemporary dance.
– What role does the artist have in society?
In my opinion the artist has several roles in society; to create introspection, reflection, re-thinking, to entertain, to shock or provoke. One of the roles which is important to me at this moment in my career is creating work which re-visits certain aspects of life to remind an audience of elements we easily take for granted. Like Happiness for example. To research with great honesty and openness in collaboration with the dancers and artistic collaborators. To be selective and aware of the choices you make so that the work you present has value for all.
– What memorable responses have you had to your work?
The best response I’ve had to The Happiness Project is a member of the audience telling me afterwards: ‘Everybody should see this, it is so humane, so truthful and yet so simple. Without big sets and costumes your work actually speaks through bodies about something very powerful’. I couldn’t wish for a better compliment.