Maltese dancer to develop craft in Austria

Local dancer Rebecca Camilleri is currently taking part in the Austrian ImPulsTanz festival, as part of a five-week scholarship programme partly financed by the Malta Arts Fund. 

The programme offers around 65 young professional dancers and choreographers from mainly European – but also from non-European – countries the possibility to take part in an intense multinational further training programme.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Camilleri, who forms part of local grassroots theatre group the rubberbodies collective explained how the opportunity to mix with international performers is bound to benefit the development of her craft, particularly given Malta’s limitations.

“I have the opportunity not only to participate in workshops and learn further movement skills, but its about learning how dance can be integrated as life practice. It is not about technique but it is about how dance can be used as a tool to communicate and integrate with people, and how you can use this practice not only in a dance studio but how to apply it to everyday life,” Camilleri said.

Performing with rubberbodies, Camilleri has most recently taken part in ‘White Sea – Bahar Abjad’, a non-verbal performance directed by Jimmy Grima at St James Cavalier. True to form of previous rubberbodies performances, White Sea – in which Camilleri performed opposite Ira Melkonyan – took a less conventional approach to theatrical storytelling by not relying on speech to tell a story. Instead, the onus was placed on the performers’ visual cues, and on a well-crafted, elaborate set design and props.

Camilleri describes how a visually striking and physically engaging performance is integral to the rubberbodies project.

“We are working through open collaborative processes which allow each one of us to share their life experience and through this we create art. We want people to question and not to relax on their seat. We want an active audience,” Camilleri said.

She also believes that a more hands-on approach to the art of dance could benefit Malta’s scene as a whole.

“I have realised that in Malta we restrict ourselves with the idea of learning dance through various classical and contemporary techniques. This is important as it teaches you the discipline and the basic principles, however to grow we need to start breaking these traditions, otherwise we will never develop… There is a need for a cultural education by building platforms which encourage practices of sharing art forms and experiences.”