Michael Maurissens

Michael Maurissens © Michael Maurissens Michael Maurissens was born in Brussels, where he began his dance training. He also studied dance at the Heinz Bosl Foundation in Munich and at the Swiss Ballet School in Zurich (with the support of the Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation) and was engaged at the Ballett Nürnberg/ Tanzwerk Nürnberg, Ballett Freiburg pretty ugly, the Nationaltheater Mannheim and Pretty Ugly Tanz Köln.

In 2009, together with his colleague Douglas Bateman, he founded the MichaelDouglas Kollektiv, the collective's focus includes research on collaborative art production and the development of collective creation methods in the performance context. By means of an independent and responsible structure, the collective faces the challenges of its artistic decisions, such as working as a non-hierarchical structure, reducing the usual temporal parameters for artistic process development (One Week Stand), and advancing a dialogue and fostering exchange at the interfaces to disciplines and themes such as communication, architecture, sociology, psychology, and conflict resolution.

For several years now, Michael Maurissens has been working with media in the fields of graphic design, photography and film (as filmmaker, cameraman and editor) and in 2013 he completed his postgraduate studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, his studies focused on scenography, applied fine arts and documentary film making.

Today he directs and produces films, experimental video works, performance documentaries and participates in joint visual art projects. CARRÉ BLANC PRODUCTIONS is a video production office based in Germany focusing on performative art and led by Michael Maurissens.

Final report

I would like to highlight three aspects of working with the Attakkalari dancers during my residency:

Throughout the period, we started each day with a Dance Class in which I taught dance techniques - both classical and contemporary, I suggested different exercises to practice coordination, spatial awareness, performativity and partnering, and we worked on improvisation and a task-based approach to dance.

Michael_Creating street dance - 4 © Michael Maurissens A second course followed: the screen dance workshop, in which I taught the dancers the different phases of producing a short dance film, and for this process I developed a step-by-step system:
- Practicing dancing for the camera - what is the difference between performing on stage and in front of the camera?
- Practicing filming the dancing body.
- When I dance in a space, I also make it a point to interact with the environment and allow the space to influence the movement.

The last three weeks were dedicated to shooting and editing the dance films. Each of the 8 dance students created their own dance film, they were responsible for the content, coordinating location, people, time and budget management, rehearsals, and artistic direction of the film. I was the cinematographer and editor on all projects - and the overall coordinator of the project.

Michael_Creating street dance - 11 © Michael Maurissens The screen dance format is a perfect platform for everyone to engage and be creative at their own level. It fosters individual skills and interests, and encourages ambition and curiosity for experimental creation.

The entire project was designed as a collaborative practice, where everyone both supported and was supported by the other dance creators, learned from each other, and proceeded with the most open attitude possible, using non-violent communication and always encouraging dialogue and exchange.

Collaborative creative processes are very exciting and fulfilling. However, they require a great deal of care in establishing and applying common understandings among all participants to create clarity. Expectations, roles, emotions, skills, interests, needs, non-verbal communication... these are just a few of many elements that need to be seriously considered, defined and carefully articulated before and during the process.

This is what I see as my third focus with this project: creating an artistic framework that invites everyone, supports everyone's interests, and encourages engagement. I have been working as part of a dancer collective for over 12 years and am still learning and deepening my knowledge of collaborative creation processes. This was a fantastic setting for me to practice artistic creation, leadership, mentoring and intense exchange with other dancers from a different cultural dimension.

Michael_Creating Screendance 12 © Michael Maurissens The seven intense weeks with the dancers, getting to know each other through dancing together, improvising, sharing ideas and deepening practices, was a great and enriching experience for everyone. I have learned to be open and transparent, and I have succeeded in creating a clear framework that invites the dancers involved to contribute, participate, challenge themselves, flourish, interact with the others, learn, share, express themselves, experiment ... In a respectful and productive way.

I have really come to appreciate Bangalore. It takes a while to get over the overwhelming energy, noise level, and challenging environment, but then a wonderful world opens up. The smiling eyes and sensitivity of the open-hearted people I met in Bangalore will stay with me for a long time.

Films created by the students:

Sivany Krishnan

Junafar Juno

Anuraj Rajendran

Sravan Selvan

Rashka Sankar

Dhinesh Kumar

Yashodha Rasanduni

Akshita Dutt