We’ve all experienced conceptual dance performances at least once, but have we ever stopped to think about how dance can be a form of art? Contemporary dance and choreography is something that we think art girls across the globe should really be paying more attention to, which is why we wanted to introduce you to Franka Marlene Foth. A dancer and choreographer, Franka Marlene has worked on films, performances, exhibitions and fashion collaborations with the likes of Nike, Off-White and Nowness. During quarantine, she choreographed a film called __030__, which premiered in Vogue Germany, giving us serious inspo to get moving while inside. So, we spoke to Franka Marlene about what drew her to dancing and dance’s place within the art world.
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing at the age of 7 and never stopped again.
When did you turn from dancer to choreographer, and what was that transition like?
First it was kind of an unconscious process. I was working as a dancer for many years already. At one point I clearly felt that I wanted to do things differently to what I was asked to do and it started that I was never really satisfied within the concepts I was working in. Slowly I began to realize that I want to put my own visions into shape and that I have to start working on that instead of being an executive for the ideas of others. I had visions and my head is always full of creations that I want to express in my own way.
Where do you think dance sits in the art world? And how do you think we can appreciate dance more in an art context?
Slowly dance is more appreciated in the art world but sadly most of the time in a very conceptual way. The purity of movement is still not really accepted as an art form that stands for itself I think. People always need explanations of why someone dances or why someone creates this and that movement. That is not always necessary. Just enjoy it! Just accept it and let it move you – or not. Appreciate the fact that people are able to express with their bodies what words can’t. You don’t even have to understand it or think too much about it. I also don’t see it as my responsibility to make people understand it or appreciate it. It is subjective what a person takes from watching performances. Ether they connect with it or not.
Who and what are your inspirations?
My inspiration comes mostly from music and sound. But also the things that I experience, the people that surround me or whoever or whatever crosses my way. I find inspiration in other art forms, in nature and in sports. Other bodies inspire me, other dancers. I always try to take everything in and constantly develop myself. It’s an ongoing process and my inspirations change day by day.
What have you been up to in quarantine?
I actually worked as I am a workaholic which in my case it the best as you maybe can imagine. It doesn’t feel like work. But mainly I focused on going deeper into things I normally don’t have too much time for. Like listening to music. And just that. Really listening, not working or creating to it and not letting it play while doing something else. I also read a lot, had hours of phone calls with friends . Finally ! And I took long walks alone. Very head and heart opening by the way.
How should we get moving while staying indoors?
Just put some music on, let it float through your body and start moving at your own pace. Whatever suits you. Stay physical.
You directed a film during quarantine, can you tell me about that?
Despite the current situation, many dancers haven’t stopped creating or developing themselves individually. So many of their uploaded videos, however, disappear into the black hole of the Instagram Algorithm. The idea behind __030__ was to create a video where the importance of Art in the form of Dance and Choreography together with the turning inwards of the physical self are set together in one context. It’s vital to move, to dance, in order to keep creativity alive, in order to inspire. Working within a predefined aesthetic framework and my guidelines that allow the distinct pictures to authentically work together in an edit, the dancers themselves created each individual video from which the short film __030__ was produced. In short; a video that gives the dancers a virtual stage on which they can present themselves and perform.
What are your hopes and plans for the future?
My hope is to be able to continue working on things I am passionate about. I am not a big fan of planning too far ahead. Things tend to turn out different anyways. Of course I have some goals and I will reach them by going with the flow.