Introducing a new column called Women In Power: DANCE. The ballet studios are filled with women at the dancer level… more women than men. Once you climb the power ladder that changes dramatically. Why is that? In this series I will highlight leading women in Dance.
Estefania Miranda, born in 1975 in Chile, received at the age of 15 a scholarship from the European Council and started her dance studies in Edinburgh. She completed her studies at the University of Arts Tilburg/Netherlands. During this time she worked in both Ireland and Belgium as a dancer, and in her third year of study she was offered a contract with the Ismael Ivo Company. She was a soloist in Ivo’s choreographies and toured with his company internationally. Beside her work with the renowned choreographer Ismael Ivo, head of the International Dance Festival Vienna and the Biennale di Venezia/Dance, she collaborated with many other significant artists, such as Gerald Thomas/New York, Marcio Aurelio/Sao Paolo and George Tabori,at the Schaubühne Berlin.
Estefania Miranda worked meanwhile as a choreographer for drama productions and developed her own full-length choreographies at the Deutsches National Theater Weimar. She also held a teaching position at the University of Arts in Leipzig.
In 2000 she became an actress and member of the acting ensemble of the Deutsches National Theater Weimar. Several projects followed, in which she performed as dancer and actress, among others at the Schauspiel Hannover, Cairo Opera House and with Hans van den Broeck, co-founder of Les ballets C de la B for International Dance Festival Vienna.
She founded the Company Estefania Miranda and purchased her own production center in Berlin in 2009. Her productions, acclaimed by both press and public, were produced and shown internationally. She became in 2010 curator for dance at the Deutsches National Theater Weimar and artistic director of the International Dance Festival Weimar, which was created by her. Estefania Miranda is since 2013 director of the dance department of Konzert Theater Bern, where she choreographs for her ensemble and she has the artistic direction the festival Tanzplattform Bern.
Why do you think there are so few women in positions of power in dance?
There are much more women in powerful positions in dance than in other working fields, but it’s true that we still recognize the power of a patriarchal society that disadvantages women and minorities.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to do what you’re doing now?
Yes, I started dancing from the moment I was able to balance myself on my two feet and I was always creating small performances for my family and their friends.
I like dancers who…
…have their own artistic identity.
I am afraid of…
…structures that kill artistic impulses.
A dance piece should…
…mirror our reality and show different perspectives on it.
What inspires you?
Observing people and trying to understand who they are.
One of the hardest things about your job?
I feel creating a dance piece is like jumping into an abyss. I try to free myself from past experiences that could create a conceptual frame that filters natural impulses. You have to open yourself to the unknown, question yourself and deal with insecurity, in order to not just produce a piece, instead of create art.
Something you like to do other your current job?
I love the moment in a creation, when I see that an information, an idea, or a concept I tried to pass to the dancers, become alive inside of them, the moment when an intellectual proposal is fully embodied and becomes sensual.
One of your most unusual or coolest experiences?
Once, I did not have enough financial resources to construct a set for a dance piece I was choreographing, we invited the audience to a sort of happening, where we building the set all together. We shared work and living for few days with these people, who where truly committed to my work and this was very touching.
One of the most embarrassing moments in your professional career?
When I was working as an actress, a colleague with whom I was playing a dialogue, suddenly left stage during a performance. She had a complete blackout and I had to continue for at least 10 more minutes alone on stage trying to improvise on a text that was written for two actors.
Who has been the most influential person/people in your life? or Career? and why?
I guess it was Pina Bausch. When I was 13 year old, I felt I wanted to become a professional dancer, but I knew that I did not wanted be a ballerina. There was not much other than ballet by that time in Chile, where I was born. Then I saw a piece of Pina Bausch in the Goethe Institute and suddenly it was clear that this was the type of dance I wanted to do. This was the moment, when I decide to leave my home country and try to become a dancer in Europe.
Something you would change in the DANCE world?
I wish more dancers would be able to dance until they are aged and I wish more people would see the beauty of an aged body, on which life has written its history and experiences.
Something you would change in the REAL world?
First of all myself.
Do you have any goals you still wish to achieve?
To work intensively without being stressed and to enjoy moments of rest without being bored.
A question you want to know the answer to:
I like questions and I am afraid of simple answers. I believe there is no right or wrong in art, no judgment, only differences and no answers.
A piece of advice for aspiring artists?
“Dark Matters” choreographed by Crystal Pite.
Main photo by :Beat Mummenthaler