Irene Campos is from Costa Rica, she began her dance studies in classical ballet. At the age of 16, she joined JF Ballet Contemporáneo under the direction of professor Jorge Feliz Morejón. It was there Irene was introduced to contemporary dance and continued her apprenticeship.
You are touring the UK and internationally with 19 dates in 6 countries, what are you most looking forward to about this?
After an intense process of creation with different choreographers, it is very gratifying to to reach the touring stage. Traveling and being exposed to different cultures makes this a very exciting journey. I hope to meet different artists and soak up knowledge about dance in different countries.
How do the different cultures in the company (Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, USA and the UK) come together? In which ways do you inspire each other?
During my time with EDGE I have grown a lot culturally; from the different types of dance and education that my classmates have gone through, to learning the language of others. Interacting with such different cultures has given us laughter and funny moments, by having conversations in other languages or making bad translations. The fact that most of us come from different countries has allowed us to find a small family, in and outside the studio, since many of us traveled to the UK without knowing anyone here.
You are working with four contrasting choreographers, what are the different ways of working and how do you adapt to each?
Some of the choreographers had pre-established ideas of what they wanted to do, so the work started a little faster, while others took more time to explore ideas. Two choreographers decided to work with the physicality of the dancers, while the other two worked from a slightly more abstract point of view. Personally, I tried to have an open attitude to what each choreographer had to give without preconceptions. This mentality helped me to understand that sometimes it is better not to have any kind of expectation in order to be able to give your best. Despite the fact that each of them worked very differently, they all had the exploration and knowledge in common of what us as dancers had to offer as a basis for their piece.
What can audiences expect from the mixed bill?
The show ranges from directed improvisation to small theatrical and spoken parts. The complete programme has a calm tone that also displays our physicality. As I mentioned before, each choreographer dedicated valuable time to explore what we had to offer, which means the viewer can learn a little more about us through the pieces.
What do you hope to learn and achieve throughout the tour?
I hope this experience is full of learning and growth. I hope that after the tour I will be a different person and dancer as I want to learn everything that is within my reach - from how to make connections with other artists and other cultures to how to react in a professional manner. Not only has the performance part of the tour really excited me but the workshops we will be involved with too. I hope that after this tour I feel ready to expose myself more to the professional field of dance in Europe.
What has the process taught you about yourself so far?
The process has taught me that I still have a lot to learn. I think that if you are really passionate about what you do, you will always need to learn more and more and this time has allowed me to remember that. Since I started with EDGE, many doors have opened artistically speaking. I know myself better as a dancer and what I would like to do after finishing EDGE.
One of your performances in Portugal is dedicated to works created by yourselves, how does this add to your experience?
I have not done any choreography for some time so I am excited to explore creating again. Previously I have only presented my own works in Costa Rica for small audiences, so to exhibit my work in another country and in front different audiences gives me many emotions - but mainly joy. I hope that people who see my work can know a little more about me and enjoy what myself and my colleagues will share.
How do you feel being a member of EDGE has helped to prepare you for professional life?
Without a doubt, I feel more prepared for the European work environment now than when I arrived in London some months ago. Having a routine with a full schedule has also helped me remember the importance of consistency and effort in order to see results. I think that professionalism is a concept that expresses itself in small acts throughout life and is a title for which you have to work hard. Being a professional implies for me to be present and prepared for the challenges that the chosen career involves, in this case: dance.
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