Work placement reflections from Belgian dance student Lisa Vanwonterghem from our Vincent Mantsoe residency in May

“Experiences with ACE”
Meanwhile it is quite some time ago I’ve spend one week at the ACE dance & music company. I had some time to think about my time there and what I have seen and experienced in this short amount of time.
ACE is a group that works really hard and does a lot of training, even though training can be tough it gives you still some kind of satisfaction afterwards. In my case I think I needed some good training and I really felt it and got it there. It’s not always easy to keep on going if it is so heavy, but these dancers are motivated and love what they do and this is also the motivation that keeps them working. To get the things that you want are never easy to get, but if you really want them you will do the best you can to achieve this.
In that week I mostly observed a lot the rehearsals, which was still quite interesting to see how they work and to watch a part of the process to the performance itself. I also really hope I will be able to see the result in their performance. The way how Vincent Mantsoe works with these dancers is very energetic, at the end of the week the dancers were exhausted, but somehow through the energy that Vincent has, the dancers get energy to follow this. We spoke together also about the title of the performance, ‘Mana’. To see what it means for all of us, what ‘Mana’ is for each of us. I remember that we started a very long discussion into different philosophical and religious minds, which didn’t make it useless to talk about if it is less in your interest. If there is no discussion between people about Mana, it means that the thing you think is Mana for you is probably not your real Mana after all. You will always feel like you want to prove your Mana is the best, no matter what somebody else thinks, because you are already convinced this is the right explanation.
I think Mana for me is that it’s very important to love the job that you are doing, especially when it comes to dance or other artistic forms. You need a lot of motivation to keep your interest and the drive to go on.
In this company I found that drive in the group which creates as I think the right atmosphere to work together and the right feeling or intention on stage. When I go to watch a ballet performance, most of the time I think it is well performed and everything had the good technique. The only thing is that I hardly ever get the feeling of wanting to see more.
If I see a contemporary performance where I can see the joy and the meaning of the story within expressions and emotional context, it gives me the feeling to run on stage and join the other dancers. In my opinion this is because the work and the dancers themselves share the same motivation to tell something to the audience, it has a heart!
See you next time ACE!