Gizem Aksu is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and instructor based in Istanbul Turkey. She is now working in Aakash Odedra Company’s dance project in New York University Abu Dhabi in the UAE. In this interview, she shared with us her dance-related background, her thoughts on this current project and her ideas on how dance raises self-awareness and thus helps solve sociopolitical problems. Here is a quick look at our interview.
So how did you meet Aakash? Was it in Turkey?
Yeah. It was, I think, five or six years ago. Aakash came to Istanbul for dance festival. Aakash came to our department to study dance with us, to teach us actually. In the mornings, we were doing technique classes, contemporary techniques, his techniques.
We’ve heard that this dance piece that you are doing is trying to address some world crises, like refugee crisis, political turmoil, community conflicts. What do you think the relationship is between dance and those crises? How do you think dance can help solve some of the problems that exist in this world?
For me this is a big philosophical question that I always think about. Because I’m coming from the political science in the first degree. And then after studying political science, I started dancing. The political context and sociopolitical context and economic context are always in my mind when I am living. It is part of the ground we are living on. Dance for me and life is so connected and the politics of life are so connected as well. So they are really in a relationship.
This is going to be a general question, so what do you hope to achieve in dance overall? What is your ultimate personal and career goal in terms of dancing?
Last year in 2017, I experienced to be a human through dancing. Sometimes when I was sitting, just the sense came to my mind, and came to my body, yes. I’m so happy in the world to be a human, experience the role to be a human. For me dance is really in a relation to this essence, to feel, to sense, to sense the space, sense the time, sense the movement, in and around, because each of them is changing. For me in my career, in a point I’m so happy with it, because I’m traveling too much, I’m creating too much, I’m meeting with different people in different contexts, and it’s feeding me as a human. Because I come from a very intellectual background, yes, experiencing the world, me, not through the books, not through the articles, through myself, through the other bodies, other people, feelings, the movement of feeling.