Interview with Tara D’Arquian

Tara Headshot

The Independent’s ‘One to watch’, Tara D’Arquian is a Belgian choreographer based between London and Brussels.  After graduating from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Tara specialized in Choreological Studies. Tara is a regular lecturer and teacher at Trinity Laban and Central School of Speech and Drama.
Her choreographic practice spreads from film, stage to site-specific performance making. Her interest lays in the investigation of the role of contemporary performance practice in the search for existential meaning.  In 2013, Tara was awarded the first site-sensitive Compass Commissions supported by Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban partnership for which she conceived In Situ, the first site-sensitive work of a trilogy on identity.
In 2015, the project proposal Quests was nominated one of the 21 Highly Commended UK projects received by the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship.

D’Arquian was shortlisted for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Choreographer Award and the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship 2016. Quests, the second site-sensitive piece of her In Situ trilogy, was presented in Greenwich Dance’s home, The Borough Hall.

Tara’s projects and collaborations were presented at the Southbank Centre, The Place, the Gulbenkian Cinema (Canterbury), The Yard Theatre (Hackney Wick), the Shunt Vaults, Asylum (Peckham) and Greenwich Dance

Who or what is your biggest influence?

The most significant influence in my work is Choreology, the study of human movement for dance which I specialised in.

It’s a study that analyses and systemizes human movement. I find it fascinating how cleverly we use our body and how much knowledge the body upholds without being us being consciously aware of it.

Choreological principles are at the heart of my practice as a dance artist. Using this practice in dance making or in other movement-based practices is a similar process than the one of a painter who has an overall vision for a piece and must materialize it by carefully choosing the colours and the type of paint he must use to materialize it.
As a dance maker or movement director, choreology provides me with the tools to bring specific movement qualities to life.

What piece of work that you have done are you most satisfied with and why?

I see my work as one big continued body of work ; each piece is related to all the others in one way or another which means that each new work has the capacity to keep altering works of the past.
I’ve asserted this artistic vision by openly presenting my latest works as part of a trilogy of work (trilogy that somehow manages to encompass more than three works…!). I guess the sense of consistency of my work in that respect is what I am most satisfied with.

 What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?

Everybody is different and the actions each individual must take in the pursuit of their artistic vision will change over time. In my case, I find that today I must take opposite actions than I used to. Instead of applying to each and every call out, residency or grant, as I used to in the past, I judge wiser to be more specific and maybe “do a bit less”.
The best advice I could therefore give now is:  “KEEP CHECKING IN WITH YOURSELF about what is it is you are sincerely trying to achieve and constantly refine your vision”.It’s too easy to get lost in the quest and forget “why” we ever started wanting to do what we do. Which leads us to:  “Don’t get lost in the production of your work and PRACTICE YOUR ART, in any way, in any context and under any form you can. Choreography a piece on your little cousins in the garden at the family gathering if you can’t afford dancers and studio space. (I’m only half joking..!).”

Don’t wait to have the funding to develop your skills as an artist, use every opportunity to make your art. Don’t lose sight of the target.

What excites you about movement and choreography?

Humanity, I think. Moving is intrinsic to being human. It is therefore through moving ourselves and seeing others in motion that we connect to others, make sense of ourselves and of others.
Choreographying is the organisation of movement in space and time and from the choices one makes as a choreographer emerge stories. What excites me about choreography is the fact that movement carries meaning and that by shaping moving bodies in space, one can dictate and/or imply that meaning. Besides, when one becomes so attentive and initiated to the meaning of movement, one can play with breaking rules and expectations.
The reason why I’ve become a choreographer is because I’ve always been curious to understand and communicate emotions so complex and intangible that it is almost impossible for them to be expressed through words.

 If you hadn’t been a choreographer, what would you have been?

Before I decided to become a professional dancer (which led me to choreography), I wanted to be a fashion designer.

 What’s the best live performance you’ve seen in the past year?

Crystal Pite’s “Betroffenheit”.