URBAN JUNGLE PROJECT - a personal insight by ANASMA

Urban Jungle will be performed on Sunday February 14th 2016 at GZ Hirzenbach, Zürich (17.00).

Read ANASMA's fascinating personal account of her journey and exploration with 9 dancers during her project hosted by ZeoT Zürich:


Over the course of six 12 hour week-ends, 9 adventurous dancers have followed me in my crazy choreographer’s jungle brain.

At first we learned about each other, and discover each one’s process of transmission and of learning. Sometimes we had to face a language barrier, which made communication very physical … and the group bonded quickly ! Nine beautiful souls… of course.

Yes, during the first workshops, we did have some fears emerging: will we be able to achieve this ambitions target of creating a full show with dance professionals and amateurs in such little time…? « Anasma’s style is so challenging, how can my body do that ? »  But our doubts were soon erased by the dancers’ willingness to give their best, to explore, without judging themselves nor blocking their capacities. Patience, pratice, faith, strong will are the key in periods of hardship and doubt…

I have been able to witness each dancers’ growth over the course of the week-ends, what a pleasure to be able to build on a longer run with a group. For such a project, dancers were required to be reactive, focused, generous and willing to learn in the process. It is really a challenge as we are coming up with new material each week-end, to present to an audience after only two days per month of work all together. 12 days in total…  It is normal to want to look confortable with the new challenges and lessons learned in public. Being connected to ourselves and to our dance partners, listening to the group, feeling the group... was the necessary milestone to succeeding in this mission and to achieve our tableaus of Urban Jungle Pilot edition in Zurich.

Each week-end, I tried entering the process of creation from a different angle/ perspective, in order to be surprised by the present moment, also to adapt myself to the capacities of each dancer, and not get bored or too predictable. From standing to floor, from waving to bellydance, from Modern Jazz to Yoga and Contemporary… the work alternated between offering technical training, combinations and corrections, setting rigourous counts for choreographies, but also creative exploration, using the space and making interesting dynamic group formations, adding, subtracting, transposing, variating on the theme.

Many times, dancers were given the task of creating spontaneously solo or small group material that they would then need to transform, to complete. We worked with various sources : organic movements, images, music base, storylines, character development… Sometimes we built group combos with each dancer contributing one move.

Initially, I really wanted to let the creation process be as organic as possible, not decide too much in advance each detail. On Friday evenings, I would jot down/ brainstorm ideas of the images/ formations/ actions/ types of exercices/ specific animals and interactions/ do animal video movement analysis,  I wanted to work with the group on the animal of the week-end… Eventually, starting from the third week-end, I came up with an efficient method of work : create the maximum material on Saturday, film then, at night – on my own, using the films, I would organise, cut up the music and map it, and come up with a set master plan for the next day, with detailed trajectories for each dancer… and trying to get some sleep somehow…With time passing, we had to create shorter new pieces and spend more time on cleaning the past creations.

Each dancer was invited to create a short animal solo of one to three minutes long, that I coached. Each one of them gave in to the courageous process and has learned facing creation. I am so grateful for their availibility, willingness to try, give a chance, even if it was hard. In the end, they all progressed so much. As a teacher, it is rewarding to see that my ideal of giving challenging things to work with pays off… Otherwise, we stagnate… Many of the solos we integrated into the group ensembles enable to offer a more interesting line up overall with smooth transitions, each solo serving the larger message and purpose of the show. Professional dancers have also been invited to performpieces that will give a chance to the Urban Jungle ensemble to rest or change costumes. As much as we could, we created transitions between guest and the ensemble.

Before we started, their were many uncertainties, besides my plan in my head and my visions… I did not know what to expect, who were the dancers, how we would create with each one of them, whether or not I would be able to realize my visions… Now we have a team and I am so proud of each one of them.

It has been a wonderful experience for me, I learned so much from you all.
Thank you all Urban jungle dancers. I love you all.


Special Thanks to Alia and Simone and ZEOT for making this possible, and for your friendship,

to Meissoun for being a generous caring host and compagnon,

to all the dancers, Simone, Fabienne, Gaelle, Mona, Serana, Sara, Mara, Eva, Amira for being so generous, proactive, supportive, loving. More special thanks to Simone for also being a great Dance captain and animal specialist consultant.

Also to the professional guests for helping make the show be more amazing, Simone, Alia, Lisa, Meissoun, Arnaldo, Julie.


Thank you all for your trust in my vision. Dreams can come true.
Let’s meet again in 2017 in Zeot ! I want to do this again !!!