MonkeyMind Company is a Belgian contemporary dance and performance company based in Ghent and founded in 2018 by dancer/choreographer Lisi Estaras. For over 20 years, Lisi Estaras has been dancing with les ballets C de la B/Alain Platel while also developing her own work within the collective. Creating her own company was the next step in her trajectory as a choreographer and dancer.
In recent years, the work of Lisi can be described as an ongoing research into her ‘Monkey Mind’ dance language. The Monkey Mind language came to exist rather accidentally. By pushing the velocity of movement, she discovers a strange disconnection between the brain and the body. The body is faster than the brain and as a result they go their separate ways. “Monkey Mind” refers to the endless chatter in your head when you jump from thought to thought and emotion to emotion. Rather than being in the here and now, the Monkey Mind method focuses on one thought after another.
In the subsequent creations Patchagonia, primero-erscht and Dans Dans, Lisi uses this specific state of being to create movement material for others and gradually it became a dramaturgical structure of the entire performance.
During the creation of the production Monkey Mind for Platform-K (Ghent), she discovers new opportunities to further develop her dance language thanks to the very specific interaction with dancers with Down Syndrome. She experiences that they approach dance and movement rather as a stream of thoughts with very basic instinctive movements around recurrent themes as anxiety, distraction, awkwardness, impulsiveness, confusion,humorand ambiguity. High energy that triggers the choreographies and the visualization of different movements/states/expressions, are important features of the Monkey Mind language as physical poetry. The body is allowed to talk by itself as it is the carrier of the emotional and physical history of the creators’ identity and self.
Lisi’s research in kinesthetics, empathy and mirror neurons leads her to the exploration of the world of Art (dance) Brut, outsider art and artists. The compulsory activities, repetitive actions, the necessity to create a very personal world, giving shape to primal impulses… become sources of inspiration for her choreographies.
In February 2019, the first production of MonkeyMind Company – The Jewish Connection Project – premières in Ghent, CAMPO/Nieuwpoortteater, Impulztanz, Julidans… Beginning of March 2020, SONICO – The Heart Is the Muscle We Like to Work Out is shown for the first time in De Grote Post, Oostende.
MonkeyMind company’s third project is the solo performance #THISISBEAUTY by Lisi Estaras, celebrating her 50th birthday. #THISISBEAUTY has the avant-première during the festival Bits of Dance in Kaap, Brugge in February 2022.
Artistic and other companions of Lisi Estaras are Ido Batash, Sara Vanderieck, Ariel Eberstein, Maribeth Diggle, Ayelen Parolin, Constanza Macras, Fernando Amado, Carmen Mehnert, Quan Bui Ngoc, Helmut Van Den Meersschaut, Nicole Petit, Gaia Saitta, Yohan Vallée,…
MonkeyMind Company is supported on an ad hoc basis by the Flemish Government, the City of Ghent, les ballets C de la B, CAMPO and KC Voo?uit.