MonkeyMind Company 

MonkeyMind Company is a Belgian contemporary dance and performance company based in Ghent and founded in 2017 by dancer/choreographer Lisi Estaras.

For over 20 years, Lisi Estaras has been dancing with les ballets C de la B. In that period of time, she also developed her own work, under the umbrella of les ballets. Creating her 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 ‘MonkeyMind’ dance language. The MonkeyMind language came to exist rather accidentally. By pushing the velocity of movement, she discovered a strange disconnection between her brain and her body. The body was faster than the brain and as a result they went their separate ways. "Monkey Mind" refers to the endless chatter in your head when you jump from thought to thought, emotion to emotion, like a monkey from tree to tree. 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 used 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 (Gent),  she discovered new opportunities for her dance language thanks to the very specific interaction with dancers with Down Syndrome…. She experienced 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, and ambiguity. High energy that triggers the choreographies and the visualization of different movement/states/expressions, are important features of the MonkeyMind-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 led her to the exploration of the world of art (dance) brut, outsiders art and artists. The compulsory activities, repetitive actions, the necessity to create a very personal world, giving shape to primal impulses… became sources of inspiration in the choreographies.

In February 2019, the first production of MonkeyMind Company – The Jewish Connection Project - premièred in Ghent, Nieuwpoortteater. Beginning of March 2020, SONICO - The Heart Is the Muscle We Like to Work Out was shown for the first time in De Grote Post, Oostende. 

The last production by MonkeyMind Company is  a solo performance by Lisi, celebrating her 50th birthday #THISISBEAUTY. 

Artistic 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…

The company’s partners on a regular basis are MA Scène Nationale Pays de Montbéliard (FR), Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Ghent/Antwerp (BE), KC Nona Mechelen (BE), KAAP Brugge (BE),  BAMP Bruxelles (BE) and Tanzhaus Zürich (CH).

MonkeyMind Company is supported by the Flemish Government for #THISISBEAUTY and receives structural subsidies from the city of Ghent.