Naga Collective is a Belgian circus company founded by Jatta Borg, María José (‘Majo’) Cázares, Mari Stoknes and Viola Baroncelli, graduates from the Lido in Toulouse and ESAC in Brussels. The company will have its first show premiere in Brussels’ UP ! Festival in March 2018. They are at the Grainerie from February 26th to March 9th in order to finish their creation. We interviewed the four circus artists along with Virgnie Strub, director.
What is Naga Collective ?
Although based in Bruxelles, this is a very international circus company. We mix languages in work (we speak seven languages between the five of us!), and we compose with our six different circus disciplines. In « Persona », our first production, we have strived to create a hybrid language between circus, dance and theatre. In the show we are constantly on stage and each of us integrates the disciplines of the others, which is not always comfortable… We do not separate circus from the other components, but instead use them all as dramaturgical elements like any other, hence creating coherency in the writing.
Why have you borrowed one of Jung’s archetypes of psychoanalysis, the Persona, as a departure of your research?
Persona is the social mask we carry to move in the world. This mask helps us to interact with others, but paradoxically, it prevents us from living fully. There is also the shadow, what we do not show. The shadow, which is essentialy pure selfishness and much less controlled, very often has a negative connotation ; Yet it also constitutes our share of creativity. We are in the very heart of the human tragedy !
Our work is based on both, in how they play out in our relationship to others and ourselves.
You are in La Grainerie these days for a residency. What is your schedule like?
We were in the theater during the first week, and so we worked on our lights. In the studio, we’re taking time to refine the scenes, work on details, focus on emotions. This residency is precious to us as we are about to have our première.
You live between Toulouse, Brussels and Oslo. How do you organize and manage to work together while apart?
Majo and Viola are in charge of most organization because they live in Brussels, the company’s base of operations. We all multitask, do a lot ourselves and even though it is difficult to do so much at once, we really like the investment that puts us in a role of entrepreneur, it makes us learn a lot. Fortunately, we had very helpful partners and godfathers like Espace Catastrophe, ILES asbl and more experienced artists.
We communicate a lot through Skype and created a private Facebook page to solve urgent issues. We also use Wunderlist, a task-managing app, and slowly we have gotten to know each other better and created our own communication rhythm and channels. We mostly communicate in French, which sometimes makes understanding tricky since it’s not our first language. And to handle concepts and collaborative tools for such different people could have been a Tower of Babel…
Naga Collective is :
6 countries : Belgium, Mexico, Finland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland
7 languages : French, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, English
6 disciplines: Chinese pole, vertical rope, hair suspension, contortion, acrodance, handbalancing
6 words evoking Persona : multilayered, visceral, hybrid, raw, relatable, tectonic plates
© Bernard Boccara