Ones to Watch: Monica Nicolaides
Monica is a choreographer & dancer as well as the Artistic Director of MonixArts.
Congratulations on being featured as one of Hiive’s ‘Ones to Watch’! Can you introduce yourself and your creative work/interests?
I am a choreographer and the Artistic Director of MonixArts, a contemporary dance company based in London. As a dancer I performed London Olympic Ceremonies, BSkyB, The V&A, The Barbican, Universal Studios, Dance Digital, mapdance, LCP Dance Theatre, Atlantic Films, Torifune Butoh-Sha, amongst others. My choreographic portfolio includes commissions from the British Medical Association, Homs Arthaus, Third Row Dance, The University of Cumbria, Dance Digital, Marylebone Ballet School and Carpe Diem Dance.
My work focuses on human behavior and relationships, the perception of body language and how that changes depending on a social context. I’m fascinated by the fact that our body holds and emits so much information about our psyche at any given time and how we read others. It’s our innate capacity of communicating and understanding each other. I take inspiration from Darwin’s theories, so my work investigates the subtle links between acquired behavior and natural impulses in human nature. It is very physical, with influences from martial arts.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I am working with visual artist ‘Hallidonto’ on a performance installation, which will be part of his upcoming exhibition in a gallery space. The piece takes inspiration from his drawings and paintings, looking at Post-humanism, the Cyborg, and the loss of flesh. I think it’s going to be a really cool piece! The costumes are wicked, and the collaborators on this project are fantastic. We are integrating technology with movement and art in a unique way.
Also, with MonixArts, we are back in the studio rehearsing our latest work ‘SIGNS’. It’s a contemporary dance duet that fuses BSL with dance and looks at the relationship between two strangers – a hearing person and a deaf person. It’s about the loss, or lack of communication; the barriers of communicating. I guess it tackles the notion of social behavior, the perceived ‘norm’ and the grey areas that exist within it. It will be performed at OFFBeat Festival in Oxford on 28th June.
What are your future creative ambitions?
My main focus is to develop my creative approach by constantly challenging myself. Be it changing the creative process, the environment, the theme or nature of the work. I love working with other artists and at the moment I’m interested in more collaborations. It gives you the opportunity to be inspired by each other, and collectively push the work somewhere unexpected.
Also, I’ve been working on projects that integrate technology and I really want to explore that more. I think there are so many possibilities of creating something amazing, especially with all the digital platforms that are available nowadays. Film and motion tracking are the two areas I’m interested in, because they can influence how the body and movement are presented, ultimately changing the final work.
What advice would you give people aspiring to work in a similar creative field?
Someone told me this a while ago and it stayed with me: “I’m like the Rail system. I keep re-investing in myself to improve and make myself better and better.” It was such good advice, because it puts things in perspective. If you want to be good, you need to be proactive. Keep refining your creative process, continue to take class, attend galleries, go to the theatre, support other artists; whatever keeps your creative juices flowing.
Look for opportunities and if you can’t find any, create them. Connect with people, and soon you’ll find that the people you supported will support you too. This industry is smaller than people think, so you want to be someone people want to work with.
To see some of Monica's work, take a look at her website HERE.