‘When we succeed in becoming so absorbed in something that our mind becomes completely one with it, we are in a state of Samadhi. Samadhi means “to bring together, to merge.” In Samadhi our personal identity-name, profession, family history, etc. completely disappears. In the moment of Samadhi none of that exists anymore. Nothing separates us from the object of our choice; instead we blend and become one with it.’
Serve the (He)Arts
Samadhi Dance Company o.l.v. Vraja Sundari Keilman is een modern dansgezelschap gevestigd in Amsterdam en Baarn. De company is bekend voor haar werk met artiesten in andere disciplines en de fusie van verschillende dansstijlen. Vooral de keuze van muziek is van groot belang bij de producties van het gezelschap.
De inhoud van deze producties zijn een fusie van de historische Vedas met Westerse kunst en danstechnieken.De voorstellingen van de Samadhi Dance Company zijn vaak moderne balletten met sterke invloeden van traditionele Indische dans, yoga, theater, jazz/urban en klassiek ballet. De dansers zijn geschoold in diverse dansstijlen en sommigen zijn ook actief in de wereld van zang en drama. Het gezelschap heeft tot nu toe twaalf avondvullende voorstellingen gemaakt en de online fanbase is inmiddels gegroeid naar 30.000+ fans verspreid over de hele wereld.
De productie Saranágati heeft begin 2012 de Dans Publieksprijs van Nederland gewonnen voor Beste Dansvoorstelling van 2011. Andere voorstellingen van het gezelschap zijn Hanuman (driemaal genomineerd voor de Dans Publieksprijs van 2015), Atma (2015/2016), Pavan (2016), 2FOLDA/G (2015) en 2FOLDH/Y (2014), Tusta (tweemaal genomineerd voor de Dans Publieksprijs van 2013), Mohini (2012), Bho (2009/2010), Vizve (2009), Daya (2008), Navarasa Gauri (2007/ 2008) en Blue Boy (2007).
The Samadhi Dance Company is a Netherlands-based contemporary dance company, famous for their unique presentation of devotion and fusion in dance. Original work by artistic director and founder Vraja Sundari Keilman is created and performed worldwide by high quality dancers of various backgrounds. The company is renowned for its collaborations with artists in other disciplines and their innovative fusion of various dance styles. The choice of music in particular has a major influence on the creation process of the productions. The contents of these productions are characterized by integrating knowledge of the ancient Vedas with Western art and dance techniques. The vocabulary of the company is based on contemporary ballet, with strong influences of Bharata Natyam (traditional Indian dance), yoga, theater, modern jazz, urban and classical ballet, to create a wider range of movements and surpass cultural boundaries. The productions of the company are described by Europe’s leading site Bachtrack as “ a blend of traditional Indian tales and contemporary elements that grabs people’s imagination and spreads feel-good vibes: a golden combination that defines the identity of Samadhi Dance Company”.
Founded in 2007, the Samadhi Dance Company quickly captured the hearts of its international audiences by performing award-winning productions by a diverse and charismatic ensemble of dancers, presenting a profoundly physical and philosophical approach to movement, expression and theatrical dance. Emphasising the intention of the dancer in his or her movement, Sundari aims to free the performer of its physical identity to share the authentic expression of the soul, connecting with the viewer on a deeper, more universal level, creating a collective energy or in Sanskrit ‘rasa’ with the spectators. This ‘rasa’ aims to absorb both the viewer and performer to bring them into a state of ‘samadhi’, which means “to bring together, to merge.” In ‘samadhi’ our personal identity-name, profession, family history, etc. completely disappears. In the moment of ‘samadhi’ none of that exists anymore. Nothing separates us from the object of our choice; instead we blend and become one with it.
The Samadhi Dance Company is a small, independent company described by Bachtrack as a dance company “whose work brings a breath of fresh air to local theaters”, performed by dancers with an “unprecedented technical quality” (Dance Magazine). The company is celebrated as a genuine and devoted group of artistic individuals dedicated to contributing a healthy and wholesome approach to dance and performing arts in and outside of The Netherlands.
Samadhi also provides regular educational dance classes for children, teens and young (semi) professional dancers at its award-winning dance academy known as the Balletschool Marut Jorquera based in Baarn. The academy currently counts 160+ students and is directed by sisters and leading dancers of the company Vraja Sundari, Rasarani and Sarada Sarita Keilman. In 2013 the academy was awarded with the Culture Award for its qualitative classes and diverse range of dance styles. The company and its academy have been acclaimed by local and national organizations for its valuable contribution to the Dutch dance scene, both in the performing field as in educational dance.
Over the last nine years Samadhi has performed for over 30,000 audience members in countries such as Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Colombia and The Netherlands. The company’s online international fan base currently reaches up to 39,000+ followers. In 2012, the company is awarded with the national Dutch Dance Audience Award for ‘Best Dance Production of 2011’ at the Amsterdam RAI Theater. In 2014 the company is officially nominated for the national Dutch Dance Audience Award for its crossover dance production ‘Tusta’ and leading dancer Annlydie Groenen in the categories ‘Best Production of 2013’ and ‘Best Dancer of 2013’. The Samadhi Dance Company also partners outside the dance world on fashion, films, photography and commercial projects. The company’s collaboration with acclaimed photographer Karen Scheffers resulted in a two year global campaign for TAJ Hotels and Resorts – one of Asia’s largest and finest hotel company – among photographs by Lois Greenfield of the acclaimed Akram Khan Company and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Collaborations with fashion designer Mandali Mendrilla have been presented in numerous international magazines such as VOGUE, Elle, Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar.
In 2016 the company’s production ‘Hanuman’ and leading dancer Vraja Sundari Keilman caught the attention of fellow artists and press by receiving a nomination in both categories of the national Dutch Dance Audience Award for ‘Best Production of 2014’ and ‘Best Dancer of 2014’. Photographer Alexander van der Linden is awarded with the title ‘Dance Photo of the Year’ for his photograph of dancer Carl Refos in ‘Hanuman’. Mid 2016 the music video ‘Sri Radhe’ in collaboration with Grammy nominated artist Madi Das was announced as a finalist in the category ‘Music Videos’ at the Global Peace Song Awards.
Artistic highlights in 2014/15 included two successful co-productions with the renowned Theater De Meervaart in Amsterdam known as ‘2FOLD Hanuman/YAH’ and ‘2FOLD Atma/Gopika’. Sundari’s most ambitious piece to date ‘Hanuman’ presented its first Benelux Theatertour by the award-winning Theaterbureau SLOT during the fall season of 2015 and toured to the world famous Festival Internacional de Ballet in Cali and Bogota in Colombia.
Mid 2015 the company is commissioned by Ananda Monet and Radha Krishna Records based in London to create and perform a Mahabharata-themed dance production titled‘Atma’ at the Camden Centre in London, a dance creation entirely based on Monet’s groundbreaking album ‘Inevitable Time’. ‘Atma’ rapidly develops into an international success, adding to the diversity of the company’s repertoire and emphasizing Sundari’s choreographic versatility. In 2016 the company is commissioned by the international organization known as ISKCON to create and perform an authentic dance production titled ‘Pavan’ in tribute of its founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, from which several excerpts are presented during Samadhi’s annual Summer Tour of 2016 across Europe. For the remaining seasons of 2016 ‘Atma’ has been commissioned by the Museum of Sacred Arts/MOSA to perform at the European VIP Celebration of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary in the prestigious former palace known as BOZAR in Brussels. More exclusive performances of ‘Atma’ will follow at Logan Hall in London and at the TimeWaver World Congress in Frankfurt, Germany.
In 2017 the company will celebrate its 10-years anniversary by presenting the unique double bill ‘Between Worlds’ at the prestigious De La Mar Theater in Amsterdam, marking an era of non-stop creation and performances of in total 13 dance productions. Further tours and performances for 2017 include a tour of ‘Atma’ in Moscow and an international tour (pending) of ‘Hanuman’ in East-Asia organised by Kantor Pos.
Looking ahead to 2017 and 2018, new work will be created for the 2018 season and the company will be touring in Germany, Luxembourg, Russia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Sweden and Colombia to present work such as ‘Atma’, ‘Pavan’ and ‘Hanuman’ as well as Samadhi’s newest work ‘Gopika’ and ‘Between Worlds’. The coming years the company also aims to revisit repertory pieces such as ‘Bho’ and ‘Tusta’ with its junior division of the Balletschool Marut Jorquera, preparing a new generation of high caliber dancers.
HOME STUDIO AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS
In February 2012, Samadhi Dance Company relocated to its new permanent home in the characteristic former ‘flower villa’ at the Nieuwstraat in Baarn where the company shares its home studios with its partner Balletschool Marut Jorquera. Besides rehearsing, researching and creating, the Balletschool in collaboration with the main dancers of the company hosts year-round qualitative open classes and workshops . The academy currently serves 160+ regular students through weekly dance classes, various dance workshops, diverse projects, the annual school performances and the summer intensives. In 2013 the municipality of Baarn recognised the academy for its excellence and diverse range of classes by awarding the school with the prestigious Culture Award of 2013.
• Weekly Open Classes in contemporary dance and modern ballet: Exposes students to Samadhi’s creative approach to movement, expression and creation through the guidance of artistic director Vraja Sundari Keilman and dancers Rasarani Keilman, Sarada Sarita Keilman and Jeffrey Stuut.
• ‘Made By Us’ program : Allows students to choreograph and present their own work at a professional theatre every two years under guidance of Sundari and her company members.
• Lyrical Summer Dance Intensive: a 6-days intensive in collaboration with UK-based Spotlight School of Dance for intermediate students age 7 to 25 and led by sisters Sarada Sarita, Rasarani, Vraja Sundari and Gopi Keilman.
• Annual Samadhi Workshops for Professionals and Advanced Dance Students: Offers advanced dance students and professional dancers a look inside the company’s daily training methods and gives participants a chance to explore the Samadhi movement language through the use of improvisational tasks, coaching and playful exercises designed to improve body-mind awareness.