2017 a year like never before

We can’t deny it, 2017 has been a year like never before! A year of celebrations, surprises, challenging projects, endless inspiration, profound growth and a flood of insights and knowledge. No doubt 2017 has been completely unpredictable yet absolutely blessed!
The season of 2017 started with a sold out celebration of Samadhi’s 10-years anniversary ‘Between Worlds’ held at the beautiful DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. A full evening program consisting of 2 main acts and an opening program performed by a total of 38 artists, who turned our anniversary into an unforgettable high-energy experience for all. Joining Samadhi’s fabulous team of dancers was flamenco dancer Jessica Achten who caught our eye with her elegant and powerful contribution to the first act of ‘Between Worlds‘ such as the scenes ‘The Conference‘ and ‘The Prophesy’. Samadhi’s dreamlike video of ‘Between Worlds’ showing the last 10 years of Samadhi reached over 150K views and hundreds of shares, making it the company’s most successful video up to date.
‘Between Worlds’ marked an era of non-stop authentic creations, heartwarming dance performances and dozens of incredible dancers and musicians that gave life to the company’s vision. 10 years of art from the heart, up to 14 productions which each its own unique character and story. Each work seemingly different yet in essence completely Samadhi, always presenting the message of the soul leading the way with the body as its vehicle and instrument to express and connect.
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
Samadhi’s founder Vraja Sundari consciously chose not to plan the full year ahead in order to leave enough room for the unexpected and really focus on such a remarkable point in time. How the company and her work all came to being has been such an organic process that it felt right to come back to the now, celebrate all that had come our way and then go back to our roots and reflect on what the next steps could be for the company. 
A few months later, after taking a small break to digest the ‘Between Worlds’ adventure, many of Sundari’s realisations set a new flow of events in motion. A new solo work was born titled ‘Samskara’ in which the viewer is taken on a journey through Sundari’s internal experiences of life and relationships. 
‘Samaskara’ became the opening of the new production ‘Samsara’, a work inspired by the first act of ‘Between Worlds‘ and premiered during the 10 years anniversary of New Dance Studios led by Glenn Westphal, a cherished friend and partner of the company since 2010. The premiere was held in July at a packed Vondelpark Openluchttheater in Amsterdam and the compilation of ‘Samsara’ reached over 100k views in less than a month, receiving tons of inspired responses from viewers all over the world. 
In August and September ‘Samsara’ was performed twice in Berlin for two separate occasions and the work managed to touch many hearts with its sincere message of vulnerability and self-acceptance. ‘Samsara’ marks a turning point in Sundari’s career as a choreographer and dancer, in which she chose to challenge herself to perform more and continue to develop her physical abilities as well as spiritual understanding of life and art on a more profound and individual way. 
During the summer Sundari also invited several new dancers to train with her as a way to discover new talent for the company as well as to continue her research in personal training and the Samadhi Movement Method. After some weeks this research resulted in a remake of ‘Between Worlds’ 2nd act titled’ Beautiful Monsters’. A powerful piece that deals with youth and maturity, friendship and alienation and discovering one’s  personal path and purpose. The remake was presented at the Dam Square in Amsterdam at the end of August during the Festival of India and attracted hundreds of enthusiastic viewers.
Dutch dancer Mats van der Mark, a former student of Sundari was one of the new dancers and quickly captured Sundari’s heart with his sincere attitude and impressive physicality and officially joined the company in September. 
2017 a year like never before
Following the Summer of Samsara was the revival of Samadhi’s Mahabharata-themed performance ‘ATMA‘, a unique collaboration with Russian singer Ananda Monet. Ananda requested Sundari to create a dance performance on her spectacular music album ‘Inevitable Time’ back in 2015 for her album release in London and ever since the work has been performed in several countries such as The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This time the company was invited to perform ‘ATMA‘ during the Ratha Yatra Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria and the performance was received with open arms. Following the performance Vraja Sundari was interviewed by Bulgaria’s national TV channel Bulgaria ON AIR, organised by the amazing leader of the festival Saci-Sundari. It was an incredible experience that left a deep impression on the sisters and commenced a new valuable relationship with this beautiful country.
2017 a year like never before
A month later an extraordinary project took place with intercultural dance company Le Grand Cru led by Feri de Geus and Noortje Bijvoets for the annual Big Draw Festival by the prestigious Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Several renowned dancers were invited to perform short dance improvisations to live music by cellist Camillo Cabassi. The performances took place next the famous Rembrandt hall where visitors had the opportunities to sketch the dancers in motion. The team of dancers included Heather Ware, Suzan Tunca and Kenzo Kusuda who influenced Sundari significantly during her study at Codarts Dance Department in Rotterdam. Two days of intensive dance to the mesmerising live music at such an incredible location was simply a delight and the experience left a warm place in Sundari’s heart. Not to mention the lovely collaboration with Feri and Noortje, two  inspiring  international dance artists and educators based in The Netherlands.
Photography: Rijksmuseum-Bibi Veth
Photography: Rijksmuseum-Bibi Veth
At the end of the month the playful live music and dance performance ‘Hello Luna!’  from 2016 was brought back, this time at De Doelen in Rotterdam. ‘Hello Luna!’ is a creation by music ensemble Lunatree under the direction of Fanny Alofs featuring versatile dancer Rasarani Keilman. The interactive live music and dance performance is especially made for children from the age 2 and up. Due to its ambient/minimal feel soundtrack consisting of work by a.o. Aphex Twin, Brian Eno and Squarepusher the performance is however suitable for all ages. The team had lots of fun performing this unique piece and was excited to see the work progress as well, finetuning its touching story and beautiful mood. Plans to perform the piece in the coming seasons are now being discussed and we all are definitely looking forward performing this beautiful project many more times!
Photo: Hélène van Domburg
Photo: Hélène van Domburg
Photo: Hélène van Domburg
Photo: Hélène van Domburg
Bulgaria was just the beginning of ‘ATMA‘s revival as for some time Sundari had been negotiating several projects with the Kirtan and Art Foundation from Russia led by  Natasha Fedotova and Shaktyavesha Avatara Das. For over a year plans were being discussed to bring Samadhi to Russia to start a new and lasting collaboration with the country and perform several works on a bigger scale, starting with ‘ATMA‘ featuring mesmerising vocal artist Ananda Monet. It was also a fabulous way for the company to close off its anniversary season with a bang, whilst opening a new era of international projects.
Although the team was faced with an endless series of obstacles, the project came into being on November 29 in a completely sold out theater in Moscow, and the responses were absolutely overwhelming! Over 900 people who had never been to a performance of Samadhi showered the team with heartwarming responses and affectionate messages. We were all left speechless and utterly grateful for such an impact. Many plans are now being discussed to bring the company back with more performance and productions and we are very excited to see where this amazing journey will  take us!
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before
And these are just the highlights of the year, all the moments in and outside the studio, on and off stage and the many new meetings with organisers from other countries seem to be showing us that we are heading towards many more years of Samadhi magic! It’s just been an incredible ride, and whatever will come our way, we will always be extremely grateful for all that has been given to us already over this last decade.
 
As often quoted, the only constant thing in life is change, so you can only express life’s journey when you actually go along with the changes and flow of life. Yet some things never change, and that’s the essence. The essence of what art stands for, its purpose and contribution to society. Which is to express what can’t be expressed in words, to emote which moves within, to transform the negative, to make us think and reflect, to share our personal journey through energy, to expose ourselves anonymously, to remove the obstacles that prevent us from growing, to vanquish our darkness by shining light and to  understand how much all of us are always connected. When reconnected with the essence, that’s when the inspiration comes and in this way we hope to keep expressing our journey for as long as we are allowed to do so.
 
2017 a year like never before
Now getting ready for the absolute final performance of the year, and it is a 15 min solo performance by Vraja Sundari from ‘Hanuman‘! It’s been two years ago that we have presented this beloved work and we are so excited to bring it back! And not just to bring it back, Samadhi has been given the blessing to perform the work during the auspicious New Year’s Eve celebration of the spiritual oasis that is Villa Vrindavan in Florence Italy, one of Sundari’s all-time favourite places. A dream come true and the best way for us  to enter the new year!

So all we can say for now is HAPPY NEW YEAR and see you in 2018! 

2017 a year like never before
2017 a year like never before