“Dance taught me humility, discipline, and agile ways of collaborating with others to bring forth larger goals that transcend individual concerns and that bring forth beauty, hope, and a future humanity ready to offer the best they can give to this world.”
In this special Christmas edition, Suzan Tunca takes center stage after recently completing her Ph.D. at ACPA (Academy of Creative and Performing Arts) at Leiden University.
Born in 1975 in Germany to a Turkish family, Suzan’s journey through the world of dance and artistic research has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Suzan’s recent academic achievement stands as a testament to her dedication and passion for the art form. Her dance odyssey commenced at the age of 18 when she ventured from Germany to the Netherlands to pursue her passion at the Dansacademie Arnhem. From there, she gracefully pirouetted through various stages, including Djazzex in The Hague and Krisztina de Châtel, where she not only showcased her talent as a dancer but also evolved into a choreographic assistant between 1998 and 2002.
Transitioning into the realm of freelance work from 2002 to 2005, Suzan collaborated with renowned figures such as Dylan Newcomb, Marie Cecile du Bont, Martin Butler, and Jérôme Meyer. Her journey took a significant turn between 2005 and 2013 when she danced with Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten, contributing to the evolution of eg|pc dance company, later transformed into ICK Dans Amsterdam in 2009.
Currently, Suzan finds herself immersed in the enriching environment of the ICK Academy, where she plays a pivotal role in various research and education activities. Her recent completion of a Ph.D. stands as a testament to her commitment to the field. Her contributions extend to the development of a Double Skin/Double Mind teacher training, and integrating ICK knowledge garnered over 15 years of profound research on dance documentation, annotation, and knowledge transfer into the talent development for young makers and dancers at ICK, as well as contributing to expansive EU projects dedicated to the innovation of performing arts with emerging technologies such as AI, XR, and VR.
Reflecting on her academic pursuits, Suzan completed a master’s study in artistic research at the UVA, subsequently developing an artistic research curriculum for dancers in education at Codarts. Here, she guides aspiring dancers into the intricate art of performing research, exploring the dancing body as a research instrument and encouraging reflection through other art and knowledge domains.
Suzan acknowledges the transformative impact of her re-orientation towards artistic research, attributing it to the support of ODN. This support allowed her to situate the dancing body between science and religion, adding layers of meaning and value to her understanding of dance. She emphasizes, “I did not abandon the knowledge and expertise gained through fifteen years of professional dance experience, but I was given the chance – thanks to ODN – to transform it and to bring it further.”
Her journey with ODN began during her early work with Krisztina de Châtel when Paul Bronkhorst introduced ODN to the dancers. The subsequent support from ODN enabled Suzan to pursue a master’s degree and later propelled her towards a Ph.D., culminating in the recent completion of her doctorate at ACPA.
Expressing deep gratitude for the opportunity to learn and transform, Suzan emphasizes ODN’s role in facilitating a profound reinvention while staying true to herself. She encourages fellow dancers to contribute to ODN early in their careers, as it paves the way for a smooth transition into other domains of professional life.
Suzan encapsulates the essence of her dance philosophy, asserting that dance is a path towards knowledge and a means of creatively incarnating the human soul and spirit into the world. Drawing from her extensive dance career, she brings a speculative yet firmly convinced recognition of dance as a conduit for humility, discipline, and collaborative agility. In her own words, “Dance taught me humility, discipline, and agile ways of collaborating with others to bring forth larger goals that transcend individual concerns and that bring forth beauty, hope, and a future humanity ready to offer the best they can give to this world.”