Photo by Georgie Weedon.
Vasanthi Argouin is an independent producer and is also currently working with us here at DanceEast as a Programme Manager. At the beginning of lockdown, we asked Vasanthi what her favourite thing about her job is, what’s on her lockdown playlist, and about any performances she’s seen that have affected or influenced her.
What is your name, and what do you do?
My name is Vasanthi, and I’m an independent Producer and Programme Manager. Alongside, I also (try) work on personal art projects.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I get to work alongside some really incredible individuals and be involved in the creative thinking process. Having nourishing exchanges and the opportunity to watch performances/ sharings are highlights that I am always grateful for and learning from.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Every organisation and individual artist/ team has different approaches, objectives, methods, and it can be a lot of “hat switching” / “hats to wear”, especially in busy times.
What is something you are passionate about?
I’m passionate about empathetic and curious humans; imagination and movement; art; the impact of art; conversations; the presence and importance of loved ones; preserving and connecting with nature.
How are you managing to stay creative whilst in lockdown?
I’m trying to paint more, read more and make playlists to share with my family.
One of the positives of our current situation is its ability to spark new ideas and creativity in people – what’s been your highlight over the past few weeks?
There have been so many incredible initiatives and creations.
Just to give a few examples, right now (April 2020) I’ve really enjoyed following Valerie Ebuwa‘s project “ValUE” which explores the black female nude and why it has been less represented throughout the history of art. It’s a powerful, important project that is worth taking the time to discover.
If you’re keen to get involved in online dance projects, I’d suggest checking out choreographies by Jamaal Burkmar (working with a team under the banner ‘Extended Play’) as part of their ‘JukeBox!‘ project, and Sarah Blanc’s work – one of her films “Dance How You Feel Right Now” connects 164(.5) people across 43 countries.
Which artists are on your Working From Home playlist?
Joy Cookes – Early ft. Jafaris
Mahalia – What You Did
Raveena – Headaches
Leon Bridges – Texas Sun
Greentea Peng – Mr. Sun (miss da sun)
J.J Cale – After Midnight
Loyle Carner – Damselfly
Biig Piig – crushin
Van Morrison – Crazy Love
Princess Nokia – Soul Train
The Roots – The Seed
Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs – Stay
Ice Prince – Feel Good
Plus some personal classics that played in my home growing up and that are always on my playlist – Janis Joplin, BB King, Nina Simone, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Pink Flloyd, Neil Young, Bob Marley, Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, JJ Cale, Dire Straits, Lionel Richie, Santana, Bob Dylan.
What advice would you give to young people hoping to make their way into a creative career?
In terms of producing, take the time to build a connection with the artists you work with and see how you work best together. Freelance working can mean slightly “hourless” days and you want to make sure you work in a supportive, wholesome environment. (This probably applies to outside of the creative world too)
In your job you get the privilege of being able to see so many incredible artists performing new pieces of work. Which performance(s) have you seen most recently that have inspired or affected you?
This work wasn’t made recently but I watched the film version of Artificial Things by StopGap yesterday (24 April). The filming captures the work fantastically. The choreography is by Lucy Bennett and the film is directed by Sophie Fiennes.