Meet the performers: Sjaan Flikweert
Sjaan Flikweert (Amsterdam, 1984) is a dancer and spoken word poet. She was especially triggered to participate in House of Strength by Roshanak Morrowatian’s personal approach and quest for authenticity. Moreover, feminism and the depiction of strength also play a major role in Sjaan’s own work.
Sjaan: “The beauty of the ritual of Zurkhaneh is how movement, poetry and music fit together very well. So far, I’ve mostly had to talk in boxes when referring to my work, like ‘this is spoken word’ and ‘this is dance’. In House of Strength it becomes very clear why these go very well together.”
“Strength means a lot of different things to me: survival, resilience, life, potency, magic and much more. Strength is a kind of mystery that you encounter in different shapes and forms. You create it yourself, but it also helps you rise above yourself. I experience strength throughout the day, even at unexpected moments, but I usually only see it looking back.”
“My parents and many others of this generation have discarded rituals and replaced them with critical thinking. I feel like I need to reinvent the wheel and I’m always looking for rituals that give sense and meaning. That is also the reason for writing a large part of my poetry.
At life-changing moments, such as loss, birth and friendship, I look for a ‘community’ to join. In this sense, House of Strength is also a way for me to integrate a new ritual into my life and learn about strength.”
“In everything, I am aware that I am a woman and that is why I am being responded to in a certain way. I try to find language to explain what I feel. Firstly to protect myself, secondly to protect others and thirdly to question things. I try to be very radically happy with my own life and be very radically happy for others and the choices they make. By reading all kinds of different books and by following on Instagram not only people who think mostly the same as I do, I also try to acknowledge different visions. After all: In the end, we are all equal.
In the context of House of Strength, I am engaged in the great struggle that is being waged worldwide for freedom and equality. I feel very connected to that scale of strength and draw many imaginary lines to places in the world where physical threats are the order of the day.”
“Within the House of Strength process, I’m especially curious about the physical stamina, focus and mental flexibility of myself and the rest of the group. In addition, I am curious how we will experience connection with the power that people provide for rights and freedom. In that sense, my participation in this performance also feels like a form of solidarity.”