Meet the performers: Vainergill Xanthi Thurnim
Vainergill Xanthi Thurnim (Amsterdam, 1997) is a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. About three years ago she graduated from the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam. She uses different dance styles in her work, with West African dance aesthetics as a connecting factor.
Vainergill came in touch with Roshanak Morrowatian through dramaturge Nicole Geertruida. “We did a work session and we had a connection right away. I am very happy with the way Roshanak works and I am also very interested in the theme of House of Strength.”
“For me, strength is all about vulnerability and daring to expose yourself. If you let go of the outward appearance of strength, such as big muscles, what is left is a very small and fragile core, just like a glass figurine. That’s where real strength is. I think it’s important that you go through the outer layers and stay true to yourself. That also means giving yourself time and not trying to be strong all the time.”
“I think the beauty of rituals is that people find peace in them. I myself love structure and fixed morning rituals: first breakfast, then showering and then putting on my clothes and jewellery. Also packing my bag the night before is such a ritual that gives me peace and order.
From my Surinamese roots I am also familiar with spiritual rituals. For example, on new year’s eve we always made a bath with water and rose petals, among other things, to wash away the bad of the past year and to conjure up positive things for the year to come. At the moment, these rituals do not play such a role in my life, but I certainly see the value in it.”
“I feel like people are rather quick to attach the concepts of inclusion and diversity to things these days. For me, however, it is mainly about mutual respect for the differences in how you look at something and how you want to live your life in the first place. You don’t necessarily have to agree with each other, but you should want to leave room for each other’s different opinions or insights.
Inclusion in the cultural sector sometimes feels like ‘ticking boxes‘ to me. House of Strength doesn’t give me that feeling at all. I think that the main focus has been on qualities and everyone’s contributions. We are all a piece of the puzzle.
“As a dancer, I’m also going to use my voice in this performance. Quite exciting, but also interesting how we will connect our voices. I am also curious how we will bring the tradition and ritual of the Zurkhaneh to the present and use it as a source of inspiration for a new story. What’s great is that we are all going to do it together. I’m really looking forward to that.”