Deep respect and loyalty grew out of this, helping to produce this female energy
Sixteen striking female artists performing together create one hell of an energy inrush: it can't be tamed but has to be expressed. And it is: through dancing, singing, and performing. To get the chance to feel this dynamism by yourself, come see them perform on 17 September at Dear Antwerp Festival. And in the meantime, why don’t you get to know them better?
How did the idea of creating a multidisciplinary project first appear?
In 2015, when we were actually a dance group, we got the opportunity to organize events at Antwerp Berchem. The idea of creating a Female Takeover came to our minds. We wanted to connect to the female artists we knew at the time. And then there was that one night full of short performances that lasted the whole evening, with just female artists on stage: dancers, singers, art performers. That was the first big spark, which left an unfading imprint that helped us to become what we are now - a multidisciplinary collective that creates a variety of art performances.
I read your mission and it talks about sisterhood. What is a sisterhood for you? What is women's empowerment for you?
I think the main goal is just to feel empowered by working together, sharing each other's network and doing showcases together. I think just finding ourselves through the collaborations. That's our main goal. We have had many upcoming artists who performed their first gigs together with us or developed some skills by working in the collective. Later, if they decided to go on with their solo careers and leave the project, we were always very supportive. The main focus is also on continuous growth and unconditional support. We were like real sisters, like a family from the very start. Of course, there are challenges, you know, when you put so many big personalities together. [laughs]
The main goal is just to feel empowered by working together, sharing each other's network and doing showcases together
How tough has it been to avoid drama, given that there are so many young, passionate people?
Like in any family, there have been arguments sometimes. Sometimes this massive female energy builds up. [laughs] We have come a long way. It's about not focusing on the problem, but turning to how we can solve it and what we can learn from it. That was a big thing for us. We all want to be heard and express ourselves - that’s for sure, but there are also times when you should sit and listen, or sometimes just let it go and move forward. Balance is the key! We learnt a lot about how to communicate and how to be vulnerable in front of each other. Deep respect and loyalty grew out of this, helping to produce this female energy. It all came very naturally.
Has your project gone through any major changes from what it was originally?
In 2017, there was one point when we almost quit the collective - 9 months passed without any collective work done together. Then, out of the blue, we got an email from an event manager based in Antwerp who proposed that we do a show. That’s when we realized: wow, even if we are out of the game for a year, people still remember us.
Even if we are out of the game for a year, people still remember us
What was the most useful influence on your project?
Hmm. There was one singer who started as a backing singer but ended up being a big artist. Her name is YEBBA. We found one of her YouTube videos where she collaborated with a lot of artists - they would turn pop songs into almost gospel sounds, and we all fell in love with it. It really hit home.
From the dancer’s side, there was one - also a female dance collective called Sweggers. They are from France and - oh god, they are so good. We went to see their show, and it was amazing. I think that inspired us a lot.
Lastly, we would like to mention Marina Abramovich. The way she connects with the audience and the energy her performances create is something that strongly resonated with us.
What is the best way for someone unfamiliar with your work to get to know you?
Ohh. We are live performers. You just have to see us live. That’s how we roll. By the way, you've got a chance very soon at the Dear Antwerp Festival! We have prepared 4 pieces for the event!
What is your creative process like?
It always starts with the message, concept or experience that we want to share. That’s at the core. Then we see how we can express it and the puzzle pieces just come together.
Any plans for the future?
Well, nothing is set in stone yet, but we would love to create a physical space where people can come and learn from what we offer, like dancing, singing and writing. We want to pass on our knowledge. We are also thinking of creating our own podcast. Let’s see how the future unfolds.
We would love to create a physical space where people can come and learn from what we offer