Daloy DC Dancer Spotlight: Nicole Kobler on feeling and finding ‘home’ with Daloy and Manila!

Daloy DC Intern and dancer-traveller, Nicole Kobler shares her history, her insights on dance and how she found a home in Manila, in the Philippines and in Daloy Movement as a practice, and a community. As someone who loves to travel and immerse herself in various cultures, Nicole was such a great contribution to Daloy DC this year during her month-long internship. She danced with us in the studio, travelled with us to La Union for Daloy Movement workshops and Sayaw Galaw, she performed with us for Paghilom Arts Festival in Cavite, and as she had religiously and diligently taken multipe Daloy Movement Workshops, she attended our Teachers Training and got certified as a Daloy Movement Facilitator. Whew!

This is just the beginning of a long-term conversation and exchange with Nicole and Daloy DC. And below are some of her answers to our interview!

How did the passion for dance begin?

It’s hard to say when my passion for dance actually started; it was kind of just always there. I would dance around the living room and wouldn’t even take off my pink ballet skirt to sleep. I can remember one particular moment when I knew I wanted to take dance classes; my mom used to tell me stories about a little mouse called Angelina Ballerina before going to bed. I was three years old at that time.

Young Nicole, in (and from) Switzerland!

When and how did you become interested in contemporary dance?

Even though I got educated in various dance subjects, my studies at “The School for Ballet and Dance”, led by Marianne Fuchs and Angelika Haindl, very much focused on classical ballet. After graduating, I startedauditioning and soon I realized that I didn’t seem to fit into the ballet world. Giving up on my dream wasn’t an option and so I packed my bags, willing to find out what dance really means to me. I got accepted to the Elite Training Program at Budapest Dance Theatre in Budapest (Hungary), where I got introduced to contemporary dance for the first time.

What is the story behind you coming to Daloy Dance Company?

My journey began in Budapest and since then has brought me to 8 different countries around Europe and in South East Asia. It was a journey to grow, not only as an artist but also as the person I am. Continuously searching for new opportunities and possibilities to do so, I sent many emails to dance companies, cultural foundations and dance schools. I knew about Daloy Dance Company before and so I was very excited whenEa Torrado replied and invited me to get an insight into her company.

Photos of Nicole on her Manila apartment’s rooftop.

What inspires you?

My biggest source of inspiration is my mom who has always supported me in every possible way, my teachers Marianne Fuchs and Angelika Haindl who both had a great impact on my career, my dad with the stories of his travels and my grandpa who always believed in me. Besides that, I usually get inspired by my own travels; the different cultures I get to experience, stories of the people I get to meet, encounters with other artists, exchanging movements, colors, patterns and sounds, pretty much by my daily life surroundings. I sometimes also like to sit in a busy spot and to observe people. Have you ever noticed how naturally children move? Or how a simple movement like drinking a cup of coffee can become a dance?

What do you do in your spare time?

I love laughing and to be surrounded by people; going to see my friend’s concerts, grabbing a drink with them, going to festivals or spending the afternoon in a park. I am interested in many art forms and crafts such as analog photography, drawing and painting, writing, macramé, stitching and many more. I practice Capoeira and I recently got my Advanced Diving license. Back home, in Switzerland, I like to go on hikes together with my mom and my dog. I like sleeping but I also like to stay up late, sometimes until sunrise.

Nicole on her free time!

How do you feel when you dance?

I feel closest and most connected to myself. And sometimes I feel divided. Our body is our working tool, our instrument; it’s hard to not let criticism by company directors, choreographers, teachers, family or friends personally affect you. It is hard to not worry about injuries or money. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to do what we love most, sometimes it really does suck. But then there are the moments I can’t put into words; the moments which make up for all the struggle - The moments that make me feel most alive.

What do you like most about dance?

I like that it’s a universal language. Everyone knows how to speak it.

In your career as a dancer, have you experienced collaborations between different art forms? In what way?

I’ve experienced collaborations between dancers and musicians, visual artists, painters, actors, comedians, photographers as well as designers. To describe one; last year I’ve got the chance to witness collaboration between dancers and visual artists. The visual artists would create a projection inspired by the dancer’s movement. They tested out different ways to play with the light animations, projected on to a screen or the dancer’s bodies.

What would you advise an aspiring dancer?

A good friend once said: “Go and eat the world” and that’s exactly what I would advise an aspiring dancer. Stay hungry and curious for whatever you will encounter on your way. An open mind will bring you exactly where you need to be. Trust in that.

You have attended several Daloy Movement workshops under Ea Torrado and the Daloy community of dancers and non-dancers, what have you learned the most? Or what is your most wonderful memory from that?

During my time with Daloy I as well had the chance to take part at the Daloy Movement Facilitators Training. On the last day, Ea handed out the certificates and took the time to say a couple of words to each and every one of us. She pointed out what I thought was my biggest weakness and presented it as my biggest strength; being a social butterfly with many homes. So not only did I find a new place to call home, thanks to Ea and the whole Daloy community, I also see myself a little differently now. Another highlight, of course, was to get the chance to perform with the company at the Paghilom Art Festival.

Nicole with Daloy Dance Company, performing at Paghilom Arts Festival in Cavtie last February 2020

Would you come back to the Philippines? What do you think would be your main reason, and what would you want to explore as an artist by that time?

I would definitely come back to the Philippines, rather than “if” it’s only a question of “when”. I would love to keep exchanging with Daloy, to get the chance to teach and share in communities in need and to also travel and explore the beautiful country.

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