The name of the ensemble underlines their playfull approach on film and dance. Director and choreographer Meli Kuhn founded the group in 2013 and leads the ensemble members in creating films where acting and dance in combination become a whole new discipline. She intentionally works both with dancers without prior acting experience and actors who have not been trained as dancers previously. During rehearsals priority is given to developing ideas through dialogue. The director has developed her own method of setting a theme to part from and characters, constellations and movements emerge through improvisation, continually becoming more concrete and finally leading to a cohesive screenplay and choreography.
As the titles of the films suggest the group seeks inspiration in abstract terms or images that trigger emotional associations. These are not only explored by the dancers. From the first moment on there is an emphasis on the cinematographic nature of the ensemble' s work. Meli Kuhn very consciously directs and choreographs for a camera that contributes substantially to her films' strong atmosphere.
In this short film four players are caught up between opposing forces of attraction and repulsion. In a number of scenes shot at an intimate closeness we witness a dialogue ranging from tenderness to violence without a single word being spoken. The characters desperately seek liberation from their inner imprisonment.
In front of the backdrop of the desolate Belgian village Doel, the players engage in an inner struggle with hope, desire and emotional deprivation.
The film' s soundtrack is created by three jazz musicians and based on a composition by Haarlem based composer Niels van der Weijden.
With her DansSpelFilms director and choreographer Meli Kuhn has found a way to combine her two passions, acting and dance. Her training as an actress and her experience accumulated through acting in numerous short films have provided her with a useful background to eventually switch to the position of director. Her practically lifelong involvement with dance, alongside classical ballet mostly with contemporary forms, made it a natural consequence for Meli Kuhn to let choreography become part of her work as a director.
In 2013 she founded the DansSpelFilmensemble Meli Kuhn, an open group consisting of dancers and actors with whom she has since been realizing her projects.
DSF Meli Kuhn are currently working on a new series of theatre performances, which will be played as occasional pop up performances, sometimes in combination with a screening of the movie Wurzel.
So far excerpts have been played in the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival in 2015 and 2016,
De Pletterij in Haarlem, Amsterdam Cinema the Uitkijk and Loods6 Amsterdam.
De Bovenkamer (The Upper Room) is a short dance-theatre performance which, in a subtle and intimate way, shows the dark side of human kind.
A performance which tries to enlighten the human inability to communicate. Many people, man or woman, lead an often "hidden life", out of fear, out of self-protection, out of habit.
Six individuals represent their inner souls but also each other' s characters, impulses and fears. They represent each other' s trains of thought.
All this is situated in an "empty" environment, by means of minimal attributes.
The mixture of dream and reality play an important part in The Upper Room.
Mis-communication between man and woman is the leitmotiv in several scenes which have a strong emotional layer.
The choreography of The Upper Room is based upon an intensive research of "the inner" of the performers by Meli Kuhn. The players are interrogated by her and answer by means of their bodies. Thus derives the "moving material", the choreography.
Inspiration for this performance came from the movie Un Chien Andalou ( 1929), a surrealistic movie by Spanish director Luis Bunuel and artist Salvador Dali, who based their movie on dreams they both had.