The Heroine’s Journey of Isolde Kanikani

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I love that it is creative and community orientated.  With a lot of space to innovate moving forward in my professional development and the growth of my social business Iwi Studios. Working with people is both taxing and rewarding.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? 

Being in the arms of my man and the inner world of friends and family. Knowing that I have people around me who I love and who love me while having this outer world i have created with possibilities of personal growth, my life work and actively searching for ways to improve the community around me. Having the choice to step between both worlds enables joy in both.

What is my greatest fear? 

Loosing myself to people I love and work together with. I want to facilitate but sometimes end up enabling. Enabling inevitably leads to dissatisfaction when you withdraw and can’t keep up the wishes of the other. Facilitating someone who is active to change their own circumstance be it personal or work related is infinitely more healthy and productive for the long run. I fear not being myself and the strength this position gives me to choose.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? 

Perfectionism and expecting myself to live up to it. I am also busy changing this but i wonder if this is still a part of my perfectionism. Patterns are hard to shake and i am learning to have patience with myself.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

I admire the diversity of small businesses out there and the people who run them. Its difficult to start up and is usually a result of a passion that possesses us to create rather than a wish to simply do business. This passion is a beautiful thing, coupled with proactivity it can be life changing for the creators and their clients. There are few people I purely admire but I admire traits of proactivity and creativity in people coupled with the ability to bring people together in innovative community building projects or events.

What is my greatest extravagance? 

I am not very extravagant as a business owner, i don’t spend big amounts of money unless I know I get it in return. Sometimes I should be more courageous with this, but the risks never seemed to outweigh the possibility of return. Probably the extravagance for 2017 is the new centre for Iwi Studios but it depends on what you mean by extravagance, because this is simply the best situation to take the business forward into its new stage of growth.

On what occasion would I lie? 

I don’t. I try to tell the truth when I tell something. But I am learning which information I should keep to myself and which to share. Also which people you can share which information with and which should be kept in the dark as much as possible. My experience of lying is that the type of people i want to connect with pick up on it, so i damage myself and my integrity by doing so. Even if it was well meant or in the protection of someone else. The definition of lying depends so much on the beholder.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? 

How long everything takes when dealing with official organisations and renters. Sometimes the actual tasks we need to do are very simple and take only a few steps to complete. When you add the bureaucracy and people response time as factors, suddenly everything becomes a lot more complicated. I am actively taking these aspects out of the regular procedures of my own business to be more effective. Automating where possible for practical things giving more time and availability for the processes and times that need a personal touch.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? 

Every moment of creativity, innovation and connecting with people. Examples including being on stage performing, creating and directing performances, bringing people into Iwi studios, decorating studio spaces, designing flyers and the business plan of Iwi studios.

If I could, what would I change about myself? 

I would develop a healthy sense of self preservation instead of giving everything i have and not asking for things in return. This has lead to a burn out 4 years ago. With the best of intentions great people will take what you have to give and ask for more. So its up to us individually to say what can i give? Where is my reserve and what should i ask for my giving as i need to build my dreams too.

What is my greatest achievement in work? 

6 years touring as a professional tango dancer traveling all over the world and the creation of Iwi studios.

Where would I most like to live?

Utrecht, i have put down roots, made a business and fallen in love here.

What is my most treasured possession?

i don’t put much stock in physical possessions but if it came down to it it would be things that i have been given by loved ones and family.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I think out side the box while knowing the box exists and loving it.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? 

There is a big old tree hundreds of years old, in one of the little hidden squares in Utrecht. i love to sit here and ponder the world. So far i have seen it in winter and spring, i look forward to the other seasons.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

i love to take a picnic in all weathers and go and sit by one of the many beautiful waterways here. Being in nature, alone or together with friends and eating simple good food sounds like perfection. When the sun comes out its even better.

What books influenced my life and how?

I read every day, many books. One of my daily tasks i have set for myself is to read english, dutch and Spanish every day to help maintain and hopefully grow my abilities. This means a lot of books. The most influencial book of this time is my dutch language text book. Other titles would include: A book of five rings by Miyamoto Musashi, The art of war by Sun Tzu and  The belgariad by David Eddings which made me believe in myself and my ability to learn, in this case reading.

Who are my favourite writers?

David Eddings, Paulo Coelho, Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

As a dancer i am surrounded by beautiful music but silence is the true novelty. I look forward to falling asleep when i can hear the trees moving or weather and waking to the sound of birds greeting the day. I wish to live my life every day as i would live the last, so i would choose silence and nature mixed into an eternal revelry.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

This would have to be one of the forty thieves. When i was a small girl i watched a version of Sinbad and the forty thieves who were all these amazing strong women who could dance, play instruments, ride horses and fight. Strong, independent yet womanly and extremely beautiful. What more can i say. I was completely impressed.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My grandmothers including my honorary 3rd Grandma Betty, my uncle Roger who was a strong father figure in my life, my grandfathers. My mother and father. My cousin and honorary brother, who has had to deal with so much and come through it all. William Morris for his ability to achieve great things in more than one area of creative expertise.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Sinbad and the 40 thieves, obviously (laughing). But seriously something in it for everyone and a true classic.

What role plays art in my life and work?

Its oozes through my fingertips into everything i do. i can’t help it. i told a friend the other day i wanted to retrain as a police detective while keeping my dancing and business. First shocked, then he laughed and said i would draw a white chalk circle around the dead body at the murder scene and decorate it with flowers. While i would definitely take a new profession seriously, this image he draw certainly fits me and i had to laugh.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? 

i wish for a partner in crime, can i send out a call to the cosmos for this one? My family and love have been my greatest sponsors.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? 

I would love to connect with Utrecht. Maybe this is a pretty open answer but i have been operating in a mode that meant it was enough to simply set up my business. Now the next step is growth and connecting to what is here already. Looking outward at the world now i have my feet. Working together and further enabling each other in business is a core feeling and philosophy. Going into the future through collaboration and learning from others in businesses that are compatible with my own.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?

I would love to meet individuals and organisations who feel strongly about the need for collaboration, sustainability and learning. Community building through sustainable business and anyone who would be interested to sponsor or invest in Iwi Studios.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? 

I am looking forward to finalising and moving into our new centre for Iwi studios in Utrecht. Secondly to find more collaborators and a partner to stand beside me in the running of of my business. Further working towards our goals as an organisation.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

Our new website is a great place to start. This is growing and developing all the time with new features and possibilities. Here you will hear the latest news and see our many cool activities and creators. We also have a strong presence on facebook, instagram, pinterest, linkedin and twitter. Or check out for an impression about the women behind Iwi studios.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Passion lasts forever and doesn’t stand back for anything.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Check out some of the profiles on the Iwi website, we have many great creators. Men and women alike.

How can you contact me?

Interested to connect, find out more or collaborate? Send an email or whatsapp message today. Socialise with us on facebook, instagram or pinterest. Check out our website for a busy hud of activities, creators and an inspiring agenda of great activities to take part in.

Whatsapp/Sms: 0649299670


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