The Heroine’s Journey of Laura Leora Witzleben

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Dancing and choreographing is the biggest passion I have in my life. It makes me want to get up in the morning, keeps me feeling alive, gets me going, drives me. My entire life I have not been doing anything else besides dance for living and there had not been one hour I had felt doubts about it.
What is my idea of perfect happiness? There are many ideas of it. To be with people I love. To be in a studio and either create or dance myself with people I want to be with. To be in nature makes me happy. Silence makes me happy. Music makes me happy. Theatre in general makes me happy. Coffee with a lot of milk. So many things…
What is my greatest fear? The fear of death. The idea of letting go of life. Having a person that I love leave me behind.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? That sense of impatient passion which I also like the most.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? In the neighbourhood ´s profession: The theatre maker Milo Rau. For showing the dark sides of us human beings and this world. For showing everything we don ´t want to see but still are part of.
What is my greatest extravagance? I think fast. And speak even faster.
On what occasion would I lie? Hmmm… I barely lie. Which comes across pretty direct at times. I would lie to not hurt someone. And I lie about reasons why I did not buy a metro ticket.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? It requires a very strong mind and body and an insane amount of work and passion and luck to make it out here. I find it the hardest profession one can choose. You have to choose for it every single day. Maybe I like that the most and also dislike that the most. The work is me and I am the work because my body and mind is the work itself. As a dancer you agree to work a lot for very little money. The people that are working are the lucky ones. And there is a high risk for injuries and damage connected to the danger of a sudden end of your career.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Dancing for a French choreographer in 2015 whom I felt very inspired by and where I felt very much seen as a dancer and person. These strong connections are rare to find. Winning the first price in a competition with the first piece of choreography I made. That was in 2017 where I created a duo called DON ´T SMOKE UNDER WATER which we keep touring since then. Performing my second creation called NOVEMBER in September 2018 and talking to the public on how they perceived the work and how much it had touched them. That made me feel very humble and thankful.
If I could, what would I change about myself? Where to start…. Or maybe better not starting on that at all trying to pursue the perfect self. More patience would be one thing to start on. More mindfulness and care and appreciation and thankfulness in all those litte moments in life.
What is my greatest achievement in work? The amount of four years of studying and ten years of continuously working all over Europe I would call my greatest achievement. Including the last two years of working freelance which had been a very conscious decision I made in 2016 looking at my life and thinking about in which direction I want continue professionally. That freelance decision was brave, I am proud of that, and it has been going so well. I am very grateful for that.
Where would I most like to live? I feel at home pretty much everywhere in Europe. Everywhere where I have friends I can easily live. And there are many European countries I have lived in for either longer or shorter periods. I love Switzerland and Norway for the reason of their beautiful nature. And the empty space those countries have. I need empty space to feel alive.
What is my most treasured possession? My ten years old Mac Book air. My yoga mat. I bought a really good mattress. The rest I don ´t really need actually.
What is my most marked characteristic? Red hair and a really loud laughter. A great fragility which you can ´t see at first glance.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Recently the Deutsche Theater. Called DT. I keep seeing really good theatre plays in there.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? The student Thai restaurant around the corner where I live. Which is connected to a huge amount of very close friends I have eaten with in there.
What books influenced my life and how? Die Unendliche Geschichte by Michael Ende. It brought up a never ending world of phantasy and feelings in me. Sophies Welt by Jostein Gaarder. It taught me how to link difficult thoughts and to think from different perspectives.
Who are my favourite writers? Haruki Murakami. I love the worlds he is creating. George Orwell. Hannah Moscovitch. Sarah Kane. Kafka.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? That changes for me from day to day. Today I would answer you: Tracy Chapmann.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Elias in Schlafes Bruder. For feeling so much that he can not bare it.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?  All those people that imprint our societies in a positive way. Especially the things nobody notices on a daily base I really appreciate: The people that clean for others, serve others, transport them, help others that are not able to function as well, are sick, alone, homeless. People that carry that society we live in in a positive way and make it to a world I like to be a part of and contribute to myself.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Dogtooth by Giorgos Lanthimos!
What role plays art in my life and work? Definitely the leading role in my life and my work life.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My mother. She has been an advisor, supporter and follower since I ever started this at age 14. And apart from that a really good critic.
Whom would I like to work with in 2019? Milo Rau. I would love to witness or be a part in a creation of him. Then and most important: The dancers and choreographers which I already worked with in 2018 and with whom I want to continue working with in different productions in 2019! There are several production houses I definitely would love to work with in 2019. A theatre maker I am collaborating with this year. He might work on a very interesting novel and bring it out to a play in 2019. In case that would happen I would love to join that creation process as a choreographer
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019? All the people that are connected to production houses and theatres and who are interested in collaborating and inviting me. The French choreographer Samuel Mathieu.
What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on? The continuation of working on my recent creation NOVEMBER and turning it into a full length evening piece. Then the continuation of performing a piece by an Italian choreographer which I dance in which she created in 2017. To continue selling the duo which I created last year. We had a great time travelling it around Europe in 2017 and 2018 and we would love to continue on that.
Where can you see me or my work? Follow me on facebook or instagram. My company ´s name is: leora_InCompany. I keep posting all performances, productions and projects there. Upcoming I will be part of Rheinfach Festival in Cologne from 5 to 7 of October 2018 and take part in a competition for young choreographers from October 10 to 14 in Belgrade with my creation DON ´T SMOKE UNDER WATER. Then I will be working as a choreographer at Schauspiel Dortmund in Germany from the middle of October until the end the year. My creation NOVEMBER will be shown again in February in Tallinn. And there will be quite some upcoming performances of the piece THE SHAPE OF WATER which I take part in as a dancer beginning of 2019. And many more things are about to happen as it looks!
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Makes me think of sleepless nights 🙂 A true passion you cannot get rid of. It sticks to you whether you want it or not.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? The film maker Giorgios Lanthimos. I am a big fan.
How can you contact me?
On instagram and facebook under: leora_InCompany.
Or by mail: laurawitzleben@gmail.com

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