“I interviewed a particle physicist, a philosopher, and I also took a lap dancing course,” poet and performer Chanje Kunda told me.
Her journey, drive & determination to make it in the theatre world is astounding and a remarkable story. After a success previous international tour of her work Amsterdam which she funded entirely through her PPI claim after her funding was rejected, she worked immensely hard in order to put her show on the road. She said: “I had a lawn mower in my shed, so I decided to start a gardening business mowing lawns on evenings and weekends and put the money earned towards the show. My best friend and my sister donated cash. Contact theatre agreed for me to stage the show there. The show went on to be a success nationally and internationally and was nominated for several awards.”
This year, she has been selected as part of The Lowry’s Developed With scheme at the start of 2017 and she has been working tirelessly on her brand new show Superposition, which is a show about blending science and performance to create a strong message. “Science is the new mysticism in the 21st century, and the laws of attraction is something that people can respond to in order to make their lives better and more fulfilling,” she explained. Books like The Secret and their hype in today’s society sparked Chanje’s interest in the laws of attraction in terms of the body. “I also wanted to find out new ways to be able to celebrate and elevate female sexuality and so when I was doing the research I found out that science and female erotisism, although they are quite unlikely, there are some synergies between them,” Chanje said.
“I wanted to explore how science could be used as a metaphor for female sensuality.”
Chanje embarked on immense research to bring her performance to the stage, she told me: “One of the lines in the show is, the sun is a flaming cocktail of hydrogen, literally too hot to handle. Hot enough to melt any landing probe, I have the same fire in me.” This came from her discovery that the elements contained in the sun are the same as the elements contained in our body. She questioned that women project that they are not their body but she doesn’t want to reject her body or her physicality and as women we should take ownership over her body.
From talking to the particle physicist, she learnt about the intricacy of the science of atoms and has used that to fuse her performance. She said: “We are made of atoms that contain subatomic particles. So really we are a sea of unending possibilities and so I used to feel confined in my life but through learning that, I realised that I am a sea of unending possibilities and that I can do anything.”
Science has become a major trend in performance, with dance companies using science to inspire their movement and Chanje thinks it is a fantastic foundation for choreography, storytelling and creation. “I’m exploring science and using it as a tool for empowerment,” she said. “Now people say that being content in yourself is the new success. It’s about having a different way of viewing yourself and you’re equal to the beauty of the stars and the galaxies as we are all one thing.
I was able to use science not only in the movement but also in the text of the piece, in the show I say, I am impressed by the amount of body strength a pole dancer has to hold her own bodyweight up so high. She is spinning like the earth on it’s axis. The diamante jewels glisten like galaxies aware of their own beauty and power. I wonder if she can bend time.”
Chanje is keen on spreading the idea that life is a miracle and she wants the audience to leave knowing that their life is a sea of unending possibilities in a superposition, and that they can do anything. Using performance she has created a playful journey of discovery about science, sexuality and spirituality, and how our bodies mirror the universe.
On at the Lowry in Salford from the 26th to the 27th of October, tickets and information can be found here.