Maria Munkowits is a freelance dancer, yoga teacher and fluid yet integral member of the WE'AR tribe. We find out about some recent creative pursuits...

For me, movement is at the core of what I love about being a dancer. It's almost not even a choice - I simply have to be moving, dancing... otherwise I just don't feel myself, not in my body. I suppose this is why I am drawn to yoga practice and teaching also (and the fact most sports were never my forte!)

The expression of movement on top of this, is that joyous place where you can be or embody anything you can possibly imagine - a thought, creature, a memory. In performance is where the facets of imagination or impulse are realised, for that moment in time. This is the beauty of live performance, that it can be completely different each time on stage - the audience (and the performer) experience a combustion of energy that physically fades, but emotionally resonates long after. 

Being a freelancer has its ups and downs, the great thing is you get to experience working with a variety of people on different projects - but you do miss out on that physical conditioning and training that exists being employed in a full time dance company. I have been involved in a wide spectrum of performance, from burlesque and cabaret to cultural contemporary dance. My most recent project was with Okareka Dance Company's Mana Wahine which we toured to Brisbane for APAM, an international arts market where festival directors from all over the world come to view theatre and dance from Australia and New Zealand. As the title suggests, this particular show is a celebration of the female strength and spirit inspired by a story of a woman named Te Aokapurangi who saved her people from slaughter. It is a highly physical piece, with a strong use of audio visual component.

'Mana Wahine' photos by Alex Efimoff


By furthest comparison, in September I will be presenting a season of In Flagrante, a neo burlesque show created by Mary-Jane O'Reilly, as well as taking a solo excerpt to the Australian Burlesque Festival in June. I have been performing various reincarnations of this work for a number of years and absolutely love the thrill of performance - it is very character driven with a sly tongue in cheek humour, we have toured to the Edinburgh Festival and the Seychelles with this show and it still has a life after our first shows in 2011. I find something new in performance every time.

'In Flagrante' photos by Kaveh Kardan and Bruce Jarvis

 I feel lucky to be able to supplement the creative work I do with my time here at WE'AR HQ, Jyoti and the team are extremely supportive and I have been involved in many facets of the company since 2011! I was lucky enough to meet our Bali staff at our warehouse last year, it really opened my eyes to the hands on process of production and the love and care that every single member of our team has for their work. 

Here's to an exciting and fruitful year ahead!