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Photos ©: 1, 2 and 4 Brad Dosland, 5 Letizia D'Antonio, 3 and 6 with kind permission of Keri Lonhard
Keri Lonhard
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You have worked with Louis Fleischauer, the performance artist an leather corset artisan.

Louis is originally from East Germany, but he lived in L.A. for 15 years. I met Louis when I was working with a Suspension Performance group in L.A. called C.o.R.E. He had his own performance troupe called Aesthetic Meat front. He also has a beautiful line of hand crafted leather corsets and other fun wears. Louis would sometimes enlist the help of C.o.R.E. to support his own shows. We became immediate friends.

How is it to work with him? Great! He is like … hmmm … an evil Cupie Doll. He is an artistic genius, and also has this need, like I do, to get the crazy energy and essence of his being out into the world. And we are the better for it! Human musical instruments, experimental music on those instruments, magic, expression of the soul and a true freedom and being that of which you are and not the impression of what societies tell you you should be.
I respect and adore Louis immensely.

I worked with him a lot in L.A., in the Bay Area, with his group and with C.o.R.E. and even back in his home, Berlin, after I moved to Germany. In his group I would do make-up, pierce hooks for the suspensions or pulls, help with rigging, and do pulls myself for the performances.
How come you came to Germany, and what makes you stay here?
Will Black Forest Tribal Festival will be your first festival on German soil, and what do you expect?

I have had an attraction to Germany and wanted to come here and find out what that was all about, for many many years. In 2010 I joined my friend's band (Jarboe of the Swans) on their Scandinavian/European tour selling merchandise for them, to be able to travel and expand the person I was.
I had moved out of the house I lived in at home to travel. Along the tour I had decided not to go back home. The tour would end soon. We were now in Tilburg, the Netherlands at a Metal festival called Roadburn. After this Festival I was heading to Berlin, where I thought I would live. I met Norman Lonhard, a musician, drummer for the band Triptykon at the Festival. He is German, from Lörrach, Southern Germany. Well, long story short, it was instantaneous love, him and I. Here we are a little over 2 years later, married, living in a little village in the Beautiful Southern Germany by the Swiss and French borders. I believe in following your heart and your intuition, and so, I am here.

I finally, a few months ago started getting myself out there and trying to build myself more of a life here in Germany. With dance, with jobs, and with friends. I have attended the Hanover Festival in June, took a few workshops, with Frederique, and Nicole Urbantat from Shir o Shakar. Took a workshop in Rome with Illan. Took another with my friend Ariellah in Switzerland. I'm excited to be going to April Rose in Switzerland! I have given a couple of workshops in Basel, Switzerland, "Tribal-Fusion Technique and Refinement" in March 2012, and in June 2012, I gave another 2 workshops in one day, this was "Unique You, Timing and Musical Interpretation" and "Tribal-Fusion Presence, Postures and Combos". This new workshop in October will be the first workshop I'm giving at a Festival, at Black Forest Tribal Festival. Monday Nights 20-21:30, starting August 13 at Studio Semiramis in Basel,, I will be teaching a weekly Tribal-Fusion dance Class.

I have taken on a private student, who is now my friend and soon to be dance partner, she is herself a teacher, Christelle Glaser, at the Dance School I've given my workshops at, and where my weekly dance class will soon begin. I have hopes to build a strong technique in dancers here. Like my students at home I got to see them grow and grow.

What will we see from you on stage, and what will we learn from you at your workshop?

The plan for stage, is to be dancing with my friend Christelle Gasser. This will be Tribal-Fusion, with my flair to it. It won't have the crazy convulsing, blood and fire elements a la LAPSUS. But a more polished, beautiful interpretation of our dance expression. I like soloing, but I love the dynamics of dancing in a group!
The workshop, Friday October 5th in Offenburg, This one will be "Layering Techniques, Drills and Conditioning for Tribal-Fusion Belly Dance". This is my stuff. I work the students really hard in conditioning and training muscles and techniques needed for this dance. I've taken all my favorite things from what I've learned, all the "aha! - break through moments" I have had with layering, in drilling, training and dancing, breathing techniques, Yoga, Pilates, & Stretching and condensed them to develop a dancer training regiment of muscle conditioning specified to the muscles used in the dance. I don't believe in messing around, I like to get right to the muscles being used and developing those, so they work much better for you in your dance practice. And on the other side of that, is taking care of those muscles after with highly effective stretching. I also like getting the most out of the work you're doing, so breathing is part of that training, don't we all want the best results in the least amount of work? With the drilling, I really challenge you to find each separate muscle, deep muscles, to really learn your body, so you understand your isolations better and have a lot more control over your movement, and have a lot more freedom in expressing yourself in dance! Plus when you really get to know what and why your body is doing something it will keep you safe in other dance practices, yoga, sport, etc. keeping unnecessary injury away.

With the layering, it's a simple formula I came up with that helped me develop my layering technique. I've seen people 'get it' really fast through this method, and the way it works itself into your muscle memory really allows you to add onto it, and develop your layering technique, IF PRACTICED, in a short time! I present some really challenging stuff, but it’s fun, I swear and it pays off! I hope to see many of you there, very excited to meet more of our dance community here, and develop relationships that will last a long long time!

Homepage Keri Lonhard:
Keri Lonhard on facebook
Keri Lonhard ist guest at 3rd Black Forest Tribal Festival

Interview with Keri Lonhard

by Marcel Bieger

Graphic Design: Konstanze Winkler

Keri at Thunderdome Benefit Show with the C.o.R.E. troupe in 2007
What do I expect from Germany? Living here, dancing here, or teaching here? it's hard to say. It's taken a long time to adjust as a foreigner. Everything has been new and needs time to grow and build. New land, new language new people, new dance community. It's a completely different place as you can imagine than the S.F. Bay Area where I come from. Maybe there's not a ton of clubs or night life or something to do, but it's not the kind of thing that is important to me. I think living and learning life in a culture that's not mine is a great opportunity.

It's important for people to do this kind of stuff, learn languages and cultures and places outside of their own, outside of their comfort zones, so to speak, and create a larger perception of life and this world we live in. Most people from here tell me how boring it is here and how they would like to be there instead. But I think it's beautiful here. And I think there's lots to do. I'm not so interested these days in going out, I don't need some crazy night life. I am in awe of the Black Forest, the rivers and lakes, the Churches on the hills, the statues, the stone streets. We have Horses next door to us! It's incredibly beautiful and fulfilling here! And as far as teaching here, I hope to give inspiration, motivation to work hard, to give my unique perspective on dance to people here, to take the experience I have gained over the years from the Bay Area Belly Dance scene and share it with the dancers in this part of the world. I miss some of the opportunities I had in S.F., performance opportunities, and how widely popular Tribal-Fusion is there, and the availability there of such amazing teachers and talented performers to dance with. I'm going back home finally for a visit in October. I plan on going to as many classes while I'm there as humanly possible. Suhaila, Amy Sigil & Hot Pot Studios, Zoe/Kami/Rose Harden, Cera Byer, Mira Betz, Jill Parker, anything I can get my hands on!! Very exciting.

I plan to keep expanding my own dance education, and the dance education of others. I want to take a lot of dance, including Hip Hop, Flamenco, Indian, Modern Jazz, Ballet, and a variety of Belly Dance classes/workshops. I don't think you can ever learn enough, or stop growing as a dancer. I hope to expand my student base with my Monday night class in Basel, upcoming workshops, & performances. I'm hoping this Tribal-Fusion, modern style of belly dance really catches on out here, even more than it has already!
My top student, Paige Lawrence, a male dancer in the states, is now performing and teaching himself! It makes me proud to see him doing so well!