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05 September 2016 | Nieuws

Interview winner Sarah Murphy: “I could finally visit my family”

If there is one Piket Art Prizes winner that has been on a roll, it’s been Sarah Murphy, who won the our dance category last year. She’s been on the move with choreographer Joeri Dubbe and won multiple prizes at different dance festivals. Her calendar for next year is already almost fully booked. ‘Having those prizes come in, you don’t go on a shopping spree or a trip to Cabo, but it takes that stress off and allows you to choose projects with peace and ease.”

The Prize

Winning the prize has meant a lot, Murphy recalls. Making the transition into freelance was not easy, she says, because she found out a lot of the confidence she had, she had gotten from working for a big institution like NDT, where she danced for three years. “So all of a sudden when I left that set up, and found myself alone and representing only me, I realized that I did not necessarily have that confidence from myself. I had some trials and tribulations in the beginning, but owed it to myself to give it a couple of years.” Winning the prize resolidified her choice to go freelance. “It’s not often that you get that external recognition as a dancer.” Murphy recalls being ‘kind of in shock’. “Winning the award gave me the courage to pull up my socks and keep going.”

A few months after winning the Piket Prize, Murphy was also shocked to have won first prize in the ‘performace’ category at the International Solo Dance Theatre Festival in Stuttgart. ‘It was a privilege to be there, it did not feel like a competition. There were so many companies from different places in the world, and all of us sharing our experiences through art. I wasn’t that concerned with it having an award attached to it, and then we won. I told myself: well, it must be your year!”

The Piket Prize also allowed Murphy to go home for Christmas for the first time in five years. Growing up, she attended boarding school: “I rarely get to see my family. It was my mom’s 60th birthday…it was a blessing!” She was also able to buy a computer for the first time in five years, which has helped her freelancing “immensely”. What’s more, there’s also job offers thanks to the Piket video’s of her dancing.

The jury

An important part of the Piket Art Prize consists of the mentoring role the jury takes on. The talks Murphy has had with jury member Cora Bos-Kroese have helped her in times of need, she says. “I have immense respect for her as an artist and also as a friend. There have been some specific instances where it was really helpful to have her around. I had to negotiate my own fee one time, but I did not know how to do it. We dancers are humble people but I also need to realize what the worth is for your time. Cora gave me incredible advice. If she hadn’t, I would not be eating this month, haha! I also asked her about finding continuous sources of inspiration, and she’s given me advice on taking time off to not burn out. Also she’s been there as a friend, which has been invaluable being away from home.”

The Future

For the remainder of 2016, Murphy will be busy with projects all over the world. She’ll be teaching workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia, but also teaching at the Mediterraneo Dance Festival in Italy. She’s been hired as a soloist to dance in La Mode, a large installation project for famous Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama at the opening of the National Theatre in Taichung in Taiwan.

With Joeri Dubbe, Murphy tells us there is new work scheduled for May 2017 at Korzo. “We will be coming back!” With Dubbe she’ll also be travelling, going from residencies in Germany and Italy to maybe Japan and China. Then there’s Murphy’s teaching in between. “It’s a busy year, next year. I’d like to keep going in this way, with a full schedule and as little gaps in between.”

Speaking of the future that’s farther away, she says she’d like to help people through movement, dance and even yoga. “I am interested to work with special needs children and the elderly, through movement therapy and recreational therapy. That’s something I’d like to dive in later. I also love to bake, so maybe a small bakery later?”