Franka Marlene Talks About Gender, Ethnic Diversity and Her Fascination with the Human Body

Partnering with our soulmate platform "As Seen By Her", we are highlighting some awesome ladies, like the ever-ethereal dancer Franka Marlene.

So, we have officially found our soulmate. Introducing As Seen by Her. — a platform celebrating modern women with the ambition to share honest and intelligent perspectives. Sounds pretty similar to us, eh? Since our goals come from pretty much the same place, we’ll be partnering and sharing interviews from As Seen by Her. and women all over the world. You can read the full version of all interviews on asseenbyher.com

Today, meet Berlin-based dancer and choreographer Franka Marlene. She talks about dance as an art form and how choreography is like painting, with bodies and emotions.

Photos by Frangipani Beatt
Excerpts from an original interview with Franka Marlene

I am Marlene. My profession, passion and ongoing drive in life is dance. I started at a very young age, never stopped and never questioned my path. I never decided to be a dancer, I just always was. I am fascinated by the possibility to influence and change a room by the mere presence of a human body, and to create a new space by choreographing and staging bodies. Choreography, to me, is like painting, but the compositions don’t consist of colours, but of bodies, emotions and music.

When I was young, the competitive side of dancing was on one hand really exhausting, because you do compare yourself all the time, and you get judged. On the other hand I was always quite confident and tried to not compete with people who were better than me, but rather learn from them. I love that gender doesn’t matter within the dance scene–at least that’s been my experience from a young age. It’s always been ahead of the times when it comes to sexuality, whatever it might be. There is no homophobia and ethnic diversity is also a huge part of the scene, and always was.

A big inspiration for me is Martial Arts. As my father is a Karate Master, I grew up with that feeling for movement, because I was surrounded by him practicing and teaching Katas. When I was younger, I was never really interested in doing Karate. But as I got older I realized that for me, it was just another way of doing choreography and I began to let my art be influenced by it. I never thought that Martial Arts — or at least Karate — was a sport ruled by men. My father was training almost as many women as men, and my mother did Karate too and still does. I know a lot of women who were in the Karate scene, and of course I find that very inspiring now. When I was younger, it was just normal for me to be around all these athletes.

Dancers, and this entire art form, is not valued enough. Dance is an art form that needs much more respect and appreciation. We are performing athletes and I’d like us to have our own platform to express this. When you’re doing what you really love, you’ll meet the right people to work with. Its an ongoing process; my work and life in general is a never ending process of learning, creating, pausing, training, fighting, calming, researching and traveling. I don’t think too much of the future, I focus on the present and always follow my instincts.