" Transforming my inner personal world, positive or dark, into a visual fantasy world " - Steven Van Nuffelen

Starting life with school, Steven Van Nuffelen always felt that he did not belong, didn’t want to belong to the group and pick out his own people. Without knowing that became a trip that widened him further and further away from main society and creating this non-common life…  and that felt good. He started his physical-artistic education with 3y of Mime and 2y of Theater, and many many workshops. He kept on performing with and around fire, fireworks, pyro techniques… In the meanwhile, He deepened his personality by conscious enlarging practices in many forms and ways. Through meditation he ended up doing Craniosacral Therapy, a hands-on treatment involving meditation techniques looking for Stillness: the healing point of creative life. Continuing that his main goal is connection, with himself and others, to get to know what it is being human with an ultimate tranquil and peaceful death. Recently, he performed at  Momentum experimental art festival at the Range Art Gallery,Kolkata. MOMENTUM is curated and produced by Range, The Arshinagar Project & Littlei, in association with Artvideo.koeln and in partnership with Makers Loft – Kolkata Makerspace.

When did you first learn about fire art and what drew you to it?

Well, during my mime education, one afternoon we learned about fire techniques: fire eating and breathing. We learned how to handle fire, move around and created a show, with success.  I got a job to do a show, in an old church, what was transformed into a restaurant. People came to celebrate the wedding of the Count of Flanders, a Medieval evening. Step by step, I learned the profession: how to build up tension, interact with the audience, building my personal arsenal of acts and props. Fire has the combination of being technical and beautiful. Two things that attracted me. And me playing the Jester figure: doing things other people are not allowed to, was the perfect combination to continue playing, searching new effects, and most important the communication with the audience!

Why do people love fire performers?

Everybody is afraid of fire, thou the beauty attracts them. People are more attracted to the fire, than to the performer… but still, the magic of being able to play with something they are afraid of, gives mystery and marvel.

What does acting mean to you?

Above all: communication, and some escapism from reality I think … But also to transform my inner personal world, positive or dark, into a visual fantasy world by “Making it happen”. Taking the public along unknown worlds attracts me, hope to offer different views in life… so everyone can reflect and maybe, maybe become a better person… This joy of communal profit is the centre of my work.

What is the artistic/creative process you follow?

Throughout the years it has found its way within myself. My personal life lead me to different themes that could take some importance in me, diverse over a 25 years period of time. I worked them out on stage until it started to resonate with the audience. So I ask myself: what is acting… becoming someone else, or just becoming a specific part of yourself… The freedom to choose which part you want to play of yourself on which moment is magical, like talking to different people in different ways.

What has been your most challenging experience in creating the work in which you are currently involved?

Relaxation to open mind and body, and retrieving the Indian wisdom about it, Hindus as well as Buddhist…

In the West, theatre, physical theatre and dance are often taught through techniques. Techniques that teaches their vocabulary and theatrical effects you can use on a certain moment. In India, I encountered an other entrance: deep mediation.

On my travels I started with the Hindu Yoga Nidra, to conclude with the Buddhist Vajrayana meditation. To deepen my own meditation techniques of when I was 9 years old, it is very hard to receive Buddhist wisdom. Since my education was not Buddhist, I still up to now, struggle to retrieve practical information, on what to do with (if not exploit) the energizing body within a soft mindset… Since no outside answers have been given, I just continue to practice, the meditation, the walking meditation and the moving “meditation” on stage.

Do you believe Internet, technology pose threat to live art performances?

Well, when I am  tired I more often stay at home and watch a movie… So to speak, it takes an effort to leave your home to go and see life art performances. The power of life performances is that they are connecting on a different way, multiple levels, being surrounded by the rest of the public influences, the social encounters can bring you in altered states,… so many things that makes out an evening at a life performance, more filled up. So treat… yes. Taking time for a conscious decision, and you know what you have to do that evening…

What can a guest expect in a Craniosacral Therapy session with you? Where do you see energy healing heading in the near future?

Deep deep relaxation. The deeper the guests allows themselves to let go, the deeper the mind and body can profit of the pause. The attention based medicine like Craniosacral Therapy finds its physical connection in the soft touch of the hands. Connection within the mind can start exploring the energetic part. A travels starts to be made.

In the Stillness, during the relaxation, the healing process can take place. As if the nothing is asking to be filled up, so the energy in the body will find its place when there is an open field of “nothing”. It fills it up automatically by law of nature. The same happens with an overload, a blockage… it strives to the natural balance.

As human conscious keeps on expanding, as humans keep on exploring the unseen, so the healing will find further places never seen before. I think one of the keys is Stillness, silence and attention based medicine. Indian wisdom and western medicine will encounter each other more and more, with positive results!

How was your experience performing here?

Intense, but also relaxed, as the meditative body was my starting point… The openness for the moment was the most important goal to meet… and over the 3 performances I succeeded the second time the most. There being in the moment, but also the body, the tension and the inner story met on the same moment, in the Now… a perfect encounter.

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