Meet our student: Sophia Oltmanns

Meet our Students Sophia OltmannsWho? Sophia Oltmanns (24)
From? Bonn, Germany
Studies? Circus Arts
Year? Four
What? At the Circusstad Festival she presented a preview of the graduation act she will be performing at the Oude Luxor Theatre in June

On four and five may, at the Circusstad Festival, you and your co-students presented previews of your graduation acts. How did yours go?
“It was the first time that I did this act before an audience, so I was super stressed! I created the act together with guitar player Juliano Abramovay, who is a Master’s student of Turkish Music. However, on these two days he was not available and I had only three days to rehearse it with his replacement, former circus arts student Rémi Lebocey. But all went well, the concept worked and the audience liked it. So that was good. Now I can work on finetuning the act. The timing, the breaks, perhaps shorten it in a number of places. Even scrap some things altogether. It’s like a drawing: the outlines are there and now I can start filling in the colours. And of course I’m working on my technique every day.”

What is the story behind the act?
“During my studies here at Codarts, I became fascinated with all the different departments and disciplines: circus, dance, jazz, pop, world music, classical music, music theatre… I think it’s important to meet dancers and musicians and to go and see their performances. My act is about the interaction between me and the guitar player. He is very actively involved, not just someone in the background. I throw clubs at him, climb on top of him, manipulate him. And he hands me the guitar. Yes, I do play guitar during the act; not very well, but I do it, ha ha.”

On 22 and 23 June you will be performing your act in the Oude Luxor Theatre during the graduation performance Take Off#9. Are you excited?
“Very much so! It’s such a large venue! After row three, the audience can no longer see your facial expressions. It is quite a challenge to still reach everyone. Fortunately, we can rehearse for a whole week in the theatre. And afterwards I’ll have one more great experience!”

What is your favourite spot in Rotterdam?
“The highest point on the Erasmus Bridge, ha ha! Once you are there, it’s all downhill and you can relax. I live near Blijdorp Zoo and ride my bicycle across the bridge to and from school every day. Especially in the winter it can be quite tough. That bridge almost traumatised me, ha ha!”

Codarts to me is…
“… an opportunity to fall down, get up again and go on and become better. It’s a challenge. At first, I had a hard time of it. Unlike most of the others I wasn’t used to intensive training. It took so much out of me – after a day at school I was completely knackered. I’ve learned a lot in terms of technique, but also about myself. The school has encouraged me to keep going on, no matter what. I am now ready for anything. Soon I will finish my studies. That is nice, but also a little bit frightening – the school will be no longer there to protect me and I’ll be on my own. But I have managed to overcome everything during these past few years, so I’m sure I’ll be fine!”