artist interviews

taleisa kuipers


what is your art form?

performing arts.

what do you do and why do you do it?

i am a dancer, a singer, and an actor. i’ve been doing it for quite some time now, basically, i’m just a ‘performer’. i do it because, well, i’ve grown up being a dancer, and i basically just fell in love with performing. it’s just something that makes me really happy to be able to show everybody what i love.

who/what has inspired you in your artistic practice and why?

the biggest inspiration has been myself, to be honest. i suffer from quite a few medical conditions, and i went through a stage where i wasn’t dancing or performing for quite some time. it has been a real struggle trying to get back into that, but since then i’ve realised just how amazing it feels to be able to perform, so really i’m inspired by the tough times i went through in terms of continuing in what i want to do, because i love the stage too much to leave it.

what do you think your role is as an artist? has anything stopped you from fulfilling this role?

i think one of the biggest roles i have as an artist is to tell stories, especially as a performer on stage i do this through spoken communication, through singing, through dance, through dance and non-verbal, and i just think there are more ways to show everybody what is happening in the world, or personal stories, and all that sort of thing, than just through spoken, verbal one-on-one communication. i just love being able to tell a story through dance and using my emotions. obviously, having these medical conditions, they did stop me from being able to do that, but also it is somewhat of a struggle because not everybody appreciates and realises what our role is as a dancer. everybody just kind of… watches and goes ‘oh, that’s just a trick, that’s a cartwheel, that’s a flip’ and that kind of thing. they don’t really realise what is behind that sort of thing, and all the cool tricks we can do.

what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?

one of my biggest challenges has obviously been being diagnosed with my medical conditions. i love performing, and not being able to do this for at least a year of my life was one of the hardest things i ever had to do. i would sit and i would watch my friends in class, and it was just… it was really disheartening, and i started to lose that passion, and that desire that i had to show the world my dancing, and tell the world stories through performance art, and i just… i missed it, and it was really difficult trying to go back into it, because things change in a year! and of course, stamina, and that sort of thing, as well, but mostly trying to find that passion again after i had been out of it for so long.

do you believe that good art comes from turmoil and suffering, or is that a romantic notion?

i do think good art comes from turmoil and suffering, because from my personal experience, i tell stories based off of what i have been through. so, i will do a performance, and i will often use my personal story as a basis of what i might be doing to perform, or i’ll use it as sort of… an emotional recall, sort of thing, and i will think about that and use that towards whatever it is that i’m performing. but, i don’t think that it is just turmoil and suffering. you can tell stories and perform about anything. whether it’s personal, whether it is something else happening in the world, whether it is something in nature - anything. it doesn’t always have to be suffering. there is happy stories, you can be thankful, you can be grateful, it isn’t just bad things.

how do you feel your age impacts your experience as an artist?

in terms of age i definitely feel that once i’ve matured a bit - now that i’m eighteen, it is a lot easier in terms of getting myself out there as a performer because i’m entering that pre-professional world now, and it’s still definitely an experience but when i was younger it was often a bit more difficult to exit being a dancer, and a competition dancer, and actually trying to do it as a job, and trying to learn how to do it as work, because there’s not any opportunities for younger people, or there isn’t as many opportunities for those who are under the age of eighteen. so once i turned eighteen, it definitely opened up my opportunities.

what about your gender/race/sexuality/disability etc.?

the biggest thing would be my disabilities. i have quite a few invisible illnesses, and this is very difficult as a performer, because i will come into a class or come into a rehearsal, and nobody knows what is going on. they look at me, and they think i’m fine, so i will continue to do the class and i will start to suffer - whether it is feeling like i’m going to pass out, or just struggling with my stamina, or suffering with pain and that sort of thing, but nobody can really tell because i don’t have those physical signs of a disability. one of them is a spinal condition, so nobody can actually see that, unless you look really closely. they all make being a performer really difficult because they’re invisible, and everybody just looks at you and thinks you’re fine. and they just think that you’re unfit and you’re just struggling, but it’s because i have these invisible conditions that set me back sometimes, and it has taken a lot to bring myself to go back to class and actually speak up and tell people about them, and that if i’m struggling, that is why.

what kind of work do you want to see created and progressed in the arts sector? what can be done to ensure this has the opportunities it needs to go ahead?

i want to see more! i’m all for… it’s 2022, we’re seeing more race and gender diversity, and there is diversity, but i want to see more! and i want to see it accepted, because we do still have things like the gender pay gap in the film industry. just more diversity and more equality. men and women are doing the same amount of work in this industry and they are often paid unequally, and especially as a female, i believe that it should be equal. and the same goes for somebody who might identify as… somebody who may not identify with a gender, they are still being treated differently to someone who is male or female. so yeah, i want to see more equality, and more diversity. i definitely think we’re on the way there, but we just need more.

when it comes to art, what would you tell your younger self?

just keep going! no matter what happens, keep persevering, and keep doing what it is you love. no matter how many times you start to feel like you’re losing your passion, or like you’re really struggling with where you’re at, just keep pushing through. because this is something that you love, and you will continue to love for a very long time, and it is something that has gotten you through so many hard times, so really just… just push through and keep going.

looking back, learning from my younger self, just…. i used to take in so much, i used to aspire to be like the older girls in the class, and just that massive doe-eyed, wide-eyed inspiration, going ‘i wanna be like that some day’. i need to still take that into account, and watch people that are industry professionals, and watch them in their classes, take classes with them, and just continue into that because this is an industry i am entering into now as a professional and a pre-professional and i look and i’m just like, i need to continue and look back to those days when i used to watch the older girls in the studio, and now i’m really here and i can watch people who are professional in the studio.

read more interviews