For this first instalment of the #feralfolk feature on my blog, I had the pleasure of chatting with dancer, instructor and costumer, Dud Muurmand. I first met Dud at Gothla UK in her burlesque fusion workshop, and have been a student of hers ever since. Her Weimar-Berlin cabaret style as well as her skirt fusion and traditional belly dance styles, all with a darker edge is unique in the belly dance world. I’m excited to have talked to her via email.
Ally: Can you tell us a bit about your current projects?
Dud: My biggest projects currently is my Patreon forum and my Ravenwing Design. My Patreon forum is reaching its 2 year anniversary this month. This subscription-based forum where people can study and train dance with me is a very large part of my creative work time nowadays.
They are more like “vignettes” or “moving sculptures” inspired by old tales, mythology and history.
I am very happy to see how the forum keeps growing and the support I get back from my patrons. It is a very fulfilling project for myself also. The technical work behind all my video releases and live stream classes have also given back a lot of experience and inspirations into other artistic ideas in my head of story-telling/dramatic dance videos – but quite unlike the regular choreography-caught on video. They are more like “vignettes” or “moving sculptures” inspired by old tales, mythology and history. The first of this idea came out last year in my little video project “Mørkealf”
My Ravenwing Design (slow fashion and upcycled designs aimed at dancers and other free spirits) is another big project of mine currently – still in its inception, but nevertheless a creative project that has been on it’s way for about … well, ahem 20 years!
I have always been very creative and productive with my hands: sewing, knitting, crocheting, making costumes, making stuff – and very inspired by my own mother who was also a very creative and productive person. For many years she was also encouraging me to expand this side of my creativity and jump into “business” but for some strange reason of insecurity I was stalling. Unfortunately, I lost my mum 5 years ago so I did not have her to push me anymore, but luckily my husband “took over” the pushing part and I started “Ravenwing Design” last January 2019.
Like I said, it is still in its very beginning, I am such a terrible “business person” I completely lack the sense for figures and numbers – but I will try to focus on what I can put into my designs – love for beauty.
Ally: Do you have a favourite adornment? Does it have a story?
Dud: Okay, this question was like opening Pandoras box – because I went straight into my treasure boxes of ….many many …. jewelry and adornment pieces that I have collected over the years – and what to choose?
Some are of course family heirlooms that contains their own history, other pieces are marking different phases of my life, others are special pieces that called out to me at a shop, a flea market, an artisan market. I am a hoarder on that matter, period. As a dancer and physical mover, I am also not really able to wear so much jewelry on daily basis, but when I dress up I fancy putting on more stuff and I am not afraid to mix old and new. But instead of wearing my pieces I like to hang up especially necklaces as adornment in my home studio.
OKAY, I have to choose:
– first is the necklace my husband bought for me as the very first present in our relationship – it was the year 1998 and he gave it to me on the premier night of my dance play “Orientalia 2000”
– Second is a small wooden brooch that my mother actually made herself when she was a young girl. I don’t wear it very often, afraid to loose it – but I love holding it in my hand
– Third: a little variety of earrings – earrings is what I wear the most. Some years ago I found this guy in the Berlin Mauerpark fleamarket. He has a little stall with earrings and jewelry made out of scraps – especially electronic scraps. I have several of his earrings – but one pair is a favourite made out of tiny light bulbs from car lights.
And then I want to point to my newly possessed Nidavellir earrings from Feral Strumpet, they are really growing on me, I just love the form, the beauty and the vintage feel.
Ally: Is there another artist, writer, dancer or maker that you think we should be paying attention to now?
Dud: Again – where to start? I have chosen 3 musicians, that are in my personal perimeter at the moment:
I loooooove music and it is often from music I get inspiration for my dance artistry. These 2 guys you will recognise from a lot of my online training videos because they both make “royalty free music”, which is a treasure in itself, but that is actually not why I keep using their music. They are very different in styles, one is very dark and the other is doing a lot of electronic cross-over and experiments (and also game music, which is where he started I think – but digging into his archive there is sooo much more).
The 3rd musician is Danish DANHEIM, www.danheimmusic.com – pure love for “viking style” music, the depth, the stories, the imagery – and he is becoming very popular which is well deserved.
Ally: Dud, thank you so much for talking to me. I especially liked hearing about your mother’s brooch and her influence on Ravenswing. Also thanks for turning me on to Danheim, a new favourite.
You can find Dud Muurmand online in these places