Artistic Director Mavin Khoo

Pictured Above:
Mavin Khoo 
ZfinMalta Artistic Director 

Artistic Director Mavin Khoo chats to us about his role and the upcoming UK tour of ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble's Triple Bill

1. How and when did you first meet ZfinMalta Dance Ensemble?

Mavin Khoo: I began my relationship with Malta in 2004 when I came with mavinkhooDance (which was London based) to perform through the British Council. I subsequently came again in 2007 with a solo performance and got to know the creative community. In 2010, the University of Malta opened its first full time contemporary dance programme and I was appointed to work alongside Professor Jo Butterworth in its setting up. In 2014 the government launched ZfinMalta and I was appointed as its first Artistic Director.

2. What was your job as the company’s first Artistic Director?

Mavin Khoo: It was really about me setting up everything from scratch: establishing the company’s artistic vision, philosophy...identifying the kind of dancers that would employed, the training, repertoire, contracts, creative team, work space, branding, crew, organisational infrastructure and most importantly, establishing a clear 5 year strategy.

 3. How has the job of AD enabled you to grow?

Mavin Khoo: Well the combination of directing and performing is always a challenge and one really has to develop strong skills in multi-tasking and time management. Fortunately I have a lot of experience as a Rehearsal Director (with Akram Khan) and of course, that role is demanding in those aspects.  The biggest challenge has been establishing a working structure that is professional and related to the working ethos of the international sector whilst ensuring it works within the Maltese governmental system; that requires constant negotiations and discussions.

4. How did you choose the work and choreographers for the Triple and Double Bills that you’re bringing to the UK?

Mavin Khoo: The company is a repertory company with a clear brief to develop a Mediterranean identity. One of the things I feel is problematic sometimes with rep companies is the tendency to choose too many different choreographic approaches in the name of versatility. Dancers never have the time to really investigate deeply.

Whilst we do have a range of choreographers, it’s important that the company provides a platform for emerging Maltese choreographers to gain experience.  I established 3 main choreographic strands from the beginning. The main works performed by the company are by me and our Associate Choreographer Ivan Perez Aviles and Associate Artist Jose Agudo. I was particularly interested in Ivan and Jose's works as they are really current in establishing a method and style. They are also both extremely good at imparting knowledge based on their work. Furthermore, their identities as Spanish dancers and dance makers brings an interesting Mediterranean quality to their works.

 5. What are you most looking forward to about bringing the company to the UK for the first time?

Mavin Khoo: It’s a young company, full of ambition, and I believe that the investment in quality of training, coaching and artistic mentoring that ZinMalta has committed to for its dancers, brings out a particular energy and dynamism that is unique and yes, very Mediterranean.

I also had the most wonderful performing history with the UK. It feels like coming home with these dancers and sharing my history with them.

It also is an amazing opportunity for the dancers to really challenge themselves with the kind of stamina needed when one goes on a tour of this nature. 

6. And what do you think UK audiences will take away with them after seeing the company in action? I feel that the UK audiences will recognise a rigor and artistic sensibility that is engaging and touching.

Mavin Khoo: We are unashamedly passionate on stage and this really has the capacity to move.

7. How do you divide your time between your duties as AD of Zfin Malta and your other highly regarded work with companies such as Akram Khan?

Mavin Khoo: I am very disciplined with my time management and schedules; it’s a matter of really establishing artistic priorities and ensuring that I am able to give the best to whichever company I am with. There is also a tremendous amount of projects that I have had to turn down.

8. What’s next for Mavin Khoo?

Mavin Khoo: After my contract as Artistic Director finishes later this year, I’ll continue as an Associate with ZfinMalta in order to conclude some one-off projects and also to ensure that there is smooth transitional hand over phase between myself and the next AD.

I will also be performing more and taking on several of the big projects that I have not been able to commit to over the last few years.

Zfin Malta Dance Ensemble Image

Catch the incredible ŻfinMalta and their Triple Bill on Thursday 2 February  at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £12 (£10 concession) and can be booked online or through our Box Office on 01332 370911.

Catch more incredible international dance this season on Thursday 26 January as Theatre Abosulte and Moving Spaces present the exhilarating and exceptional performance: TRAUM




ArtCore  50s  Deda  student  New Year  dyslexia  Simon Armitage  variety  Déda Refurb  Dance Development  jive  offer  carnival  Back pain  Productions  Yoga  Fifties  café  history  club  Bounceback  Degree  funding  Tutor  Déda Board  Writing  marketing  learning  Poetry Performance  Ballet  BA Dance  Journalism  Festivals  Studio  QUAD  Print  Celebrate  Arts Council  University  refurbishment  Just Imagine Working Here  network  cabaret  socialise  Stress  Plus One  Coordinator  ACE Midlands  New Dimensions  Derby  Ben Spiller  feedback  Rock 'n' Roll  training  U.Dance  Hires  Career  Illuminos  reading  performance  apprentice  actor  Dancing  Derby Theatre  Classes  business  story  Udance  party  Creativity  Strictly  Routine  words  Déda Theatre  New Art Club  Sleep  inclusive  Dance  Alice Vale  Adaire To Dance  education    Kathak  Dance4  Course  Plymouth  wedding  Poet  Dance Career  facilities  Déda Bloggers  Autumn  Competition  Southbank  event  hubbub  dancer  Building work  University of Derby  Tour  regular  Inspiring  social media  books  Social  meeting  comedy  City centre  DYDC  Stephen Munn  expansion  Performace  placement  projection  vintage  Danish+  group  Shakespeare  Greek  Summer  ballroom  Stompers  development  Circus  celebration  Workshops  September  dance, placement  Shows  Discusssion  DJ  Hen Party  storytelling  disco  corporate  contemporary  Déda  Arts Award  fun  retro  study  Ashtanga  Midlands  family  Fresher  Participation  Jasmin Vardimon  partner  Zumba  Outdoor Events  Wendy  Planning  choreography  Udancebythesea  Book Club  Studying  review  Theatre  mythology  Stopgap  Blog  professional  food  Hercules  work experience  artist  student, work experience   T42 Residency  young people  research  Children and young people  acting  Derby Book Festival  Baby Shower  Choice  Regional  commercial  siteline  Derby Arts  Icarus  Wellbeing  Aakash  Derby University  AGM  birds  InCompany  Foxtrot  Brochure  Hydra  East Midlands  BBC  Path  interview  Michaela Butter  Derby Festé  Community  Higher Education  hula hoop  Sky Academy  CUBE  office  photo  Audience  digital  Cultural Vision  Poetry  Vale  Youth