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Internships, laboratories and research residencies

IFO asbl

The training and research activities of the Belova-Iacobelli Company are organized by IFO asbl.

IFO asbl was created on the initiative of Natacha Belova, director and set designer, and Javier Chavez, producer. The mission of the asbl is the creation of shows by the Belova-Iacobelli company, as well as research and transmission of skills around the art of puppetry and masks. Constituted as an ASBL in 2016 in Brussels, IFO has been active since 2012. Currently, the association has: produced two shows and one in creation, organized 35 workshops and 7 laboratories in 16 countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia, more than 630 artists of 45 different nationalities have participated in these projects. Other recognized Belgian and foreign artists also lead workshops organized by the association. We can mention Jean-Michel d’Hoop, Michel Villée, Nicole Mossoux, Fabrice Rodriguez and Emmanuelle Mathieu from Belgium, Tita Iacobelli (Chile), Duda Paiva (Netherlands), Eduardo Felix (Brazil)


FONDS 304 The workshops organised by the Belova-Iacobelli / IFO asbl company in 2023 are supported by FONDS 304 which will intervene at the amount indicated on each workshop. FONDS 304 is available to workers in the performing arts sector (joint committee 304) in the Walloon or Brussels region, who are currently in a position covered by CP 304 or who can prove that they have worked for one or more French-speaking CP 304 employers for 30 days over the past 24 months. To obtain support from FONDS 304, participants must submit an application. Contact ifo.didacte@ifoperator.be if you wish to submit an application.

Workshop by Pablo Gershanik 

Dates : 2-6 July 2023, 5 days (30 hours)
Working schedule : 10am – 5pm with a one-hour lunch break.
Address : Zinneke Parade, Pl. Masui 13, 1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Fee : 560 € Materials included
Meals, transport and accommodation not included.
Request for support from FONDS 304 possible up to 450€

Language : french, english, spanish and italian
Number of participants : maximum 12
Profile of the participants : professional puppeteers, actors, dancers, set designers, visual artists, workers in the socio-cultural field.

Objectives : The Intimate Model Laboratory aims to explore « metaphor » as the possibility of transforming a painful experience by symbolizing it in a new way. To provide professional tools to people working in the artistic field of performance and socio-cultural support.
In a process of research and creation, a group of people work with art tools, and from a lived experience, to create a multimedia object intended to create links between personal and social history. This device, created by the Argentinean artist Pablo Gershanik, was born out of an interest in aesthetically addressing traumatic experiences that are emblematic for a person, a family or a community. The process of « mise en page » was proposed as a tool for transposing moments experienced by Argentine society, through the creation of aesthetic mechanisms of mediation and resilience in the face of an experience of suffering in both personal and social history.
Method : The Intimate Models Laboratory directed by Pablo Gershanik is a research creation device for a group of “modellers” (people who have had a traumatic or emblematic personal experience) who will work, during some team sessions, on three aspects:
1. Representation. The team will use tools from the theater of movement (expressive play, object’s theatre) to search for the symbolic and metaphorical universe that makes up each intimate model).
2. Memory. Composition and production of models. Each participant will develop their model work based on their personal experience and their narration of it. Although each creation can be purely individual, the project seeks to generate dialogues and exchanges where each model can be nourished by the work of the other participants. Creation groups bring together artists, people from the therapeutic field, people who want to explore the device, and people who have experienced a traumatic or emblematic event.
3. Social ties. Interaction between participants for reflection, documentation and presentation of the models to the public.
Each participant will engage in the creation of a multimedia or three-dimensional device (a model). This work of theatrical storytelling will be the result of the work of creation and transposition from a personal experience as well as from the interaction with the proposals of the other participants.

To find out more about Pablo Gershanik and his work : maquetasintimas.com / Teaser Maquettes Intimes

Registrations were closed on 25 June 2023
If you would like to be informed about the next workshop, contact ifo.didacte@ifoperator.be

Research around puppet figures
Workshop by Tita Iacobelli and Natacha Belova, assisted by Marta Pereira 

Dates : 14-27 August 2023 (the 20th and 21st are days off), 12 days (72 hours)
Working schedule : 10am – 5pm with a one-hour lunch break.
Address : Zinneke Parade, Pl. Masui 13, 1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Fee : 950 € Materials included
Meals, transport and accommodation not included.
Request for support from FONDS 304 possible up to 550€

Language : French, English, Spanish and Russian
Number of participants : maximum 12
Profile of the participants : puppeteers, actors, dancers, set designers, visual artists

Description : Starting from a text or an image where we can see « the other » or « others » who challenge us, who provoke us, who modify our breathing, through the construction of a puppet and manipulation techniques, we will try to assimilate the presence of this « other ». As we give shape to a head, to a figure, we will explore the possibilities of manipulation that will allow us to deploy a scenic imagination and to progress in the construction of the puppet. We will study the gestural possibilities of this new being to discover its particularity and develop its character. We will work on dissociation techniques to understand its rhythm, its intelligence – different from ours – which will allow us to meet the puppet as an object that becomes a subject. Who is the other? Through play and movement we will also explore dependence, the influence of one on the other, the appearance and disappearance of one and the other.
Making a puppet figure : The different materials used, the size of the puppet and the manipulation technique, are important choices that are rarely theoretical for us. It is more often through experimentation, through testing, that the appropriate answers appear. This is an essential step in making your puppet unique, alive, effective and organic in the performance. The imitation of reality, transposition, deformation, everything is possible.
The term puppet figure has been chosen to open the field of possibilities and not to fix itself to the complete body, realistic morphology and common and precise technique of realization. Nevertheless several techniques will be explored to realize your projects: clay or foam sculpture, thermoplastic or paper finishing. Using objects or raw materials is possible. Zinneke’s space is an Ali Baba’s cave of recycled materials and we have the possibility to use it.
Workshop procedure : We will divide our time between working in the studio and in the rehearsal room. First we will explore the relationship to the « other » with the spare puppet parts of the Company and the objects found in Zinneke’s stock or brought by the participants. Then we will build a quick prototype of a head and then experiment with its strengths and weaknesses on the stage. Back in the workshop the work of building your « other » will begin. The back and forth between the rehearsal space and the workshop will continue throughout the workshop. These will be personal and group sessions.
Scenic photographic portrait : In this workshop, we will collaborate with the photographer Pierre-Yves Jortay. He will follow the creation trajectory of your characters. At the end of the workshop he will create two portraits in a minimalist scenography related to your project.

Registrations were closed on 20 May 2023
Selection results will be announced on 30 May 2023
If you would like to be informed about the next workshop, contact ifo.didacte@ifoperator.be

Fabrication techniques, approach to acting, creative process and experimentation with voice and sound.

Dates : 21-31 August 2023 (the 27th is a day off), 10 days (60 hours)
Working schedule : 9am – 5pm with a one-hour lunch break.The workshop remains open until 7pm.
Address : Zinneke Parade, Pl. Masui 13, 1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Fee : 780 € Mask-making materials included.
Specific supplies requested by the participant (materials other than those proposed, but also costumes, hats, wigs, etc.) are not included. However, a small stock of wigs and costumes is available for the duration of the workshop.
Meals, transport and accommodation not included.
Request for support from FONDS 304 possible up to 550€
Language : french and english
Number of participants : maximum 12
Profile of the participants : artists, technicians, performing arts educators, visual artists, performers…

«I lead these creation laboratories to share my experience but above all to encourage the emergence of new forms of mask theatre. Each participant is invited to discover the techniques of making masks and to immerse themselves in the whole process of creation: definition of the project, making, relationship to the body, metamorphosis and acting. The masks only take shape in the imagination of each spectator during the performance: all the work beforehand consists of preparing the support for these projections, fictions in movement, different for each person in the audience. The masks are not decorative accessories. This year, for the first time, a sound designer will join us for the last three days to enrich the laboratory with new experiments: sound for actions, voice shifts, etc.» Loïc Nebreda

Objectives : This 10 days course aims at sharing experience gained on theatre productions over 15 years and at guiding participants in the initiation of their own project. The course will include technical information, mask-making research and improvisation. It is important to understand what is implied by the creation of a mask, especially in terms of acting. Rather than finishing an object in all perfect details, the objective is more to pass on a technical and artistic approach that can be used afterwards. 

Method : You will be asked to come with a project, a vision and a set of visual references (A4 prints). No matter which path your research will take, your project will have to draw on both a piece of work (a play, a novel, a theme, etc.) as well as observations made in everyday life (faces, movements, etc.). You will receive a more detailed document to help you prepare your project once your registration has been confirmed.

To find out more about Loïc Nebreda and his work: loicnebreda.com 

Registrations were closed on August 2023
If you would like to be informed about the next workshop, contact ifo.didacte@ifoperator.be

Workshop by Michel Villée and Noémie Vincart

Dates : 4-15 December 2023 (the 9th and 10th are days off), 10 days (60 hours)
Working schedule : 10am – 5pm with a one-hour lunch break.
Address : Zinneke Parade, Pl. Masui 13, 1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Fee : 650 €
Meals, transport and accommodation not included.
Request for support from FONDS 304 possible up to 550€
Language : french and english
Number of participants : maximum 12
Profile of the participants : This workshop is for all actors and other stage artists who wish to discover the practice of puppetry. The course is also open to visual artists, stage designers, builders and musicians.

Objectives : The first objective is to build a good technical base in terms of puppet manipulation. During the first 5 days, we will review with the participants the technical points necessary to approach the manipulation as practiced within the collective Une Tribu.
In a second phase, the second objective will be to specifically approach puppet writing in a silent theatre. The study of this language will be done in parallel with a specific research for each participant who will have the opportunity to explore his or her personal relationship to this language and to the puppet and his or her own desires for stage performance.

Method : In the first 5-day phase, the concepts are covered in concrete exercises. Participants spend time on stage, but also spend a lot of time watching others practise specific exercises, ranging from the simple to the more complex. Learning is done through both practice and observation.
In the second stage of the training, we will see the puppeteers use the concepts they have studied in the first week to study in the first week to develop a story. Each participant will be asked to put into practice the notions discussed in the first week (apart from speech through the object) and to use them specifically to write a puppet sequence ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. We In this part of the workshop we will deal with particular aspects of puppetry: the demand for precision, the repetition of the movement and the objectification of its meaning to obtain the most precise and the most precise and clear narrative possible.

To find out more about Michel Villée, Noémie Vincart and their work: www.unetribu.be

Application: Please fill in the Application Form
Attention : This workshop is currently fully booked. By filling in the form you can join the waiting list. We will contact you if a place becomes available.

Human-arm puppet creation workshop, by Natacha Belova

Plateform : belova.podia.com
Dates : You have access to all information and videos for one year from the day of registration
Fee : 150€
Language : English and French

Description :
Through these 8 video capsules Natacha Belova will guide you through the process of making a human-arm puppet; from the original design to the first stage appearance.
The human-arm puppet is attached to the puppeteer’s waist and their legs and hands become those of the puppet. The bodies of the puppet and puppeteer combine into a single unit.
In these 8 video capsules, Natacha will be making a puppet for a project that she intends to stage. This is not just about sharing the secrets of puppet-making step-by-step, but it also involves serious considerations of meaning and form; which are an essential part of the process of making a puppet.
Fabrication method : the head will be sculpted out of clay and finished in Worbla (thermoplastic resin) and the body will be made from foam. For this first workshop the puppet’s mouth will not be articulated.
The process is divided up into the following steps : preparation (project, visual palette, outline sketches, materials); clay sculpture of the head (pattern, volume, proportions, the character’s personality); the eyes (either sculpted in the clay or made separately and added later); sculpting the hand; finishing the head in thermoplastics (covering with sheets of resin, finishing touches, fitting the eyes, fitting the control rod); making the body (cutting out the torso, the arms, assembly); making the neck, hair, painting; costume; stage testing with the actress/puppeteer Tita Iacobelli.

Past workshops

2022 October : Focus on: creating realistic looks, Workshop Loïc Nebreda, Brussels (Belgium)
2022 October : Creating theatre masks, Loïc Nebreda, Brussels (Belgium)
2022 August : Workshop The Other, Natacha Belova and Tita Iacobelli, Brussels (Belgium)
2022 July : Workshop Michel Villée, Brussels (Belgium)
2020 October : Workshop Natacha Belova, Charleville-Mézières (France)
2020 September : Workshop Natacha Belova, Tournai (Belgium)
2020 September : Workshop Tita Iacobelli, Tournai (Belgium)
2020 September : Workshop Fabrice Rodriguez, Brussels (Belgium) – cancelled
2020 June : Workshop Duda Paiva, Brussels (Belgium)
2019 December : Master Classe Natacha Belova (Tunisia)
2019 December : Workshop Tita Iacobelli, (Tunisia)
2019 November : Workshop Fabrice Rodriguez, Brussels (Belgium)
2019 November : Workshop Natacha Belova, Beijing (China) – cancelled
2019 October : Laboratory Natacha Belova, Milan (Italy)
2019 July : Workshop Natacha Belova, St Petersburg (Russia)
2019 July : Workshop Michel Villée, Brussels (Belgium)
2019 May : Workshop Natacha Belova, Brussels (Belgium)
2018 October : Workshop Natacha Belova, Taipei (Taiwan)
2018 August : Workshop Natacha Belova, Brussels (Belgium)
2018 July : Workshop Natacha Belova, Istanbul (Turkey)
2018 July : Workshop Duda Paiva, Brussels (Belgium)
2018 June : Workshop Michel Villée, Brussels (Belgium)
2018 April : Workshop Emmanuelle Mathieu, Brussels (Belgium)
2018 March : Workshop Natacha Belova, Brussels (Belgium)
2018 January : Workshop Eduardo Felix and Aurora Majnoni, Madrid (Spain)
2017 December : Workshop Natacha Belova, Brussels (Belgium)
2017 September : Workshop Jean Michel d’Hoop and Pierre Jacqumin, Brussels (Belgium)
2017 July : : Laboratory Natacha Belova and Nicole Mossoux, Brussels (Belgium)
2017 April : Workshop Natacha Belova, Geneva (Switzerland)
2017 January : Workshop Eduardo Felix, Brussels (Belgium)
2016 November : Laboratory Natacha Belova, Mirko Mescia and Mariana Elizalde, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
2016 September : Workshop Natacha Belova, Toulouse (France)
2016 September : Workshop Duda Paiva, Brussels (Belgium)
2016 August : Workshop Natacha Belova, Brussels (Belgium)
2016 November : Workshop Duda Paiva and Francesca Lanza, Pinerolo (Italy)
2015 May : Workshop Natacha Belova, Lisbonne (Portugal)
2016 June : Workshop Duda Paiva, Fafe (Portugal)
2016 April : Workshop Natacha Belova, Belo Horizonte (Brazil)
2016 February : Laboratory Natacha Belova, Pinerolo (Italy)
2015 November : Laboratory Natacha Belova, Brussels (Belgium)
2015 August : Workshop Natacha Belova, Mexico (Mexico)
2015 July : Workshop Natacha Belova, Madrid (Spain)
2015 June : Workshop Natacha Belova, Tolosa (Spain)
2015 May : Laboratory Natacha Belova, Santiago (Chile)
2015 May : Laboratory Natacha Belova, Santiago (Chile)
2014 October : Workshop Natacha Belova, Santiago (Chile)
2014 August : Workshop Natacha Belova, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
2014 April : Workshop Natacha Belova, Santiago (Chile)
2013 July : Workshop Natacha Belova, Charleville-Mézières (France)
2013 April : Workshop Natacha Belova, Santiago (Chile)
2012 May : Workshop Natacha Belova, Santiago (Chile)



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