We had the good fortune of connecting with Francesca Jandasek and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Francesca, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born in Namibia, Africa. My parents fled Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic) because of Communism. When I moved to the United States when I was 5, I did not speak English and had a noticeable accent until high school. I was naturalized when I was 16 (when my parents got their American citizenship).
We only spoke Czech at home and my mother taught me to read and write in Czech as well. We did not have a TV (in fact, I did not own one until quite recently and I rarely watch it, even during this pandemic). My parents encouraged me to dance, draw, play music, read, and use my imagination. As a child, I was never bored – I was always creating something (or playing pranks on someone).
Because of my background and upbringing, I never felt like I fit in, but I also didn’t mind very much as I was too busy being curious and doing my own thing. I learned resilience, compassion, grit, hard work, curiosity, loyalty, sacrifice, and optimism. I learned that there are many ways to communicate besides language, and I learned to listen to more than just words. I am immensely curious about the world and beyond, I love to travel, I love people, I love sharing and teaching, and I LOVE creating!
In my current life, as an Interdisciplinary Artist and Owner of SOURCE Studio (where I teach Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercise, Yoga Trapeze, and all kinds of movement), I use all of my skills and get to do all the things I love to do. Because of my upbringing and background, I have been able to successfully adapt to the current situation while turning limitations into opportunities. I am currently teaching movement and dance classes and private session online, and am able to connect with and serve people all over the world. I have also created/worked on some short films (“SHADOW”, “Put The Devil Back In Hell”, and “Leeks, Onions, and Pork Fat”) during the beginning of the pandemic that are making their rounds to film festivals, winning awards, and streaming on the Lady Filmmakers Channel and Synetic Streaming Platform! And looking forward – I am working on a bigger project for Synetic Theater to premiere at the end of 2021.
I am so grateful for how my past experiences have given me the skills to keep sharing my love of art and movement with people around the world even during the most challenging of times.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My mission in life is to create and to share my love of movement and art with others. The work I do as an artist and the work I do as a movement instructor and business owner feed each other. In all aspects of my work, I am a keen observer, I listen with all my being, I work tirelessly to address the needs and questions of others, and I respond with compassion and inclusivity to the best of my ability. I am always learning, growing, and trying to improve.
There are two things I am most proud and excited about.
1). SOURCE Studio: I was able to continue to serve my SOURCE Studio clients and University Students during this pandemic through immediately offering online classes, private sessions, free community class, pop up classes (while donating proceeds to charitable causes), access to a video archive, and outdoor offerings, even while I had to close my studio to in-person sessions and classes since March 2019.
Was it easy? Of course not! How did I do it? It required a lot of creative problem solving, sacrifice, and flexibility. I used this as a learning opportunity and a way to create new initiatives and products. The learning curve was steep as I had to figure out new computer programs, ways of structuring my offerings, and how to best communicate the material in an online format. I offered weeks of free sessions and classes to help clients to adapt, maximize their home spaces, and trouble shoot electronic issues. For the holidays, I gave my clients yoga straps, stretchy bands and other equipment so they could use it in their sessions. I gave my Cal State LA ballet students FREE access to my video archive and free classes so they could stay moving and healthy while trying to manage university learning online. I created a membership where clients can get access to a video archive of recorded classes to supplement their sessions and live classes. I got trained in Yoga Trapeze and am offering private sessions and small group classes online. I also offer some fun outdoor workouts including Vélo-kinesis™ (a cool exploration of movement including the RAD Power Bike and Gyrokinesis exercise). Now I have many more options for clients, and I have much more knowledge to offer in my sessions. I can’t wait to reopen again soon and welcome back my awesome clients! We will continue to move through 2021 with balance, grace, and harmony!
2). CREATING ART: I was able to continue to create, thrive creatively. and share my creations during this pandemic. Below are some highlights:
Film and Music by Francesca Jandasek
Dancers: Ashley Krost & Antonella Redekosky
Cinematography: Gregory R.R. Crosby
Best Boy Electric: Stephanie Losleben
Costumes: Kelsey Vidic
Special Thanks to CSULB Dance
I submitted my film “SHADOW” to multiple film festivals where it won multiple awards and was picked up for streaming on the Synetic Streaming Platform, and the Lady Filmmakers Channel. Some background about the film: I first got the idea for this film while researching the Romanian Legend of the Argeș Monastery for a full evening length show I created in 2018. In the legend, a pregnant woman is immured to make the walls of the monastery stand. After further research, I came across the belief of the “stahie,” or shadow, an ancient Eastern European belief and practice that in order for the walls of a building to stand, someone has to be built into the walls either physically (i.e their body), or metaphysically (i.e their shadow). Who is the shadow? When we are faced with our many shadows, what reality/possibility do we choose? Does it even matter, if we all fade away from memory and existence, leaving nothing behind?
“Put the Devil Back In Hell”
Adaptation of Day 3, Story 10 from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Film by Francesca Jandasek
Directed by: Francesca Jandasek
Camera: Dan Istrate, Ludovic Jolivet, Francesca Jandasek
Video Editing: Ludovic Jolivet
Sound Editing: Francesca Jandasek
Music Composition: Francesca Jandasek
Cast: Francesca Jandasek, Dan Istrate
I created the film “Put the Devil Back In Hell”, for Synetic Theater during the COVID-19 quarantine in Los Angeles from April to May 2020. This short film is female centered both in theme (Day 3, Story 10 from the Decameron told from a female perspective) and creation (female direction, acting, original music). I then submitted it to multiple film festivals where it won multiple awards. It is now streaming on the Synetic Streaming Platform. As background, “Put The Devil Back In Hell” is an adaptation of Day 3, Story 10 from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is a collection of novellas written in Italy in response to The Black Plague of 1347-1351.
In the film “Put The Devil Back In Hell”, Alibech, on her journey to find God, experiences a sexual awakening. Considered the bawdiest of the Decameron stories, parts of this story (Day 3, Story 10) weren’t even originally translated into English because they were considered too provocative! If you are curious to read the full text of this short story, here is the full translation: http://fiatlux-day.org/e2a/literature/decameron/3-10.pdf
I took a very different approach in my adaptation which veers toward the visually poetic side and is told from a feminine perspective. I wanted to tell a positive story of female sexuality. The film is full of breathtaking California landscapes, original soundscapes, and religious and sexual symbolism. It takes the audience (and actors) on a beautiful journey. In this uncertain time of pandemic, I wanted to remind people (and myself) that the world is beautiful, mysterious, and amazing. Besides the central theme being a feminine exploration of a sexual awakening, this film is also female created (conception, direction, composition, performance).
“Leeks, Onions, and Pork Fat”
Adaptation of Day 1, Story 10 from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Film by Dan Istrate
Directed by: Ludovic Jolivet & Dan Istrate
Edited by: Ludovic Jolivet
Producers: Francesca Jandasek, Dan Istrate
Camera Operators: Ludovic Jolivet, Stephanie Yezek Jolivet
Makeup: Francesca Jandasek
Cast: Dan Istrate, Francesca Jandasek, Stephanie Yezek Jolivet, Chloe Cat
Music: La Promesa by Tula Ben Ari, Tango Butterfly by Ilya Truhanov, Mashu Hazak by Oved Pinchover Quartet, Goodbye Youth Tango by Ilya Truhanov
I worked on the film “Leeks, Onions, and Pork Fat”. It was created by Romanian Actor/Producer Dan Istrate and directed by French Director Ludovic Jolivet, for Synetic Theater during the COVID-19 quarantine in Los Angeles from April to May 2020, As background, “Leeks, Onions, and Pork Fat” is an adaptation of Day 1, Story 10, and “Put The Devil Back In Hell” is an adaptation of Day 3, Story 10, from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is a collection of novellas written in Italy in response to The Black Plague of 1347-1351. “Leeks, Onions, and Pork Fat” tells the tale of Alberto, who experiences an unexpected connection when his daily rhythm is interrupted by two beautiful younger women. This film is a lighthearted yet poignant look at loneliness and age, and also human connection in the most unexpected places – something we all crave during this uncertain time of pandemic, fear, and isolation.
New Project! I am also really excited to begin work on a mini series event of 10 episodes (A Synetic Motion Pictures Production) which will premiere at the end of 2021. I will be sharing updates on my website and IG feed!
Was it easy? Of course not! But I also am not drawn to easy things. I do not feel alive unless I am creating, imagining, thinking, and dreaming. It is always how I have connected with people around me and made sense of the world since I was little. As world traveler and global citizen, I am interested in exploring what gives us life and what destroys us. I am fascinated by what we know and even more by what we do not know. I am inspired by the things I cannot explain, the things I cannot articulate, the stories I extrapolate. I want to share these discoveries and wonderings with others and learn from shared insight.
I explore aspects of my own life that I do not know how to quantify, wrap my head around and that cannot be neatly resolved. I let people into my inner world and share what I cannot explain in words, what is not visible to others as I go about my daily business, and what would otherwise remain contained as daily routines make us compartmentalize in order to survive. Sometimes I put my aspirations and desires into art in order to help make them manifest. Sometimes I put my pain, my fear, my sorrow, my past experiences into art in order to let them go and help lighten the burden. Sometimes I put my questions and my issues into my art so that I can gain insight from others. Sometimes I share the things I love, that bring me joy and inspire me. The more knowledge and understanding I gain about the world, the more my cultural certainties are questioned and the more mysterious the human condition becomes. Seeking to understand, my work is heavily research based, the topics are complex and full of paradox. My work asks questions I do not yet know how to formulate. Ultimately, I create so that I can present these topics in their gloriously unresolved state in order to create a dialogue with my collaborators, performers, and audience members.
I continue to live out my mission: to create and to share my love of movement and art with others.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a tough question as so many things are closed right now, and we have no idea what will survive.
However, even before the pandemic, my favorite activities were to go hiking in the mountains, swimming in the ocean, and pack yummy picnics so that I could hang out and enjoy the amazing outdoor surroundings. One of my most favorite (and my husband’s least favorite) memories was when we drove to the beach to have a picnic and it was raining. We sat under a rock on the beach, ate our picnic, and watched the rain.
Living in Southern California means that we have access to amazing nature and fantastic weather which can be enjoyed year round, even during this pandemic. Depending on the time of year, I would take my best friend to do the following:
Go for rides through Los Angeles and Altadena on the RAD Power Bikes (which I have at my studio).
Hike the trails of the Los Angeles National Forest.
Go to the Huntington Gardens and Library.
Go to Descanso Gardens.
Go to Big Bear for hikes and skiing.
Drive along the ocean up and down the coast from San Diego to Big Sur (and go on hikes and picnics.)
Go swimming at the amazing selection of California beaches.
Go paddle boarding in Long Beach.
Check out Hearst Castle and see some zebras.
Go to Catalina Island by boat and hang with the tiny foxes.
Check out the Channel Islands, do some cave kayaking and hang with more tiny foxes.
Stop by Solvang for some Æbleskiver and hang with the Ostriches and Emus.
Go to Sequoia National Forest and marvel at the Redwoods and Giant Sequoias.
Stop by the amazing farmer’s markets to get delicious organic food, cook it up at home and sit on the balcony to enjoy the meal with a delicious wine (Gigondas) or some dark beer (Rasputin).
If it were around the holidays, go for a walk in Naples and check out the decorations.
Take a painting lesson with Zhenya Gershman (https://www.zhenyagershman.com)
When things reopen:
Attend some dance and music performances and film events in Los Angeles (like Red Cat, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Highways Performance Space, ARC Pasadena, Stomping Ground LA)
Check out the many art galleries in Los Angeles including Huntington Gardens and Library Galleries, The BOX, Hauser and Wirth (check out the beignets in their restaurant Manuela)
Dance some Tango at The Tango Room in Sherman Oaks, the Sonata Room in Arcadia, or the Cal-Tech Milonga.
Take some dance classes with my favorite dance teachers including Becca Lemme of Acts of Matter and Danielle Agami of Ate9.
Get at Lychee Martini at Din Tai Fung.
Enjoy Brunch at Saint and Second in Long Beach.
and so much more…
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people and organizations who have helped me along the way that the list of those who deserve credit and recognition is miles long. Three people have staunchly stood by my side for the past ten years, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. We’ve had a long creative and personal history, moved out to Los Angeles together six years ago, collaborated on countless projects over the years, and are planning on having many more adventures!
Dan Istrate, amazing actor, co-creator of many awesome film and theater projects, owner of BillyGoatStudio for photography and film (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1087153/)
Stephanie Yezek Jolivet, owner of Sayezz Pilates and Beyond, movement/dance/performance collaborator (https://www.sayezz.com)
Ludovic Jolivet, wonderful photographer and filmmaker, owner of KineoVision
(https://ludovicjolivet.wixsite.com/kineovision and http://www.kineovision.com/kineovision-video.html)
Other wonderful friends who have helped me along the way:
Sharna Fabiano: https://www.sharnafabiano.com
Elizabeth Jackson: http://www.balancebyelizabethjackson.com
Alicia Head: http://upstudiolongbeach.com
Karen Washburn Ness: https://www.axislbc.com/gyrotonic
Gregory R.R. Crosby: https://www.lostheartproductions.com
Rebecca Lemme: http://rebeccalemme.com
Rebecca Bryant: http://rebeccabryant.net/bio.html
Don Nichols: https://donnichols.net/about/
All of my amazing clients, students, performer collaborators, and audience!!!! They inspire me to create and teach!
and amazing organizations that facilitate(d) my growth:
Synetic Theater: https://synetictheater.org
CSULB Dance Department: https://www.csulb.edu/dance
Cal State LA Department of Theatre and Dance: https://www.calstatela.edu/al/theatre-and-dance
Elements Fitness and Wellness Center: https://elementscenter.com
John Pennington and ARC: https://www.penningtondancegroup.org. and https://www.arcpasadena.org/about
Patricia DiSalvo Viayra and Mike Viayra: https://www.ladyfilmmakers.com
And also my cat Chloe who just recently passed away but brought so much comfort and inspiration during this crazy pandemic and appeared in many SOURCE Studio movement videos and the film “Leeks, Onion and Pork Fat”.