Posts about festival

The future is watching the present*

februari 25th, 2020

The future is reading these words
While she sits in front of me
And I’m not sure she knows English
But I am sure she understands me

The future stares friendly and smiles
The future talks with the past
The past may be her mother
And it is not sure if it lasts

While I am writing these thoughts
And try to be present and here
She’s distracted and gets off
And decides the future is near

And I fall, I roll, I run, I call, I enter the hall

When I enter, there is a disco ball
Creating the form of phi
A future fireplace to warm me
To take the panic away
White lit singing
To disturb the familiar feeling of home

I cry, I cry
I cry my pop music
And create glass structures
And ritualized burning
I cry little compromises
The smoke slowly rises
And nature revises
My gaze

A future that’s here to stay
And simultaneously walks away

Keep being curious
Or we all die
But don’t we all die anyway?
While we move towards the future
Well, at least we could postpone it
While we are sitting here

Postpone the future by moving
Postpone the future with care
And gently lie down on his body
Lie down
And get up
Dive slowly into the floor
Feel its presence, its body
You are not here alone

You may think it’s just the two of you
Pushing and pulling
Limps and heads
And curls and noses
Are you okay?
In preparing
Are you all right?
In a fall

Two hands, four feet and the floor
Four feet that are trying to crawl
How do we get ourselves where
Where a future is present
Where our bodies lay bare
Keep in touch, throw away
Come to me, make me stay
Where is our future?

Where is our future?
Is it a digital drawing?
Slowly appearing in front of our eyes
As a microsoft paint sketch
From the past

Clenched polished nails
Openly closed
Closely opened
Openly opened
And smiling

As a red dot on the tip of the nose
Searching for playful narratives
Of dancing and jumping
Of swimming
Of all the animals I remember
From my past experiences
And present memories

The expectation that will last
For six minutes
While I listen to past sounds
That predict the future
Of what I will see
While we think back of well-fitting
Trousers in various colours
And a not so well drawn
Dog or cat or whatever it was

There she is, blinded by eyelids
Doing what she rehearsed in the past
In the present
Exactly resembling a resemblance
Exactly resembling, reassembling a balloon
Into the not so well drawn
Dog or cat or whatever it was
Whatever it was to you in the past

Whenever I close my eyes
She is wearing a belt
And dances like a bird
Jolly hop to 5th!
But first she stands on her right leg
Holding her left with two hands, aligned
Pointing towards our common past
Pointing forwards to her you: me
Nice and easy
To the next
Objective affair
To the next
Disappearing photo
Slowly appearing in front of our eyes
Of a non-caring dog or cat
Or something grant, or something blank
Or a flamingo

When you sleep there is not future
No past
And when the lights tick away
You awake to a
Of past reality
And future streams
Into your current being
Alone, asleep
Together in a stream
Of unconsciousness

Your feet get up before you want to
As they realize your fear before you do
As they know your thoughts before you do
When you finally get up
You’re already caught
Caught in an act that is beyond you
As if your future controls your present state
You’re caught in between the light
In some kind of liminal gate

A quietness, a togetherness
Searching for a path in the raw
The response is blue and sculptured
The effect is a reconfigured law
Where someone could actually leave
The present of what we just saw

* This poem is inspired by the opening night of Moving Futures Rotterdam 2017 on Thursday February 23rd. While getting to Rotterdam I was sitting in front of a little girl wearing a pink woollen hat. She was looking at me while I was writing. This became the starting point for this poem on the relation between future, present and past. The performances that inspired the remainder of the poem were: Geisha’s Miracle by Jija Sohn, Nautural by Aida Guirro Salinas and Jefta Tanate, BLANKS by Ingrid Berger Myhre and Shango Trio by Guilherme Miotto. The poem was published on the website of Moving Futures:

Will You Need Support If You Accidentally Take Ecstacy While At A Funeral?

mei 22nd, 2010

(English translation by Springdance)
De Dansvloer reveals a different side to Springdance. Choreographers Meg Stuart and Jeremy Wade provide the Workweek for 45 choreography students from SNDO (Amsterdam, NL), P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels, B) and Folkwang Universität (Essen, GER). The delays caused by the Icelandic ash cloud have somewhat postponed the start, but soon after everyone has arrived, the group is starting to fill up every corner of the small studio at De Dansvloer. Meg Stuart has started this Tuesday morning by doing a warm-up that will generate energy. They suck up the energy from the floor and build on it until it explodes in a burst of kinetic and auditive energy. She appears to have turned the three groups of students into one in only a short while. Together they scream and shout; jumping, bending over, waving their arms, filling the studio. I sit up against the studio wall, watching them, and feel an urge to join in.

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Heb je support nodig als je per ongeluk ecstasy hebt geslikt op een begrafenis?

april 26th, 2010

In De Dansvloer vind je een andere kant van Springdance. Choreografen Meg Stuart en Jeremy Wade verzorgen de Workweek voor 45 choreografiestudenten van SNDO (Amsterdam, NL), P.A.R.T.S. (Brussel, B) en Folkwang Universität (Essen, D). Door de IJslandse aswolkvertragingen beginnen ze wat later, maar al snel na aankomst vult de groep elke hoek van de kleine studio in De Dansvloer. Meg Stuart is dinsdagochtend begonnen met een energieopwekkende warming up. Ze zuigen de energie uit de vloer en bouwen op tot een ontploffing van kinetische en auditieve energie. In korte tijd lijkt ze één groep gemaakt te hebben van de drie groepen studenten. Samen schreeuwen en roepen ze, springend, bukkend, met de armen zwaaiend de studio vol. Ik zit tegen een muur van de studio te kijken en voel de nijging opkomen om mee te doen.

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Spinoza presenteert:

september 20th, 2009

Spinoza presenteert: is een community art project in het Spinozaplantsoen. Vanaf mei hebben kunstenaars samen met bewoners aan inhoud en uitvoering van verschillende kunstprojecten gewerkt. Het doel is de kracht van het Spinozaplantsoen te laten zien. Op 26 & 27 september vindt het minifestival Spinoza presenteert: plaats. Tijdens dit festival laten de bewoners zien wat ze de afgelopen tijd gedaan hebben. Heel Utrecht is uitgenodigd langs te komen. De feestelijke opening vindt zaterdag 26 september om 13.00 plaats midden in het Spinozaplantsoen. Meer informatie: Eén van de projecten is Fiat Fortuna.

Fiat Fortuna – Jochem Naafs en Elsbeth de Ruiter
Heb je wel een goed naar je eigen buurt gekeken, maar dan echt goed? Weet je waar het geluk te vinden is? Fiat Fortuna is een zoektocht naar geluk in het Spinozaplantsoen. Geluk in een schone en nette buurt, geluk in ongewone dingen, geluk in het genieten van kleinigheden, geluk in het ontmoeten van je buren. Jochem Naafs en Elsbeth de Ruiter hebben samen met een kleine groep bewoners toegewerkt naar dit weekend. Met verschillende geheime maar opvallende acties hebben ze het Spinozaplantsoen een klein beetje veranderd. Pluk de dag en vind je eigen geluk vlakbij je voordeur.

An artist and his review

april 23rd, 2009

My press kit inside the artist goodie-bag I got yesterday seems to represent my split personality during Springdance. On the one hand I am being the objective journalist, writing my columns about the programme, atmosphere and side programme. On the other hand I am the dramaturge for Michael Pinchbeck’s End. Considered an artist, at least according to the batch I received with my goodie-bag, I morphed into another person in a split second. And is it not the task of the artist to present a subjective perspective on this world?

Of course two issues come to mind straight away. Can I be objective whilst being commissioned by Springdance to write about Springdance? How can I be critical about my own commissioner? The other issue is the question what it is to be a dramaturge. Does my subjective view matter for the artist I am working with? Or should I be able to objectify my own perspective on the performance. Should I try to represent the audience that will come and see the show?
In the end I prefer to mix up a clear subjective view with some elements, which I think are more objective. I try to use this approach in my writing, my research and my dramaturgical practice. Alternating in describing the subject matter and my own position in relation to that.

I can’t help thinking of Simon Ellis’s Down (working title). Ellis, one of the participants in Europe in Motion, not only presented his solo performance, he also provided the context of this performance. From the introduction, where I imagined myself in his place, having just introduced Beginning Middle, End myself an hour earlier, to the reviews, audience reactions and even the specifications for touring.

As an artist Ellis took the liberty to be lecturer, choreographer, dancer, critic, audience and PR assistant in one. Criticising both dance and the dance community, he shows, as the devil’s advocate, the ‘like knows like’ existence of this dance community. He left his audience powerless. Everything was already said. Interesting enough Ellis manages to represent several of my positions during Springdance & performance festival. And by doing this he got me thinking about my position(s) in this community.

In a way Ellis covers himself against any criticism from others, wrapping his entire performance. I could write a review on Beginning, Middle, End today…

Beginning, Middle, End by Andrea Bozic, Julia Willms, Madalina Dan and Michael Pinchbeck tonight (April 23), 19.00h in Theater Kikker.
More Europe in Motion: April 23 and 24, 20.30h in Theater Kikker.

A look back // Into the future

april 18th, 2009

Written for Springdance

Next year Bettina Masuch will do her speech in Dutch, she promises just before the world première of Jérôme Bel’s Lutz Förster. I’m not sure if that is the best choice if your want to get your message across in such an international festival, I’m writing in English for a reason, but it is a nice gesture.

Enter Lutz Förster. A personality, that’s for sure. The peaceful and gentle way of walking to a chair in the wings, and back with the chair, onto the stage, tells me that already. Bel gave Förster the opportunity to tell his professional life’s story on stage to an audience. And Förster likes to talk. He discovered that early in his professional life when he danced and talked in one of many performances by Pina Bausch. His talking in this biography is only now and then alternated with short dance scenes.

Förster doesn’t get too personal, he doesn’t do too much. He is just there, taking some of the viewers back in time and presenting others a short lesson in dance history. I must admit I belong in the second category. My knowledge of Förster’s work was close to nothing. And I had a good time, I wasn’t bored for a minute, I laughed, admired, enjoyed. But I do wonder, as did others, what Bel’s role was. In Pichet Klunchun and Myself the dialogue between Klunchun and Bel was brilliantly staged. They challenged each other, and the audience, to rethink the history and the aesthetics of dance. The performance <i>Lutz Förster</i> is only about and with Lutz Förster. Where is the other? Where is the mirror to reflect? Reflect both movements and words, both history and present? Let’s leave it at that question.

Springdance’s slogan is ‘A look back into the future’. Lutz Förster gave me ‘a look back’. If I want, I can now go ‘into the future’. This weekend is a weekend for new style; contemporary and modern dance, hip hop, flamenco, butoh and street dance.

Looking is only just allowed

april 18th, 2009

Written for Springdance

The opening day of Springdance &amp; performance festival: It is hot, tight and rather oppressive in the narrow and long hallway of the Centraal Museum. Journalists, dancers, choreographers and others are waiting for the opening of Choreographic Objects by William Forsythe. There’s hardly any space to move so I start to feel like an object myself. I’m being moved by others; someone tells me to remove my bag, and yet someone else pushes me aside gently to get by.

Finally Bettina Masuch takes the microphone and opens with a rather short and brief speech the installation and the 25th edition of Springdance. She urges us to get involved and Forsythe himself stresses to put on the vests which read a short mirrored text. So there we go! To the mirrors, to see how we can manage to rearrange these mirrors in such a way that we can actually read what is written on our back.

But the fun is cruelly interrupted by the voice of Forsythe begging us not to move the mirrors because they were carefully ordered so we could not see ourselves, not even to mention the 14 hours of polishing that went into the work. I felt like a small child whose toys are taken away. I took off the vest and in a sulk I turned my back on the mirrors walking out into the sun. Only to slip back in again seconds later, to take a peek at the other pieces.

The extra stranger

april 16th, 2009

Written for Springdance Stage

Last Tuesday Europe In Motion started as a meeting between “total strangers”, as moderators Igor Dobricic and Nicole Beutler prescribed it. On Wednesday I enter this dialogue as yet another stranger. Simon Ellis, Rui Catalão and Tom Dale present their work today, based on the question “what is central to your work as a choreographer?”.
As mornings go it takes a while to get started. I notice that the atmosphere is comparable to last year’s sessions, with the ‘Romanians’ being late, the ‘British’ ready to get started and the ‘Dutch’ walking up and down between kitchen and the kleine zaal in Theater Kikker.

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Springdance Stage

maart 31st, 2009

For this years dance and performance festival Springdance launched a community website. Please join Springdance Stage and get in contact with dancers, choreographers, makers, journalists, other visitors et cetera. I will keep all visitors of Springdance (Stage) up to date with a number of columns I will write before, during and after the festival. But the website also features videos, pictures and reviews from both makers and visitors. And you are welcome to share your own expectations and experiences too.

Visit and join by hitting the sign up button!

Ursus Ludens

september 23rd, 2008

(Geschreven voor summerschool kunstkritiek, Het Theaterfestival Antwerpen, VTI)

Hotel ModernRococo
Antwerpen, Bourla, 22 augustus 2008

Een georganiseerde chaos: dozen, bubbeltjesplastic, allerlei objecten en twee stille figuren met berenmaskers uitgestald op een wit plastic zeil. Het publiek komt binnen en is gedwongen over het knallende bubbeltjesplastic naar zijn plek te lopen. Het geluid hiervan is nog maar net uitgedoofd als er leven in een van de beren komt. Liggend op een trolley rolt de beer naar voren. Het voorzichtige geknal van het publiek maakt plaats voor het geratel van een mitrailleur: het spelen is begonnen.
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