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Faizah Grootens: Corpus Criolla enriches modern dance with essential Caribbean vibes on #TFBoulevard

"I select dancers very carefully. I don't do auditions. I don't believe in anyone having to prove themselves in front of the others. So that's why I take quite a long time to choose who I want to work with. If I choose that person, we go for it 100%. No matter what."

Corpus Criolla is a fascinating dance performance in which Caribbean waltz and tambú come together in a setting of mirrored golden columns. I saw the performance at Bossche Verkadefabriek during Theatre Festival Boulevard. In Corpus Criolla, we see powerful dance movements. The dancers float but also keep both feet firmly on the ground. This gives a crazy effect.

Shared history

Exactly that effect is also what the maker, Faizah Grootens, wanted to achieve, she says in the afterword: "We have a shared history, the Netherlands and Curacao. At the dance academy in the Netherlands, I missed Caribbean stories and Caribbean bodies in the contemporary dance world. So I thought "if you miss it, you create it yourself". So let me find a story behind it. How can I create a language that is still contemporary from my culture? Then I chose the traditional Afro-Caribbean tambú and the Curacao Waltz, to use those two extremes as inspiration."

Afterword as podcast

With the consent of those involved - besides Faizah Grootens, scenographer Eddy van de Laan - I have shared the recording of the post-talk in a podcast. Host Vincent Wijlhuizen leads the exceptionally entertaining conversation, in which scenographer Eddy van der Laan, known for his work for the National Opera, talks about how his choice of a fine granule on the floor is a nightmare for theatres. Yet it is necessary for the eloquence of the performance: it forces the dancers to keep good contact with the floor.

Listen to the extraordinarily informative afterword here:

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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