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Fransien van der Putt

Fransien van der Putt is a dramaturge and critic. She works with Lana Coporda, Vera Sofia Mota, Roberto de Jonge, João Dinis Pinho & Julia Barrios de la Mora and Branka Zgonjanin, among others. She writes about dance and theatre for Cultural Press Agency, Theatererkrant and Dansmagazine. Between 1989 and 2001, she mixed text as sound at Radio 100. Between 2011 and 2015, she developed a minor for the BA Dance, Artez, Arnhem - on artistic processes and own research in dance. Within her work, she pays special attention to the significance of archives, notation, discourse and theatre history in relation to dance in the Netherlands. Together with Vera Sofia Mota, she researches the work of video, installation and peformance artist Nan Hoover on behalf of www.li-ma.nl.

Inez Wolters creates family performance with Strawinsky circus: 'I believe ten-year-olds can handle a lot' #festivalcircolo

Tilburg-based chamber orchestra Kamerata Zuid, with dancer and choreographer Inez Wolters, performs Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat as a family performance. The performance will premiere this week at Festival Circolo, Holland's largest circus festival, also in Tilburg. Wolters is an all-rounder. With Swarmers, she stages dance on location, with audience participation. She also leads with her wild and... 

Colonisation is not a relationship. But we still need to establish that relationship, this Holland Festival showed.

Post-colonial criticism and reflection ran like a thread through this year's Holland Festival programme. Not only William Kentrigde and Faustin Linyekula, the associate artists with whom the festival's programmers collaborated, their work addresses the devastating effects of centuries of Western European trade and commerce. In reframing political and social history and reclaiming... 

Crash Park, la vie d'une île - Philippe Quesne. Photo: Martin Argyroglo.

Until the laughter dies down. Crashpark stages the downfall of the world as a beautiful landscape full of partygoers

Crash Park - La vie d'une île (2018) by French director Philippe Quesne performs 19th-century values in their 21st-century elaboration. The elitist explorer has become a modal tourist, moving in well-organised groups to every corner of the world in search of ultimate experiences, provided they don't get in the way of a return ticket western... 

Antony and Cleopatra, Tiago Rodrigues. Photo: Magda Bizarro.

'I have no problem at all if spectators want to see Anthony and Cleopatra. But for me, it's about something else.' Tiago Rodrigues writes theatre for dancers.

Anthony and Cleopatra is exactly the kind of repertory piece that people look forward to during the Holland Festival, or any other prestigious stage. Director and writer Tiago Rodrigues manages not so much to deflate that grandiose expectation as to reduce it to the intimacy of a duet and a play with extremely basic theatrical gestures. His two actors are dancers, an experienced choreographer duo 

What a broken-down bus has to do with liberation and feminism. Dancer Djino Alolo on Piki Piki at the Holland Festival

Djino Alolo Sabin (1990) sits there, relaxed, in the morning at the hotel in Brussels. The night before, he has danced his solo Piki Piki for the first time, which will also be shown at Theater Frascati during the Holland Festival. The performance touches on many intense themes, but is anything but melodramatic. Rather, it expresses a relentless optimism.... 

Gisèle Vienne performs at @hollandfestival on rave culture: 'Violence and aggression are not necessarily negative.'

French-Austrian theatre maker Gisèle Vienne is showing her latest work Crowd at the Holland Festival. Vienne takes the rave party as a starting point for subtle observations on what moves people during a night out. Besides the ecstatic pleasure of dance and trance, the performance also stages all kinds of nocturnal self-loss, awkwardness, loneliness and aggression. Acid The wonderful mix of acid, trance and... 

The colonial image of the black woman with bared upper body is rewritten in Legacy by Nadia Beugré at @HollandFestival

A sizable group of women, their skin all shades of brown, white and black, their breasts and chests hopping briskly to the beat of stepping and running movements on the spot, swirls around its own axis upon entering the auditorium at the Brakke Grond. Legacy is an intimate performance that moves loosely up and down between concert, performance,... 

Dimitris Papaioannou turns heritage Pina Bausch to his will with Neues Stück 1 Seit sie for Tanztheater Wuppertal, Holland Festival #HF2018

Neues Stück 1 Seit sie - Ein Stück von Dimitris Papaioannou is a long title for an overwhelming piece, which Tanztheater Wuppertal is bringing to the Holland Festival this year. Nine years ago, on 30 June 2009, a month before she was to turn sixty-nine, Pina Bausch died suddenly. The world-famous and highly influential choreographer of experimental, haunting and unparalleled dance theatre left behind a... 

Choreographer Arno Schuitemaker outdoes himself with gossamer The Way You Sound Tonight at @HollandFestival 2018

It is the spatial arrangement that immediately impresses in The Way You Sound Tonight, choreographer Arno Schuitemaker's ninth performance. There are roughly 25 seats too few. The last Holland Festival visitors to walk onto the Rabozaal stage during the premiere have to find their own place on the still-scented wooden floor. Pijpela Schuitemaker has, to my... 

Touching each other is taboo. Anne Nguyen brings breakdance and capoeira, vulnerable men and video games in Kata @hollandfestival

In Kata, the latest work by French breaker and choreographer Anne Nguyen, hip-hop men transcend the clichés of hip-hop. Toughness, untouchability and the usual frontal relationship with the audience are exchanged for indirect gestures, delayed effects, diagonals and laterals, double entendres and irony. Nguyen, herself an adept practitioner of capoeira, ming chun and breakdance, challenges her dancers to show their... 

Rainer Hofmann (SPRING): 'After the populist attack from the right, the performing arts now face an attack from the left.'

Thursday 17 May opens SPRING Performing Arts Festival in Utrecht with, among others, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi by Dries Verhoeven and to come (extended) by Mette Ingvartsen. Over ten days, over twenty-five international dance and theatre productions, installations and performance works will be on show in public spaces and urban environments. A week earlier, festival director Rainer Hofmann looks relaxed. 'Until now... 

Rule of Three, Jan Martens/Grip. Photo: Phile Deprez.

Very different or not at all? Jan Martens on his new show Rule of Three

Rule of Three is a piece for three dancers: Steven Michel, Julien Josse and Courtney May Robertson. NAH makes the music live, the lighting is by Jan Fedinger and there are some lyrics by Lydia Davis. Rule of Three was released last month at De Singel in Antwerp, and its Dutch premiere is today at the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam.... 

Setan Jawa, Garin Nugroho.

This is why Setan Jawa was such a special highlight of the Holland Festival #HF17

Setan Jawa is the latest film by prominent Indonesian director Garin Nugroho (b. 1961). It is a 'silent' film, shot in black and white by Teoh Gay Hian. It was shown at the Muziekgebouw aan t IJ during the Holland Festival last weekend. The music to the film is played live by Rahayu Supanggah Gamelan Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Inspired... 

FLEXN. Photo: Hayim Heron.

Great dancers from Brooklyn in unclear direction by Peter Sellars #HF17

Flexing is a street dance style from Brooklyn, New York. Thirteen men, three women strong is the formation that has caused a furore in America in various guises (HyperActive, MainEventt, Ringmasters), from the local talent show Flex in Brooklyn to America's Best Dance Crew. Now the crew, led by pioneer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray, is on a world tour with a show, which they will perform with the... 

danse de nuit, Boris Charmatz / Musée de la danse. Photo: Boris Brussey.

danse de nuit, on cartoons and other violence in our lives, #HF17

On Anton de Komplein, it is less cosy than on the roof of Parking 58 in Brussels, where I saw danse de nuit earlier. Above South-East, the moon is hidden behind a thick haze, the square feels big and empty so without the market. The performance by choreographer Boris Charmatz/Musée de la Danse, also today and tomorrow,... 

Rito de Primavera, José Vidal & Cía., Festival de Marseille. Photo: Fabian Cambero.

Rito de Primavera: spectacular, but also a mountain of kitsch, unworthy of the Holland Festival

Rito de Primavera, on show at the Holland Festival early this week, is a group choreography for fifty young dancers. Choreographer José Vidal has loosely based himself on Sacre du printemps, Stravinsky and Nijinsky's 1913 piece for the Ballet Russes. Fragments of Stravinsky's music have been turned into 4-quarter beetz by DJ Jim Hast, while Vidal has minimised the ritual aspect of the sacrifice, essential to the many versions made throughout the 20th century (besides Nijinsky's primal version, Massine, Béjart and Bausch, among others).

What remains is an overwhelming visual experience of a gigantic mass of dancers looming out of the darkness. The coordination of the group, at times dancing wildly through each other, at other times circling the stage in long parade, is impressive. It produces a fascinating, eye-opening aesthetic, but the group dance in no way challenges the audience. You could call it a pile of kitsch, or opium for the people. Either way, it is a form of spectacle that I consider unworthy of the Holland Festival.

School trip

The performance begins like a school trip. Near the box office, spectators are prepared in groups for what is to come. They are kindly requested to take off their shoes upon entering the theatre, and then to walk barefoot, hand in hand with fellow spectators, through the dark. Regularly, someone calls loudly for silence, as the performance has already started. There is also something uncomfortable about the nervous manner in which the audience, which is supposed to line up in rows after the instructions, is marched away to the performance space two buildings away.

The initiation of the visitors continues in the Purification Hall, when they pass through the pitch darkness hand in hand with the cool sand at their feet. It provides one of the few ambiguous moments during Rito de Primavera. Where is this going? What fairy tale are we being led into here? From which tourist boat have we fallen off, to now attend the rituals of which people again?

Naked!?

At first, the total experience that so many contemporary theme parks are looking for really takes shape. For half an hour, I stare at a stage in the dark. I see and feel a lot of people there, I think naked because sometimes there is a clever flash of soft light, but the dominant darkness prevents me from getting a grip on it. Ethereal singing composed by Andrés Abarzúa - a single chord sounds gurgling from many throats - accompanies the entrance of all the other spectators for half an hour.

The bleachers surround the playing surface. It is only the red and white bicycle lights of the guides of the many groups of spectators that give you some orientation in the space. It has something of Tintin in Takatukaland. An audience paying to be at a miraculous, never-before-seen, spring nymphing ritual.

Rito de Primavera, José Vidal & Cía. Photo: Fabian Cambero
Rito de Primavera, José Vidal & Cía. Photo: Fabian Cambero

Logic

The artificiality of the setting gives a certain tension. In the darkness, as a spectator, you can imagine all sorts of things about what is to come. But at some point, the bicycle lights go out, a sign that all spectators are seated, and the dancers all put on trousers. The light increases and the first beetz cum stravinsky supplants the singing. When, after the uncertain introitus, the actual spectacle begins, its logic becomes all too clear. A perfectly organised group choreography takes over.

In what follows, nothing is left to chance. And that is no luxury with so many dancers in semi-darkness, especially as half of them are also new to the work, because from the Modern Theatre Dance Department of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The group makes pulsating movements, dialogues with a neighbour, runs in groups, starts singing again, postures and occasionally lifts a single person in the air.

Impact-aware

But just as the darkness gets used, so does the group. They are all very young people, fairly relaxed dancing together. The uninhibited attitude with which the complicated group choreographies are performed is touching. A naive kind of surrender or faith speaks from it.

But gradually the effects, of the group choreography, of the light that creates the photographic vistas, the repetitive singing and beetz get boring. The repetition of moves is effect-laden, rhetorical, self-affirming. Nowhere a moment of debacle, of faltering. No one who has a question, can't keep up, is wrong

Boris Charmatz

Danse de Nuit in the Bijlmer: 'Of course we want to influence public space' #HF17

Boris Charmatz has been a guest at many editions of the Holland Festival with impressive, provocative, socially engaged, finely composed and conceptually strong dance performances: Aatt enen tionon and Con forts fleuve (both in 2001); 50 years of dance (2010), Enfant (2011) and Manger (2015). His latest choreography, danse de nuit, premiered in Geneva last September. During the Holland Festival... 

Jan Martens in Utrecht: bravado, unintended honesty and unabashed desire

While Jan Martens' latest work, The Common People (2016), was at Amsterdam's Stadschouwburg last weekend, Utrecht's Theater Kikker is showing two older hits this week: Sweat Baby Sweat (2011) and The dog days are over (2014). Sweat and Dogdays are blockbusters and have already toured the world. At Kikker, they can now be seen as part of a... 

Garry Feingold and Ger Jager, Dance Makers, 2012. Photo: Jean-Pierre Jans.

Extremely rare landslide possible in contemporary dance in the Netherlands.

In contemporary dance, artistic leaders are often in place for decades, at least in the Netherlands. This week, Leo Spreksel announced his departure from Korzo, as of September 2017. After 29 years, the director and programmer of dance at the theatre and production house in The Hague is calling it a day, because "in the Netherlands, commercialisation pushes away the voice of artists: procedures and formats are... 

Quirky Veem sets example for dance sector

Het Veem is a small but important theatre and unofficial production house overlooking the Houthavens in Amsterdam. The house has long been home to internationally operating contemporary performing arts. A place where the artist and his or her experimental work are still central. Since Anne Breure became director in 2014, it bears the addition House of Performance. With... 

Polyptych, Lada Hrsak, Misericordia, Old Church, 2016.

Old Church in search of contemporary forms of charity and mercy

Amsterdam's oldest and perhaps most beautiful building combines quite a few functions. Although tourists are dominant these days, believers still celebrate the love of God there every week. And even though the former Nicolaaskerk no longer provides space for fishermen to mend their nets, organ concerts are still given there, since the fourteenth century. Handing out bread is not... 

Meg Stuart throws very ordinary bodies into the fray

Meg Stuart's two-hour heroic epic Until Our Hearts Stop, showing at the Rotterdam Schouwburg this week, does not engage in dramatic construction according to the rules of Aristotle's Poetics. We don't know who those people are there on stage. Nor do they seem to have been given any special assignment, although they are clearly being... 

Ronald Wintjens. Photo: Tycho Merijn Roest

Ronald Wintjens: 'More face for youth dance and performance art at Dance Days'

'Not only work has disappeared, but also knowledge and craft - the whole perspective is disappearing. While the Netherlands as a dance country was renowned in the world precisely because it had the luxury to research, to build, to stimulate.' Ronald Wintjes, the brand-new director of De Nederlandse Dansdagen, worries. What about the future of dance?.... 

Bombyx Mori, a brilliant explosion between something and nothing

While things are rumbling in the Amsterdam dance and performance world due to a total lack of solid support for development and experimentation (see Alarm Letter), choreographer Ola Maciejewska is showing the impressive Bombyx Mori at Veem House of Performance this weekend. Maciejewska is a fine example of a talented maker who has taken refuge elsewhere because of the crumbling art climate in the Netherlands. After... 

Tefer, Itamar Serussi, Balletto di Roma, photo: Matteo Carratoni

Julidans double bill with Levi and Serussi mostly raises questions

It is a new and important trend within the programming of international dance and performance festivals in the Netherlands: not only showing relevant work by international choreographers, but also paying explicit attention to dance makers connected to Dutch dance practice. Spring Utrecht opened in May with Nicole Beutler and closed with Jan Martens, while during Julidans Pere Faura was allowed to kick off with sin baile no hay paraíso (no dance, no paradise).

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