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the international choice

Dutch Dance Days show artistic challenge only on fringes of programme

The first weekend of October saw the Netherlands Dance Days (NDD) take place in Maastricht. As Ruben Brugman reported, important prizes for the dance world are awarded there. But the Dance Days seem mainly intended to promote Dutch dance, more than being a critical evaluation or artistic boost. At the Dance Days, no pithy speech on the State of Dance as... 

This is a must-see at the STRP Biennial!

Eindhoven is the mecca of experimental electronica for a while every two years with the STRP Biennial. In the Brabant city of lights, you can enjoy no less than nine days of leading dance acts. In addition, experimental performances explore the intersection between film, art and technology. Culture Press makes a preselection. Hypnotic dance swell The British Factory Floor has one foot in the past, but looks musically to the future. Their... 

Rotterdam Theatre: more music, more visitors

Everywhere, arts attendance is falling dramatically, except, for now, in Rotterdam. There, the Rotterdamnse Schouwburg managed to keep the number of paying visitors the same, or even increase slightly to over 147,500, in its first real cultural disaster year 2012. In its own press release, the management (currently in the hands of Jan Zoet) attributes this to sharper programming and revivals of successful productions, and an increase in the number of concerts:

"There has been critical scrutiny naa...

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Progress news: Give Act no more for culture, Utrecht more expensive and Purmerend stops all subsidies

Lower House approves Tax Plan 2012 (...) Furthermore, the adjusted Giving Act was also passed. The 7 million euro tax support shifts from cultural institutions to sports and music associations. Source: 18 Nov 11 Utrecht - Culture may cost something - by Wouter de Heus (...) this week, when I finally saw the renewed operating plan for the Music Palace in... 

We say goodbye to a festival that was once again unique. For the last time? #decision

Image via Wikipedia There was a time, when art did not have to draw full theatres to still be accepted by the population. After all, out of a municipality's total budget, something like art costs no more than a penny, so it doesn't make you worse off, while at best it can only make you better off... 

Neutral Hero: Like a steam locomotive tugging slowly over you #dekeuze

'I will never go to anything undergrounds again,' sighs a lady as she leaves the auditorium. She looks pained, after more than an hour and a half of Neutral Hero by director Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players. The paper description of the show may therefore lead a potential visitor astray. A 'country opera' sounds far too... 

Sarah Moeremans camps out at the theatre and shows young actors all over it during #dekeuze

Director, actress and theatre designer Sarah Moeremans is holding office in the lobby of the Rotterdam Schouwburg for a year. Titled "My First Camp", she has moved into the front hall to be more in touch with the various users and visitors in the building and the world around it. Has the public space become a wilderness, which... 

La Fin Du Western is screaming, stomping and spitting tirade against the absurd power struggle in Ivory Coast #dekeuze

"I love westerns," says one of the African players. "Because you always know how they end. Clearly. With only one winner." On the playing floor are four smoothly twirling, stomping dancing, trained performers from the Ivory Coast. They are a stark contrast to their co-stars: two lumbering, yoghurt-pale and uncoordinated German actors. The Africans speak French, the Germans mostly English. The... 

"Talkshow" by artist Miet Warlop and film scholar Hilde D'haeyere is an overly noncommittal slapstick collage #dekeuze

She bends over. A huge wooden shot thunders over film scientist Hilde D'haeyere around and smashes against the playing floor. She stays alive through a recess in the wood. Unperturbed, she springs up and continues reading from her essay: a scholarly treatise on function of slapstick in the silent films of Charlie Chapin and Buster Keaton, as well as in the work of visual artist cum theatre maker Miet Warlop.

Can a piece of plastic be sad? Well in the theatre by Lotte van den Berg #dekeuze

Can a plastic rag be sad? It does in the hands of a puppeteer in a performance by Lotte van den Berg. With a few pieces of tape and a lot of well-aimed buttons, the plastic rag has been transformed into something with four limbs and a head. And the plastic rag mourns in its performer's hands dozens of similarly knotted... 

The International Choice does, what The International Choice has been doing for years: divide opinion and loosen tongues.

"We are blind to the big changes in the world and meanwhile we are arguing with one-liners on Radio One." These words, penned by reporter Robbert van Heuven from the mouth of writer Abdelkader Benali during the Choice Debate on Tuesday 20 September perhaps best captures what The International Choice was all about. Artistic director Annemie Vanackere... 

Seeing, building and tasting the future during an exciting bike ride through Rotterdam with Parfum de BoemBoem #dekeuze

A procession of bright red and green bicycles snakes along the Meuse, ridden by people looking around curiously, conferring with each other and wondering at every moment if 'this is part of it'. The Parfum de BoemBoem ticket in their pocket is proof: this is not an ordinary bike ride, but one with theatrical surprises. Guide Sereh enjoys the questioning looks and leads the group to the first location: the waste incineration plant in Rotterdam-Zuid.



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Future food of nuisance beasts scrambled with talk on energy #dekeuze

Listen here to the podcast/work in progress by Jowi Schmitz who attended the event with chef Natasja Postma: Fantasising about 2020 in International Choice 2011 Liposuction fat. Blood. Vomit. 'You can look at it that way too!' says the Appetitheque's food designer excitedly. It doesn't bother her that her thin-walled jelly pudding, processed cola and her yellow-white lumps of beef salad are still... 

We talk endlessly about climate change and then the lights go out. #decision

It is the most frequently asked question to actresses: whether it is difficult, crying on command. And invariably Carice van Houten or Halina Reijn then replies to Matthijs van Nieuwkerk or Jeroen Pauw that there are all kinds of tricks for that. For crying. Just think of something nasty, tiger balm, onions, and Vaseline. Now, however, it turns out there is something where even... 

15,000 burger buns set a fitting stage for typically Spanish Golgotha Picnic #International Choice

  Spain and God. The two have had something in common for a long time. And to outsiders, not always in a positive sense. Spaniards invented the Inquisition and converted the entire native population of South America to the eternal hunting grounds. When artists delve into the relationship between supreme being and Spaniard, it also quite often produces confrontational works. Take... 

Irony and purity want to stand side by side in 'Free Mason' by Tjon Rockon #International Choice

It takes guts: walking down Rotterdam's Kruiskade with a big wooden cross and shouting "Mason was a fish!" shouting. The drug-addicted residents of St Paul's Church, the dishwashers at Chinese restaurants and waiting passengers at the tram stop look on in bewilderment. Sandro Lima shouts lyrics about Mason the saviour like a possessed religious maniac. Moments before, we are at... 

Rebellion and resignation hand in hand during beautiful opening weekend The International Choice at Rotterdam Theatre #hechoice

Opinion pollsters take note: "People give the moderate answer to most questions they are asked in life. The characters in 'This is not a love story' are very ordinary, very average. In that, it clicks between those two. It's an ending where you feel an enormous satisfaction." Enthusiasm prevails after the opening weekend of The International Choice of the... 

'This is not a love story' is intimate and simple, but takes you on a journey for which the globe is not big enough #International Choice

What is your relationship with whales? A. Totally not interested in it. B. Somewhat interested. C. Very fond of whales.
You don't often hear such a question in everyday life. It appears in 'This is not a love story', a narrated, danced and musically performed 'Swedish road movie' by choreographer/filmmaker Gunilla Heilborn. A journey Heilborn took with dancers Johan Thelander and Kristiina Viala from Tromsö to Lisbon provided the material for this performance.

Pollesch and Hinrichs turn opening night The Choice into a theatrical philosophical happening #The International Choice

For the opening night of The International Choice, the Rotterdam Schouwburg was briefly transformed into Berlin's Volksbühne. The same black plastic rags on the walls, the same ugly yellow front curtain and - most strikingly - the seats in the auditorium have been replaced by white beanbags. Those beanbags, by the way, are widely despised and mocked in Berlin. They should... 

Festival 'The International Choice' opens as it should: abrasive, confrontational and tad disturbing #thechoice

photo Abdelsalam Moussa Strange how quickly history detaches itself from your memory. We had gradually come to think here that the camping riot in Cairo's Tahrir Square was some kind of summer of love. That everyone there was cramming roses into cannon shells, singing together, and that the whole world was just for giving each other love and hugs. Time for a... 

Argentine lives inexorably turn to destruction at Mariano Pensotti's hands

Turntables and theatre have something in common. Especially in recent years, theatre-goers increasingly run the risk of facing a so-called rotating stage. After Johan Simons made use of this technical style figure in his direction of Hiob at the Munich Kammerspiele and Christoph Schlingensief made the stage turn spectacularly in his swan song Mea Culpa, it is now... 

Rotterdam Theatre's International Choice has always been a personal choice

Annemie Vanackere Last year it was still about 'a sense of belonging': the ability to feel at home somewhere, to know you belong somewhere. This year, the motto of the quirky Rotterdam festival De Internationale Keuze is almost diametrically opposed to that: parallel reality. Instead of one place offering warmth, the festival now says that those... 

The Dodo revives for Holland Festival edition 2011 #HF11

This week the Holland Festival erupts and we are there. We are producing a Dodo Festival Day newspaper with a sizeable team of professional journalists, as we did before for Springdance and The International Choice of the Rotterdam Schouwburg, for example. We follow the festival closely to bring news as it happens. We go to see performances where others... 

'Our' New York dodo reviewers saw the Wooster Group's Le Vieux Carré and were thrilled

Admittedly, our method of reviewing (see our contributions on Springdance and De Internationale Keuze) is new to the Netherlands, but in the States a few were already doing it. For example, the two yummy guys Andrew and Andrew are doing well with their iPhones, doing the same as the Dodo with the Kodak Zi8 (no shares, though we would love to be sponsored... 

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