Parktheater Eindhoven invited Vitoria Aquino to be an ambassador for dance performances. She will visit and share with her readers the best performances she has seen and explain why everyone should visit them.
You can read her reviews in her blog Vitoria Visits. Vitoria is a Brazilian performing artist based in Eindhoven. She has her diplome in acting and is a dancer at heart. She earned her bachelor in Performing Arts (BR) and her master in Arts-Performing Public Space (NL). Nowadays she's a performer at The Espiral Artistic Collective in Eindhoven. Her blogs are written in English.
Blog 5 Vitoria Visits:
B-Boy - Theater Maas en Dans
Anyone that has ever been in Rotterdam will be able to imagine and remember the energetic and busy vibe the city has. The strong wind remembered me how close to the sea I was and while waiting for the tram to take me to the Maas Theater I wondered if Rotterdam with its high buildings and modern architecture couldn’t be Eindhoven’s big brother.
Arriving at Maas Podium where soon I would watch the B-Boy performance, the same urban vibe carried on. The glass wall theatre with shining lights revealed a DJ playing next to a dance floor from outside already where kids and B-Boys will take their turns to show off the best of their moves.
Kids & families
I was immediately impressed by the amount of kids and families in the audience. Maas makes theatre and dance experiences for children, teenagers, young adults and their family and friends, and even though B-Boy is not specifically made for kids, these audiences are in the heart of their performances and programs. I was really happy to see so many young people around that I immediately wished for the youths in Eindhoven to be so thrilled as I was to watch this performance.
B-Boy is a performance inspired and performed by five breakdancers. The choreographer and director Jolanda Spoel used these guys personal stories and experiences to build up a theatrical performance that explores the ups and downs of a breakdancer. The geometric scenario alluded to the streets, bringing a playfulness to the scene mixed with complex movements, climbs, falls and loops at metal bars. The dancers were comfortable on the stage and in between casual talks, jokes, confessions and dance, the performance was build up in front of our eyes. In addition to the great energy, there is a special guest in each performance, usually a B-Girl that shares the stage and surprises the dancers and audience.
B-Boy is a mix of theatre, dance and improvisation carried on by an energetic and easygoing vibe that takes you by the hand through the show. One by one, the dancers personal stories were shared with us, as if we were all hanging out in the same imaginary place. It is true that breakdance battles are all about showing the best you can do, but in such short time it is just possible to see what is on the outside. Choosing to translate the breakdance battle universe to the stage, Spoel got it right in unfolding the untold situations and feelings that are behind the dancers and the battles, making us as audience witness’ and partners in their adventures.
There is a narrative sewing the dramaturgy together with storytelling and audios that unfortunately are in the Dutch language. However since the theme is so universal there are a lot of keywords and even English words that are part of the B-Boys universe that makes it possible for us, nondutch speakers, to follow the performance anyway. The dancer’s personal stories are well carried by the intention of the movements, soundscape and videos so that even when we don’t understand a couple of words we can still follow the performance from the beginning to the end.
Great energy and good vibes
B-Boy is a performance that fits Eindhoven’s urban vibe, it relates directly with a style of life that we see on the streets, during art festivals and dance events. It opens up the dance world to other perspectives that sometimes we are not used to see in theatre productions, it gives us a great energy and good vibes after the show. I really hope everyone gets the chance to watch it, and I hope that you all, specially the kids, will be inspired to put a bit more of dance and movement into your daily lives.
B-Boy - Maas Theater en Dans
November, Thursday 14th – 8:30 PM
Blog 4 Vitoria Visits:
Jakop Ahlbom - Le Bal
I went to watch the try out of Le Bal in Amsterdam a couple of months ago already,
but the memory of watching a good, well made theatre production is still on my mind.
The Meervaart Theatre is located in a not so familiar area for tourists in Amsterdam, it is
surrounded by a modern architecture and renewed streets in front of a beautiful lake. It
has easy access by public transport but it is not a simple walk from the central station,
however the trip was certainly worth it.
While I would wait for the performance, I was happily surprised by the presence of Jakop Ahlbom that sat to talk with me about his work and why we should promote Le Bal to international audiences. When I heard Jakop Ahlbom was creating Le Bal I immediately got excited about it because of the homonymous movie by Ettore Scola. The movie from 1983 presents a narrative without dialogues over five decades in a ballroom. Talk without language is exactly what Ahlbom is interested in. His version of Le Bal takes a step further and inspired by the movie evolves into the geniality of a musical theatre production beyond entertainment, touching upon human relations that reveal different layers of society over a 100 years!
The play can be seen as a big stage production with a big scenario, live music,
costume changes, illusionism and so on, but of course, in a hundred years of history there is a lot to be told and remembered. The reasons why I chose this play was not only because this is an English spoken production but exactly because being a play with its roots in physical theatre, all the meanings, relations and storytelling are perfectly understandable by impeccable acting skills that allows the audience to fall into the imaginary beyond the scenes and travel through history.
Jakop Ahlbom is originally from Sweden and he moved to the Netherlands in the
90’s to study mime at the Amsterdam School of Arts. Noticed by his talent and geniality,
years later he started his own company developing further his own aesthetics,
methodology and language. Ahlbom is known by his way of making theatre which is
reflected on stage with physical acting and meaningful relations between the actors that
use text as language only when necessary. Everything on the stage is important and in
balance: acting, music, scenography. It is curious to note that Ahlbom almost never uses
spoken language in his productions and when it happens it is in English, assuring the
universality of his work.
Travel through space
At Le Bal, Ahlbom is faithful to time to allow us to travel through space. Music,
dance and fashion evolution pass through our eyes and as if inside a time machine, we
can visit World Wars, Belle Epoque, rock’n roll, hippie movements and so on until the rise
of internet and technology and how all of these historical changes affect our daily life and
social relations. Watching Le Bal is like being a spectator of human evolution in the last century, following the misery, glory, victories and losses until the moment it is possible to
recognise yourself on stage.
Le Bal is a play for all types of audience, for those who love music, dance, comedy, drama, from couples to groups of friends that are looking for something other than their usual evenings. After months of work, Le Bal comes to the stage in collaboration with band Alamo Race Track that performs live on stage as performers-musicians. Jakop Ahlbom Company have been performing with Le Bal around the country since March and they finally arrive in Eindhoven at Parktheater June 13th.
I will see you June 13th at Parktheater - Jakop Ahlbom - Le Bal!
Blog 3 Vitoria Visits:
Nicole Beutler Projects & Theater Malpertuis - 4: STILL LIFE
I was excited as always to have the chance to watch a new piece for the Vitoria
Visits project and to meet with choreographers and theatre makers.
I had the honor to have a short talk with Nicole Beutler before the new try-out of 4: Still Life, a dance duet from 2013 at the Frascati Theater in Amsterdam.
Never seen before
The performance turned out to be something I had never seen before, an amazing experience through a simple, almost minimalistic and still amazing way of making theatre.
10 year anniversary
Nicole Beutler is a German artist based in The Netherlands for the last 20 years
under the name Nicole Beutler Projects. This year they are celebrating their 10-year
anniversary. With a background in fine arts and later on dance and choreography, she
is a theatre maker, choreographer and curator, therefore interdisciplinary ways of
working come naturally to her.
Beutler likes to follow her own idea of “Gesamtkunstwerk” inspired by Wagner,
in which light, music, movement, text and audience have equal importance in the
piece. According to her, the audience has a really important role because they are the
ones who create the story.
“What I love about the theater is the concentration and the fact that we are sort
of prisoners locked in, and as a public we have to surrender to what we see, and we
become co-players in what is being done”.
After three pieces with a more political presence, she decided to start from
scratch. The principles of Bauhaus, the visual art movement from the beginning of the
20th century, were a big influence and inspiration to figure out how composition can
tell a story and how the theatrical elements could have a potential narrative for this
Thus, the creative process of 4: Still Life started with a blank page and the
geometric shapes: circle, triangle and square. Beutler zoomed into the history of dance
to find out which styles are more circled, triangular and squared. On stage the dancers
explore all the possibilities attached to the form and to the relation between them,
allowing a non-verbal narrative to rise from it.
“What we see on stage starts literally as a blank page of white paper where
soon the walls start to dance, and from there on we are carried through the relation
between man and woman, what is the most basic dance they can do as partners”.
4: Still Life is the fourth performance of a series of eight and it was inspiration
for another three other pieces, and it was even adapted to a performance in public
space. It might sound abstract to talk about dance and geometric forms or you might
even think about it as a literal reproduction of movements and shapes, but I can assure
you will be hypnotized by it. You can imagine what it could be, but you will never know
what it is until you see it.
Allow yourself to surrender to this theatrical experience
I will see you April 24th at Parktheater for 4: Still Life - Nicole Beutler Projects
Blog 2 Vitoria Visits:
Introdans - Vier verhalen en een dag
Introdans, meaning literally introduction to dance, it is a contemporary dance company founded and based in Arnhem since 1971. Along the years, the company fought to show that there is a lot of space for dance outside of the Randstad area (Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague), and year by year they succeed in stablishing their name around the country and outside of the Netherlands.
The Stadstheater in Arnhem looked to be ready for a premiere with a full house. A program was handed at the entrance, unfortunately it was only available in Dutch, which was kind of a disappointment because the booklet was nicely made, with poems, extra information about the costumes and scenario, some curiosities about the play, the company and the collaboration between all the artists that were involved in the creation process.
Spinvis and Saartje Van Camp
Four stories in one day is a play for families with kids. It is a storytelling production with collaboration between the musicians Spinvis and Saartje Van Camp that wrote the lyrics and music, and Adriaan Luteijn and Marlena Wolfe that created the choreography together with Introdans dancers. Between narratives, songs and dance, the audience was introduced to Moira, a girl that wished to have an apple and to be able to visit the future. The girl’s name relates to the Greek myth of Moirai, the three ladies responsible for sewing the wire of fate, and it is the inspiration for the story.
A magic time
Unfortunately, Four Stories and one day is not as internationally friendly as I was expecting. Does that mean is it not worth it watching? No. Is it a program for a first date? Also no. The music and text are in Dutch and understanding it is important to follow the story around what’s happening with Moira. However, with a quick peak at Introdans’ website, fully available in English and a basic knowledge of the Dutch language you and your family, especially the kids, will have a magic time.
Practice your Dutch skills
The story is simple and effective, the scenario is creative, dancers are technically impeccable on stage and the musicians steal the show. It is a nice balance where music and dance have an equal place, and if you want to practice your Dutch skills here is your opportunity. The play is easy to understand, and it has a lot of musical and visual elements that take you through a world of imagination.
Just to be sure you are prepared, here are a few key words you might need to be able to follow Moira in her adventures through the future:
Veranderen: to change
Ik wil jou zijn: I want to be you
Curious to know more?
Check Introdans website for more info and I see you March 30th at Parktheater @ Introdans - Vier verhalen en een dag
Blog 1 Vitoria Visits
Conny Janssen Danst -Broos
“… if you are able to see a bit more than just the outside, I think compassion will help us to understand each other”. C. Janssen.
The building was old and huge, reminding me of an old Dutch city that is not so visible anymore in the streets of Rotterdam. The reception was welcoming, among three offers of a warm drink I quickly found myself lost between the dancers, not so secretly wishing to be one of them. I sat to talk with Conny Janssen in one of the two dance rooms where soon the fifteen dancers, the musician Maartje Teussink and assistants would join us for the beginning of their practice.
Fragility of life
Conny Janssen Danst, a dance company based in Rotterdam since 1992 was about to premiere Broos, its new dance performance. Broos, or brittle in English, talks about the fragility of life. The inspiration for Broos came from Conny Janssen’s mom and I would dare to say, from the observations and analyses of the movements, posture, gestures, thoughts of one that is now in an elderly phase of life.
As the talk goes on, Janssen reflected over the compassion we find in our daily life when we become aware of the luggage that everyone carries, which changes our way of looking to each other. “Eventually for me, it also resulted in the idea of having more compassion, because we see the outside of people (…) but you don’t see all the experiences they have had before that made them become like this. So, if you are able to see a bit more than just the outside, I think compassion will help us to understand each other”.
Just like as a baby fights to conquer its balance, as we get older, we start losing it again. This loss of balance was the starting point for the creation and improvisation with the dancers that transform themselves into the physicality of each phase of life. I asked her about the difficulties in working such physicality. “It was kind of a search for them, the dancers, to be able to talk not with the face but with the body (…) one of the key words eventually became physical transformation. In their bodies, they searched for what it means to be young or old”.
From old to young
Broos presents us moments of life without being cliché or linear in its narrative, the dancers go from old to young in front of our eyes as if the time was being rewound faster than for Benjamin Button. More than anything, the different energies are recognizable on the stage creating a frame of a dream or memory that fades away seconds later into the choreography. Simple, sensitive, poetic.
Personal highlights are the performance of Yanaika Holle and the original and touching soundtrack composed and performed live by Maartje Teussink, even bringing out the singing side of the dancers.
Broos by Conny Janssen Danst is at Parktheater in Eindhoven, February 26th. It is language free and highly recommended especially for those in need of a warmth in their soul. While we wait for Broos what about watching “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008)
I see you February 26th at Broos - Conny Janssen Danst
By Vitoria Aquino