©Lambert de Jong

Seeking closeness, it goes without saying

Heartwarming first rehearsal for Momentum from PRA Muziektheater

The corona period has had unpleasant side effects. Being in contact no longer feels so self-evident. We miss closeness and spontaneity. Loneliness.

But all this distance disappears for a moment at the first rehearsal of Momentum.

Foot roll. First softly and slowly, then harder and faster. About twenty participants sit in a circle in the Grand Foyer. The floor is divided into one-and-a-half meter sections by means of tape.
I am at the first rehearsal of Momentum, a performance about making contact, reaching out and disruption. This music and dance spectacle can be seen at DOMUS DELA in Eindhoven on 4 October.

We're going to do it now
How do you do that, make a performance with a distance of 1.5 meters between the artists?
Artistic director of PRA Muziektheater Monique Masselink says it at the start: "In the summer of 2019 we had already started with the preparations. After a time of all of us being at home, now is the time to move on. We studied it for months and tried everything to be able to make the performance with a meter and a half between us. We're going to do it now. "

It is a colorful group: children, frail elderly and a few actors with Down syndrome. Together with professional dancers and a number of students from the Fontys Dance Academy, they get moving like a perpetual motion machine.

My senses open naturally. My eyes jump from actor to actor because they are so disarming. The sounds of rattling feet, rhythmic beating on chest and violin and saxophone sounds prick my ears. Sometimes the music is created by the movement, at other times the movement is created by the encouragement of the violinists or the saxophonist. My body moves instinctively.

Everyone has their own 1.5 meter section. Everyone keeps their distance while moving. The distance between the actors plays no role whatsoever in my experience of the movements, the performance or the music. The contact between the artists is warm and natural.

Two dancers steal the show

Andrea, one of the dancers / choreographers, leads the group and is the first to initiate a movement in the introduction round. Then the participants take over that movement from her. First by saying their names. After that there is only mime. Everyone moves in his or her own, personal way.

One makes a graceful dance. The other makes an enlarged, timid gesture and the next responds to it. They carefully throw a fictional object at each other. The violin improvises. With sometimes dreamy, then teasing or rousing sounds.

More and more participants are now moving and improvising together, which degenerates into a musical chair. An older lady rushes to a chair, which is just snatched from under her nose. The group of actors are now in procession following the two violinists. Then they turn the tables. Everything seems to go off in its own trajectory. Borders disappear and everything becomes liquid.

Swinging armes and legs
Andrea: "Follow Sofie!" The participants imitate the young girl with swinging arms and legs, resulting in swinging moves. "Now follow Mischa, the boy in the corner!" Everyone is moving now like Mischa, one of the boys with Down syndrome. "We look at Marianne at how beautifully she can dance!" All eyes are on the older lady, who lets her body move freely to the music. Two young girls take the stage and perform a hyper-energetic dance.

Everyone was seen
After an hour and a half everyone is back in their seats. The first introduction was special: The participants respond: "Very nice without having said anything", "Everyone was seen", "I was laughing inside all the time" and "It really impressed me, it is love."
Monique concludes: "We have almost made an entire performance. If we do it with feeling, it will be fine."

Making contact and seeking closeness felt like a self-evident endeavor for a while, with a distance of 1.5 meters.

Momentum - PRA Music Theater
Sunday October 4, DOMUS DELA, Paterskerk
Start at 1.30 pm and 4 pm
Tickets: € 5.00 

PRA collaborates in this production with Parktheater Eindhoven, Vitalis, Domus DELA, Theaterwerkplaats Tiuri, Podium Bloos, Cultuur Compaan Roosendaal and Roosendaal Danst

Send an e-mail to loes@parktheater.nl

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