Vitoria visits Conny Janssen Danst

“… 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.
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”.
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.
You can buy the tickets here and of course, have a sneak peak of Broos.

While we wait for Broos what about watching “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008) directed by David Fincher ?!

I see you February 26th.

By Vitoria Aquino


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