- 23 May 2016
“When you ask a person to jump [...] the mask falls so that the real person appears”, said Philippe Halsman, the American photographer. What is the reality of dance in these uncertain times and what is the mask? What do we want to show? What do we want to see? In The dog days are over, eight dancers engage in a physical endeavour: jumping. Repeated exhaustingly over and over, the jumps are revealing: we see that the dancers are actually performers in the service of... of whom exactly? After a number of impressive solos centring on the beauty of the imperfect body, Jan Martens has created a great performance in the grey zone between art and acrobatics.
The work sets out to reveal the person behind the dancer, and the complex, exhausting choreography—and the requirement that it be performed with mathematical precision and almost complete synchronization—was created with this goal in mind. Because the work is so demanding that it is impossible for the dancers not to make mistakes. And this is the moment the masks fall. The work takes the dancers to the point of physical exhaustion in order to reveal them to be both expendable and purely performative; an instrument striving for perfection.
But the work has another, more profound goal: It wants to get the audience thinking about the dancers and choreographers, the audience and cultural policy. To ask themselves where the line lies between art and enjoyment, who they are to come to see dancers suffering as though watching a bullfight in the arena? To ponder whether we are in fact seeking out the intensity that’s lacking from our everyday lives; whether it’s the beauty (something else that’s lacking from our lives) we really want to see. Whether contemporary dance is simply striptease for the cultured classes...
The work is determined to turn the audience’s attention away from experiencing experience to processing it; to transport the audience and to afford viewers the time and distance they need to ponder why they find themselves in that particular audience in that particular theatre at that particular time.
- 23 May 2016
Sounds design: Jan Fedinger
Dramaturgy: Renée Copraij
Technician Michel Spang
Production: ICKamsterdam & Jan Martens
Co-production: Frascati Producties, SPRING performing arts festival, DansBrabant, La Briqueterie CDC du Val-de-Marne, tanzhaus nrw & TAKT Dommelhof
With the support of : workspacebrussels & wp zimmer
International Sales: Line Rousseau, A Propic
Financial support by: Flemish Authorities and Performing Arts Fund NL
With: Cherish Menzo, Nelle Hens, Piet Defrancq, Kimmy Ligtvoet, Steven Michel, Julien Josse, Laura Vanborm, Naomi Gibson and/or Morgane Ribbens, Ilse Ghekiere, Victor Dumont, Connor Schumacher
Première: 20.3.2014, Frascati Theatre, Amsterdam
On 22.6, the performance will be followed by a discussion with the audience.