TRUE LIFE by Kalpanarts at Korzo in The Hague

13th October.

A musical dance performance about death and the celebration of life.

“Because, death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable.” – Bhagavad Gita (influential Hindu scripture)

The way in which people observe the inevitable end, varies per culture, country and generation. How people deal with death says something about how they live. In some instances death might be intertwined with their everyday life, in other cases it is a topic that is consciously avoided. In True Life, Kalpanarts examines the relationship between life and its end, and the reverse.

Sources of inspiration are colourful and ancient funeral and memorial rituals such as the Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), the New Orleans jazz funerals and the holy cremations on the River Ganges. Furthermore, Hindu verses, the god Shiva and Indian philosophy, provide references for the celebration of life and mitigation of the underlying fear of death. The piece sources the personal experiences and beliefs of the performers with their different cultural backgrounds.

In the space where death defies the living, consoles and challenges, six dancers and a musician, Shishani Vranckx (vocals & guitar), give an expressive performance.

Horizontal flips and other urban moves are accompanied by gracefully turning wrists and rhythmical footwork from the Kathak and Bharatanatyam dance styles. The result is a dynamic dance form that has theatrical expressiveness and is beautiful to look at.” (Trouw magazine)

Kalpanarts is the dance company of Kalpana Raghuraman (artistic director & choreographer) and Gysèle ter Berg (business director & artistic associate). At its origin it aims to address social and engaging topics. Kalpanarts is a contemporary dance company with a multi-ethnic cast and following. By bringing Indian dance forms together with urban and contemporary dance, Kalpanarts creates a dance language that transcends genres. Like a heartbeat, there is always a strong rhythmic element in the work. Characteristic is the use of footwork, hand gestures and facial expressions.

True Life is a production by Kalpanarts with subsidies from Fonds Podiumkunsten, Gemeente Den Haag, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, en VSB Fonds (Dance on Mute)

Photography campaign image Bowie Verschuuren


Choreography                                              Kalpana Raghuraman

Concept                                                         Kalpana Raghuraman & Gysèle ter Berg

Business leader & artistic associate              Gysèle ter Berg

Dancers                                                         Goda Žukauskaitė , Indu Panday, Kya Su, Laila Gozzi,                                                                         Mitch Essers and Sooraj Subramaniam

Live Music                                                     Shishani Vranckx (vocals & guitar)

Music Composition                                      Simone Giacomini

Costume Design                                          Aziz Bekkaoui

Lighting Design and Decor                        Jeffrey Steenbergen

Dramaturgy                                                  Vincent Wijlhuizen

Head Production & Tour Manager             Susanne Tuny

Assistent Tour Manager                             Milou Margaroli

Press & PR                                                   Anke Riesenkamp en Milou Margaroli

Campaign Manager                                    Anke Riesenkamp

Social Media                                               Freeke Carlier

PR & Community                                         Gig Gamaggio

Project Manager Dance on Mute           Anke Riesenkamp en Hadassa Smit

Graphic Design                                            Serena Kloet

Photography & Video                                  Bowie Verschuuren

Models Campaign Image                           Sooraj Subramaniam en Shishani Vranckx

Sales                                                              Gysèle ter Berg en Susanne Tuny


Dance on Mute

This performance is part of ‘Dance on Mute’: an initiative by Kalpanarts to make performances more accessible for people with a hearing impairment. Lights and the conversion of sound waves are methods used to allow sound to be experienced through other senses. A Dutch sign language interpreter (NGT) will be present during after-show talks with the choreographer.