CODARTS DANCE at the Korzo in The Hague

Own Work

Every time I see a performance by the Codarts students I am astounded, not only by their perfect ensemble work, but also by their endurance to execute the most demanding choreography.

In their Own Work they demonstrated not only their ability to dance but also their talent in creating new pieces.

The first piece last night included a marathon of sideways skipping and jumping on the spot which got increasingly exuberant. There followed an exhausting, repeated falling backward, rolling over, legs wind-milling. Both sections were performances that would send New York street gangs running for the hills.

The three following pieces were rather more sedate. The solo, Mygenesis, performed to an Arabic song by French composer Armand Amar, beautifully matched the mesmerising grace and elasticity of Marie-Lou Lagrange’s dancing. Another solo, I am not your fucking flower, with a soundscape reminiscent of Laurie Anderson or Gainsbourg and Birkin’s Je t’aime, moi non plus, danced by Giorgia Belotti, depicted the constant battle against the societal pressures for girls to be ‘nice’ and compliant. (The flower, violently destroyed, littered the floor and we were treated to an extra performance of the floor being swept, beautifully, which earned applause).

There followed a sombre piece, When a Glass Body Breaks, performed in semi-darkness. It had a primeval feel of inescapable forces struggling against each other. The closing piece, warning of the dangers of dating, beautifully acted and performed by Alice De Maio and Helena Olmedo around and on a café table to Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, was danced with wit and great humour.

Throughout all the pieces the sound brought great energy to the performances. A great evening by these super-committed students.   Astrid Burchardt    22nd June 2018


Talent on the Move

For the second of the evening’s two shows Codarts presented the rolling showcase of its young dancers. I last saw this as part of the excellent Holland Dance Festival earlier this year when four of tonight’s seven pieces were performed.

As I noted in my review in February, there are several dance academies in the Netherlands of international standing and, judging by the student work we have seen, it is easy to see how Holland maintains its position as a world leader in contemporary dance. Although students come from around the globe, they are being taught in the Netherlands and it is that country’s styles, influences and methods they will take with them throughout their hopefully long and surely successful careers.

First up was Alleyne Dance’s Innocent Children which opened in dramatic style with eleven simple wooden chairs arranged on stage, facing away from the audience. It started with what could be described as synchronised sitting by the ensemble. This was followed by Single Manoeuvres, a simple but very effective duet by Codarts’ own Ed Wubbe to Patti Smith’s Birdland. The two dancers, Siva Canbazoglu and Isaiah Wilson, on the night I saw it, where both outstanding and there was something very American about the piece. They both moved beautifully, though rarely touching.

I had seen the excerpt from Twenty Eight Thousand Waves before but its impact was not lessened by that. To the music of Bryce Dessner, with Cayetano Soto’s outstanding and original choreography, this was one of the evening’s visually most pleasing pieces with the boys in very smart pleated, short grey skirts.

Although classroom teaching is vital, it is practical experience that brings it all into focus and demonstrates that life is not made up of theory but of hard work and application. In the short video presentation we met a group of fourth-year Codarts students experiencing real life as dancers during their internship, working on Scala for the Rotterdam-based Scapino Ballet. Their comments and the looks on their faces demonstrated how much they were enjoying it.

I had also already seen the show’s only solo, Ton Simons’ Still Life III with Emma Bogerd dancing to Van Morrison’s Ballerina. Emma is a tall, slim, very poised and elegant dancer who beautifully reflected the emotions of the song.

After a short interval, a piece I had not seen before, an excerpt from Yidam by Ihsan Rustem. Although essentially for eight dancers the piece started with an outstanding, more conventional though very complex pas de deux which was faultless in its execution.

This was followed by a very exciting piece called Ensign – but easily could have been called To the Barricades. The student dancers dressed as . . .err . . . students were in a revolutionary mood with a lot of excited flag waving.

The grand finale was an ensemble piece for twenty dancers called Smokey Sarah, by Marco Geoke to the music of Keith Jarrett and voice of Sarah Vaughn. It was a very staccato affair with lots of clapping and jerky movement and worked brilliantly.

This was an impeccable performance by the thirty-five or so Codarts students we saw last night, all of whom show great promise. It is a hard, fairly short life, being a dancer, but judging from tonight’s performances, they can all be proud and take a great deal of satisfaction, knowing that it is all worthwhile.  Michael Hasted   23rd June 2018.

Photo by and © Marcel van Oostrom