SNDO’s Witness Protection Programme

By DANIELLE BALK

‘Some program content could be considered offensive’, says a warning note on the program that is handed out to the audience before the performance starts.

This is SNDO, School for New Dance Development. A professional education course that educates the students to become choreographers/dance makers and enabling them to contribute to the development of dance as an art form. WITNESS part 1 & 2 shows the work of six choreographers with several dancers consisting of students from all SNDO years. Here, they show ‘choreographic strategies, in which the body is allowed to speak for itself.’ They do so by showing the audience ‘fearless experimentation and attempts to give performance new direction.’

However. In SILK by Florentina Holzinger and Steve Martin Snider, the reason of writing the warning note becomes quite clear…

A woman pulls down her panties, lies on her back with her legs widespread and starts pulling a long pink rope (so it seems) from her vagina, while eating another pink rope. Also, at the end of the last piece of part one, FRAME by Marta Ziólek, one of the dancers doesn’t seem to mind that we get a full look into her private parts. This seems inevitable because she is wearing a see through white dress with nothing underneath, and her movements are quite intense. Her body parts shake in all  directions, while she rolls backwards over the floor.

But not all performances are about trying to offend the audience. Besides the possible shocking images as described above, there are also quite intimate and subtle ones. During the first performance of part one, HERE performed by Lisa Vereertbrugghen and Clara Amaral, the audience is asked to take a seat on the stage around the rectangle that is marked out by black duct tape. To be this close to the two female performers, who are moving very slowly with what looks like a lot of tension between them, creates also a very intimate and direct relation between the performers and the audience.

DO FISH HAVE DREAMS?, a choreography created by Thibault Maillard, seems kind of funny at first because of the male dancer, who is sitting in a bath tub with two other female dancers and who just keeps talking on and on like a real chatterbox with a very thick Italian accent. But in the end the performance brings in a serious statement about the child-exploitation around the world. Except – so it seems – in the West.

‘The Bunny-hop’ is what OXIMORON by Marina Colomina also could have been named. In the second performance of part one show a young female dancer who plugs in a bunny-shaped nightlight, and after that keeps dancing around it – shaking instensely.

The last performance of evening, POR SAL Y SAMBA by Carles Casallachs and Ester Arribas, starts with what looks like a very serious ballroom dancing-act, but after a few it seems that the two dancers have some sort of unfinished business between them that they need to solve. Its start with pulling at each other’s hair, while they keep on dancing, and after the female dancer tries to let the male dancer choke on a combination of flour and coke. The furious battle between them ends in a struggle on the floor, where they spray-paint each other.

SNDO, indeed.

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