Performing Gender - Dancing in your shoes
Since January 2022, eight participants regularly work together on the project Performing Gender – Dancing in your shoes in our studios in Pand 18. These participants are connected via their background in the former Dutch-Indies and Moluccan. The urgency to share this history was experienced during a gathering around the 75th anniversary of the capitulation of Japan in 2020. Performing Gender – Dancing in your shoes presented the opportunity to offer these stories a stage and give the direction of these stories to the people who carry these stories in Den Bosch and its surroundings.
The group first met in January 2022. The starting point of the project was the question: “What stories do we have to tell individually and what connects us as a group? How can we use dance to unlock these stories?” Until the summer, the group met on a weekly basis for physical activities in the dance studio.
Dance maker Jija Sohn is connected to the project from the beginning and facilitates the community in their process. The participants form mutual questions, research personal relationships together with Jija and translate these to the floor. They also use songs and poems which they relate to and recall memories about their roots. From this point, Jija researches how and where stories and movements intertwine. The age differences in the group plays an important part in the movements and exercises as these have a different effect for each person.
This project goes beyond the weekly meetings in the dance studio. The group visits and organises activities such as an exposition about the Indonesian independency in the Rijksmuseum, communal meals, and performances.
In this project we closely work together with a community in Tilburg that participates in the same project with a diverse group of women and performer and choreographer Nikita Maheshwary. Divers in societal and cultural backgrounds and originated from different districts in the city. Every Friday morning, the group of 10 women meets for a movement session in the studio of DansBrabant. Leading themes are gender and empowerment which the group explore through dance, movement and personal stories together with Nikita.
From July onwards, the Tilburg community works towards a production titled Residu(e), what we leave behind which will be performed during Boulevard 2023. More information about the community can be found via the website of DansBrabant.
At the end of 2022 we welcomed to guest choreographers: Javier Vaquero from partner Paso a 2 – Certamen Coreografico de Madrid [ESP] and Vita Osojnik from City of Women in Ljubljana [SVN]. Both choreographers gave workshops to the communities in Den Bosch and Tilburg. Javier, a committed LHBTQIA+ activist in his hometown, worked with the groups on the themes gender and identity, but also asked them to reflect on memories. Vita centralised awareness; awareness of yourself but also others. In the workshops, she challenged the group to search for the connection between body and spirit.
What are we working towards?
At this moment, the group works toward a performance at Boulevard 2023!
At Boulevard, the project will be concluded together with the 9 communities of the partners from 8 different countries.
But First, We are going to Eat is the title of the performance of our Bossche group. In the performance, eight people search for ways and words to share their personal stories and to find a mutual voice. They are connected by their roots in the former Dutch-Indies and Moluccan but differ in the way they deal with their background. They reflect on their background, upbringing, and experiences as people who are a part of a minority group in the Netherlands. In the fragmented as well as the collective performance exercise they break the silence and pave a way for future generations to raise awareness among each other and the audience. You can find more information about the performance here.