COME TOGETHER #3

The open workplace concept of Come Together #3

from: Theaterkrant

Last week the third edition of Come Together, a three-day initiative of the Amsterdam-based choreographers Nicole Beutler, Keren Levi and Andrea Božić, took place in Theater Frascati. Artists from the capital could enlist to contribute. They were encouraged to especially present new ideas in short performances.

Whereas their own work was at the centre of the first two editions of this small festival, the three ladies now, encouraged by partners in the city, opened the doors for the whole dance- and performance scene of Amsterdam, making this event an extension of dance- and performance platform BAU, which has also been created partly thanks to their efforts. In the end, fifty artists were selected for Come Together. During three long nights their work-in-progress was on display in a tightly directed program, produced by NBprojects and Frascati.

We should be glad anout these kinds of initiatives in Amsterdam, which – when talking about support of young artists in the dance- and performance – has lost a lot. How is this city supposed to continue now that both Veem House for Performance and Dansmakers have lost the biggest part of their budget, and also ICK has let go of their residence places for young artists. Hopefully, a solution for this acute gap will arise. Still, Come Together #3 did not only focus on young artists. The program offered a stage to midcareers and older artists like Robert Steijn and Ivgi & Greben. Rightly so, since also independent artists with a track record feel the need for dialogue, especially when it concerns going into new directions. Good that this is taken into account.

Artistic research was well represented in lecture performances, installations, films, and music performances. The program was diverse, pure dance performances were limited. In particular, the performance-network around SNDO (School voor Nieuw Dansontwikkeling), DAS Theatre (master of the Amsterdam School of the Arts), and the mime school were well represented. New ideas were launched and tested among colleagues. Some performances had yet to find a definite shape, others were already further along in the process. Not only artists, but also dramaturges found a connection. Among them, Jochem Naafs, became a second Nico Dijkshoorn, reflecting on what he experienced in his pop-up poetry.

The dance- and performance scene in Amsterdam is, despite the minimal infrastructure, very active, not only in theatres but also in galleries and churches. On the same day, for instance, I attended a meditative dance performance of choreographer Niels Weijer in the Oosterkerk. Often artists do find a way to present their work, but creating with limited means is reality too. Come Together facilitates the meeting, but primarily the open workplace concept of ‘trying-out’ and ‘stimulating’ serves a function. It creates positivism in a circuit that struggles.

By now, dance- and performance platform BAU, a new Amsterdam-based initiative coordinated by Eva Villanueva, which also rents out two dance studios and managed to arrange a complementary budget of the municipality of Amsterdam to compensate for the expensive studio rent in the city, has launched a website: www.bau.amsterdam. On that site all dance- and performance activities in the city, jobs and calls, as well as a complete database of people in the scene, are collected. That way, the field is now creating its own, digital archive.

© Moos van den Broek