Jens van Daele 1972 – 2020

On Sunday, 21 June 2020, choreographer and dancer Jens van Daele died suddenly. Born in Antwerp in 1972, Van Daele was classically trained as a dancer at the Stedelijk Instituut for Ballet. He would go on to impress as a dancer with a physical idiom in which a certain stark poetry went hand in hand with explosive power, resulting in a uniquely recognisable style that defied easy interpretation.

Over the years he danced with the Ballet Royal de Wallonie, Introdans, O Vertigo Dance, Conny Janssen Danst, Club Guy & Roni, and Rogie & Company. His part in Rogie’s Spring (2004) won him a Swan, the Dutch award for the most impressive achievement in dance.

Around the turn of the century, Van Daele began creating his own choreographies. He loved working with the forces of nature and made a name for himself with site-specific work at Oerol festival. With his company Burning Bridges he was working on a longer running series of works entitled Nachthexen. Inspired by a Russian squadron of female bombers during World War II, the series explored themes of female strength and defiance. His dancers, all women, performed demanding, often violent movement sequences accompanied by film and powerful live music. The tour of Nachthexen Part IV, Battre, featuring Van Daele’s life partner Patricia van Deutekom and Marijn van der Sande, was cut short by the Corona measures.

Photo: David Jagersma