sustained resonance

The Corona virus has left many companies scrambling. How to create and execute shows within all these restrictions? While some are struggling, choreographer Regina van Berkel and Introdans have embraced the limitations with sustained resonance, performed inside the Eusebius church in Arnhem on 17 September 2020.

This show was never meant to be. Van Berkel was slated to present her first world premiere with Introdans as part of its Amazing Asia programme (set to premiere on 23 October) for the members of the ‘adult’ group (at Introdans, one group performs the regular programme, the ensemble performs the family performances, like Fantasia – to premiere on 6 November). When Corona hit, Van Berkel and artistic director Roel Voorintholt decided to create an additional piece, a preparatory study if you will, with the complete company (including five interns), tailor-made to fit the Eusebius church.

INTRODANS danst:sustained resonancechoreografie: Regina van Berkelpremiere 17 september 2020 Eusebius kerk Arnhem.Photos: Hans Gerritsen

Five groups of around twenty people are led inside the church. Each group is assigned a different colour, which corresponds with spots – each 1,5 meters apart – on the floor. Five times during the show the audience is moved to different spots inside the church.

Van Berkel herself sees sustained resonance as a kind of dance installation, with the audience moving around from one scene to the next. This is never more apparent than right at the beginning, when the audience is escorted to their first assigned spots. While near the centre of the church, a handful of dancers are moving to a piano score by John Cage, the bulk of the dancers are standing stock-still in the wings, as if they were living statues inside a museum, or a temple. Only occasionally do they burst into movement, exactly mimicking the movements of the central dancers. The movements are organic and flowing, with expressive arm gestures which reminded me of classical Indian dance.

Near the back of the church, a young woman (Jamy Schinkelshoek) remains seated behind a table stacked with forms. During the piece she performs a monologue, a stream of consciousness. She is also the one who signals when the audience has to move (‘I think it’s time for a changeover’). ‘Wat fijn dat u er bent’ (‘We’re so happy you are here’), is her recurring mantra, which is echoed by the dancers, as they fold their arms around an invisible partner. ‘Can nothingness have a shape?’ she ponders. ‘And does this shape make a sound?’ ‘Can we embrace our space?’

Embracing the space is something Van Berkel certainly does. You couldn’t work with this amount of depth of placement in a traditional theatre, with dancers moving fluidly around and through the audiences. Similarly, the music written by Zhou Long, Alan Hovhaness and Yi-Wen Jiang, and performed live by the Van Dingstee Quartet, reverberated through the entire church.

sustained resonance is one of the rare current performances where it is actually possible to forget that it has been made under strict Corona conditions. Yet at the same time, this piece would never have been made if it weren’t for Corona. It is a great way for Introdans to start the season: with its entire tableau of dancers, in one of the most iconic – and historic – locations of Arnhem, the company’s homebase.

INTRODANS danst:sustained resonancechoreografie: Regina van Berkelpremiere 17 september 2020 Eusebius kerk Arnhem.