During the opening night of the Dutch Dance Festival on 1 October, the VSCD Dance Jury announced the nominees for the 2019/2020 season Dance Awards. But due to the COVID-19 crisis, the VSCD (the Dutch Association of Theatres and Concert Halls) will not be presenting the awards this year.

Nominated for the Zwaan “most impressive dance production” are: 8: Metamorphosis (Nicole Beutler / NBProjects), Or Die Trying (Alida Dors / Backbone Foundation) and Memory Loss (Ann Van den Broek / WArd / waRD Foundation).

The nominees for the Zwaan “most impressive dance performance” are dancers Chloé Albaret in Aperture by Edward Clug (Nederlands Dans Theater 1), Maria Ribas for her role in Sweet like a chocolate by ICK Dans Amsterdam and Christian Yav and Sedrig Verwoert in They / Them.

The award ceremony will be held next year. For each of the awards, the jury will take into consideration the performances and productions across the two seasons. The abrupt ending of the 2019-2020 season and the many cancellations have made it impossible for the VSCD juries for theatre, dance, cabaret, theatre and dance for young audiences, classical music and mime to come to a well-balanced decision for their awards. From the jury’s reports:

8:Metamorphosis by NB Projects is a hallucinating, uncompromising work in which dance and opera come together in a richly imagined scenography and a tight dramaturgical framework. In a string of indelible images across two parts, an impressive cast of dancing singers and singing dancers tackles the unavoidable changes awaiting the world.

Or Die Trying by Stichting Backbone is a layered, interdisciplinary work of palpable fighting spirit, willpower and resilience. As her starting point, choreographer Alida Dors takes her father’s history as an immigrant from Surinam who started a boxing school in the Netherlands. The brief images of her father on film drive home Dors’ personal sense of urgency, which has resulted in a highly relevant and poignant work.

Memory Loss by Ann Van den Broek / Stichting WArd/waRD is the impressive closing chapter of a trilogy that nurtures people’s understanding of people with dementia. The work sucks its audience into the vortex that follows the diagnosis. Panic and powerlessness feed the characteristics of Van den Broek’s work: live music, video projections, text and a signature aesthetic of movement.

Chloé Albaret deepens her precise mastery of the NDT choreographers’ dance vocabularies with an additional theatrical layer of mystery. In Edward Clug’s Aperture she phenomenally switches between restrained emotion and expressive desire. She convinces with her sensitive and sharp angular movements instilled with a touch of humanity.

Maria Ribas enters the hostile space in Sweet like a chocolate like a warrior, dancing, singing and acting in a sinister interaction with ‘the other’. Boundaries are explored and crossed. Ribas’ embodiment of every transformation is completely convincing in the moods and emotions she embodies. Emio Greco’s and Pieter Scholten’s movement material appears to be made for her.

Christian Yav en Sedrig Verwoert offer an important contribution to the inequality debate in They/Them. The joint performance of these extraordinary dancers tackles racism, toxic masculinity and queerphobia, but their duet comes across without prior knowledge of the subject matter. With supple, precise movements, and shifting effortlessly from one style to another, they make their journey palpable. A double embodiment of contemporary man’s cultural universe.