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 a performance with dance, live music, poetry and  

 visual art on the shores of the river IJssel  

A very specific site

​The cultural event Nulpunt (Point Zero), in 2011 invited choreographer Aafke de Jong, pianist/composer Michiel Braam (ArtEZ) and visual artist Gerrit van Middelkoop to create a site specific performance together.

Four dancers from a very diverse background and a piano encased in a floor of river clay; these are the ingredients of this site specific performance, situated at the shores of the river IJssel that flows nearby the city of Arnhem.

A new perspective

In The Beginning There Was was meant as a site specific performance, but was also performed in the concert hall of ArtEZ Conservatory during the Vetruvius Lectures about 'healing rhythms in music and architecture'. A very different environment, where the clay from the river was brought into the concert hall instead of the other way around. This added a whole new perspective to the essence of the performance.

ArtEZ Conservatory - Concert Hall

'Wherever you go, you always take something of your home soil with you'.

Inspired by the characteristics of the material that is available at the shores of the river nearby the railway bridge from the city of Arnhem to Westervoort, like the plasticity of clay, the impermeability of stone and the volatility of water, the artists tell their version of how it feels to move away from your home land. No matter where you are or where you are going, you will always take something of your home soil with you.

And literally a lot of ground was moved during this performance. 

No contrast could be bigger than the vulnarability of the bodies of the dancers - all having a different cultural background (Vietnam, Germany, Poland and Israel) - 

and the roughness of the natural environment. The ambitious technique of the railway above them, is in use during the performance and causes unexpected moments for the dancers and pianist, fixated in the clay ground. 

Is it possible to stop time for a moment and realize that we in fact are all the same? Together alone, alone together.

“While the dancers find their way up from the humps of clay that were brought to the festival space especially for this performance, visual artist Gerrit van Middelkoop is making small building-like figures out of that same river clay.

Who knows the meaning of it all? But it is here that your hart opens.”

Excerpt translated into English from:

De Gelderlander – October 3rd, 2011

Concept & choreography Aafke de Jong  

Music Michiel Braam 

Stage setting Gerrit van Middelkoop and Aafke de Jong  

Dancers Patrick Radu, Ornella Marchwichka, 

Eilit Marom & Jason Gwen  

Poetry & voiceover H.H ter Balkt †

Costumes Aafke de Jong en Gerrit van Middelkoop


Our special thanks to Festival Nulpunt, ArtEZ, 

Gemeente Arnhem, Rabobank, Wijnen & Van Oostrom and Dekker & Van de Kamp

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