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performance for children and

perhaps some adults

Vodje (meaning in Dutch: a rag, a worn out piece of cloth) is a performance for children (and their parents/care takers) about all kinds of useless things and a whole lot of nonsense during the

quest for something real. ​


In the window of IrvinX Couture in the fashion quarter in the city of Arnhem strange things happen. Or perhaps quite ordinary things?

For sure remarkable things!

Puppeteer Ewout de Ruiter (Theater De Bolle Kater) manipulates in a skilful way both the paper dress and dancer Eilit Marom. On the other side of the glass musicians/composers Jaap Berends (double bass and vibraphone) and Tjerk van der Ham (self made mini-piano and vibrandoneon) play away cheerfully on their instruments.

For this piece De Jong was inspired by the rituals around death on the Indonesian island of Bali, where she lived for five years. The local people work side by side for days, sometimes weeks, to create beautifully ornamented sarcophagi for the dead, made out of bamboo, paper machè and colorful fabric. During the cremation ceremony (palebon or ngaben) this vessel is being burned together with the body before it is being released into the sea.

Another example of human hands that create something beautiful together is that of the monks in Tibet, who work for days on a colourful mandala made of coloured sand. Finally during the ceremony the sand is being blown away in all directions.

In the West people would probably say that this is a pity, to throw away something beautiful created by men's hands. But the idea that everything in life is temporary and evanescent is generally more accepted in the East than in the West.

De Jong asked fashion designer Irving Vorster (whose ancestors come from Indonesia, probably not a coincidence) to design a paper dress. As it turns out, the dress itself has a desire to have a life of it's own…

During the performance the dress slowly vanishes, being torn apart by the movements of the dancer, who is fighting against it, not wanting to loose her new friend, but is not able to stop this process.

Concept, choreography & stage setting

Aafke de Jong 

Dance Eilit Marom 

Puppetry Ewout de Ruiter 

Music Jaap Berends en Tjerk van der Ham  

Design paper dress Irving Vorster 

Location IrvinX Couture (Arnhem)

Vodje (jeugdvoorstelling)

Aafke de Jong / Irving Vorstel / Ewout de Ruiter / Jaap Berends / Tjer van der Ham 2010