What is (not) gone - Jonge Harten

What is (not) gone

Rikkert Wijrdeman

Door: Nicky Palmans

A shaking body. How do I sit? How do I walk? How do I live now? Desperately holding on, reliving the memories, wanting to travel back in time, unwilling to let go. Losing someone you hold dear: Morning, Mourning.

In Morning, Mourning the process of mourning is translated into a dance, performed before us. Not on a stage, but in the café area (The Pool) of the Student Hotel. It was poetically accurate and fitting in a way: When you mourn, the feeling is always there, when you’re home alone, but also when you’re going for a drink in a café.

The pleasant background music is replaced by ominous piano tunes that grow louder and slowly morph into Spanish-sounding rhythmic music. Half the audience looks around in anticipation. They came here to see the performance, the rest came to have dinner or a drink with family or friends. The two dancers sit at a table by the window. One of them starts to shakenly move around, on the chair, the table, the floor. People start looking up from their plates, curious, or irritated.

The two dance together through the entire café. On tables, chairs, edges, ridges, bars and windowsills. He holds her and moves her around, at first she moves with him, but her movements become scarce and she can’t stand up on her own anymore. She leans on the people watching, her fingers grasping on for dear life. They come close. We all hear their heavy breathing and see their tensed muscles.

The dance is very rhythmic and perfectly fits the music. The topic is sensitive and emotional, but the performance did not feel like that. The discussion afterwards does. During the after talk, Marc Maris the director of Jonge Harten, asks if it was recognizable for anyone. For most it is. The conversation gets very emotional.

It makes me think about the performance we saw a day before called Wat (Niet) Weg Is, about how long you are allowed to miss someone or something, and that maybe the missing never goes away.

The performance Morning, Mourning was in a public space, free for anyone to walk in, sit down and enjoy. One of the dancers tells me that it’s very important for them to keep art accessible for anyone and to be able to spark interest in the people watching to go and see more. To keep art alive. Most people were pleasantly surprised by this dance performance during their dinner. It fit the situation well, recognizable but not too emotional.

It made me think about a poem by Mary Oliver:

“… To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

Against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.”


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