Performance Platform is a website and web app listing public activities from five different organisations based in Amsterdam: Dasarts, If I Can't Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, NBprojects, School for New Dance Development (SNDO) and Veem House for Performance. In addition, Performance Platform calls attention to other performance-related events in the city and abroad.
Performance Platform is an entirely subjective, while broadly oriented mapping of the performance landscape. Besides being a user-friendly list serve, the platform aims to highlight pathways through the city, facilitating new discoveries across the various institutions where (performing) arts take place. Far from attempting an all-encompassing survey of the field, the platform’s organisers include information concerning performance-related activities that have captured our imagination: mainly in Amsterdam—to strengthen the local scene—but also elsewhere in the world.
Every month, the five partners come together to discuss preferred landmarks within Amsterdam’s performance field, unfamiliar artists, or events that arouse curiosity. We draw attention to the things that are already here, close-by, but which are perhaps overlooked, inconspicuous or as yet unnoticed. We don’t shy away from ‘big and famous’ either. Every month a new landscape of artistic activity arises—full of not-yet-visible links and possible interconnections, new perspectives, viewpoints and secret gardens.
Those who subscribe to the Performance Platform, get a monthly Letter in their inbox. The goal of this Letter is not to inform, nor to bring any 'news'. Until 2016, each month, in a rotating manner, Barbara Van Lindt, Anne Breure, Nicole Beutler, Frédérique Bergholtz and Bojana Mladenovic, have been presenting the platform’s readership with topics, ideas or people connected to their most current interest. In 2016, a new editorial board composed of Isobel Dryburgh, Maria Rößler, Marjolein Vogels, Annick Kleizen and Simon Asencio was invited to bring in their diversely informed perspectives and to continue the momentum initiated by the five ladies who artistically lead the Performance Platform’s constitutive organisations. Sometimes staying as close as to articulating excitement or concern from the life of the organisations, at other times drawing attention to complex and elaborate projects of others, the editorial board also occasionally extends the invitation to a guest to speak on its behalf.
Each Letter marks a point in time in which the thoughts and ideas on or around performance situate themselves rather freely in poetic, semi- or non-academic, invigorating, careless, engaged, frivolous and pertinent performance discourses at once.
The history and traditions of performance lie in the twentieth century. Today, this provides references, concepts, presentation modes, curatorial models, theoretical and philosophical ideas that infuse life in many different scenes. For us—a venue and production house, a dance company, a visual arts institute, a Bachelor Studies for Choreography and a training programme for Masters of Theatre—approaching the arts from a disciplinary angle does not correspond to the way we work, think and talk. Performance allows another perspective: less sticking to orthodoxy within disciplines, more addressing qualities of presence, the experience of an event, and the politics of show and tell.
English is the language most used in this international community and is therefore the one we have chosen to carry the Performance Platform contents.
HET VEEM THEATER
Filled with voices during the year; old and new, young and established, coming from the arts and beyond, coming from Amsterdam and abroad. Always exploring what performance can and should be in movement, time, and discourse; questioning what we take as given, performing new proposals for ways of looking, and taking us on journeys to unknown worlds. Veem stands as a house for performance, dance, and discourse for making and presenting radical, daring, and experimental work.
We do this by producing and presenting performances on the cross-disciplinary field of dance, theatre, visual arts, cinematography, and music from new makers and by inviting work of international influential artists.
We do this in connections with schools and institutions with whom we share fascinations and this field. (i.a. SNDO, Mime, Amsterdam Master of Choreography and DasArts; Stedelijk Museum, SPRING, ICK, Oude Kerk, Nieuwe Grond – Theater Festival)
We do this in discourse by organising exchanges of thought, booklaunches, debates and salons.
We do this in going outside and working at, and with, other spaces and places.
We do this with you – the audience, artists, and all curious minds out there. The doors are open! Be welcome.
IF I CAN'T DANCE
If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution is an association dedicated to exploring the evolution and typology of performance and performativity in contemporary art. If I Can’t Dance initiates, produces and presents projects with artists, curators and researchers on the basis of long-term collaborations. These projects are presented (inter)nationally through a network of partner institutions.
If I Can’t Dance works along the systematic of collaboration. It doesn’t have a ‘house’, but instead produces projects and programmes that have different manifestations in different institutions within the Netherlands and abroad. One of our networks is Corpus, a European consortium for performance production including the partners Tate Modern and Playground Festival (STUK, Museum M).
If I Can’t Dance’s programme is structured in two-year editions, comprising of artist commissions, research commissions, as well as discursive activities including a monthly reading group. Each edition, defined by a certain field of investigation, engages a group of associated practitioners and institutional partners and unfolds along a travelling trajectory. Previous editions examined theatricality (Edition I), feminism (Edition II) masquerade (Edition III), affect (Edition IV), and appropriation in conjunction with dedication (Edition V) in contemporary visual art.
For Edition VI (2015–2016), If I Can’t Dance takes the notions of ‘Event and Duration’ as the field of research for its biannual programme of Commissions, Performance in Residence projects, reading groups, seminars and workshops. The programme of Commissions includes the production and presentation of new work by artists Leonor Antunes, Alex Martinis Roe, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, and Joke Robaard. If I Can’t Dance also continues its Performance in Residence programme, approaching performance-related practice through production-led research, with four new projects by Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich, Fred Moten and Wu Tsang, Peter Pál Pelbart, and Vivian Ziherl.
Since its inception in 2005, If I Can't Dance explores performance practice in visual art, set within the wider scope of both stage arts and feminism. Our relationships with practitioners to this day are informed by our ongoing interest in current and past theatre and dance practices and the manifestations of feminist discourse in art production.
The programme of If I Can’t Dance is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, the Cultural Programme of the European Union (Corpus) and the municipality of Amsterdam.
NBprojects is a vehicle for the artistic and curatorial projects of choreographer Nicole Beutler and her associates.
NBprojects is motivated by the desire to find, and propose, alternatives to fixed ideologies. It seeks to articulate the instability of the rational, create conditions for encounters and reflection within an artistic practice that naturally goes beyond the borders of constructed disciplines such as theatre, visual art, music, dance and performance. This motivation leads to performance/ dance/ theatre projects, to various forms of cross-disciplinary collaborations, as well as to the curating of conferences, lectures, festivals and the annual summer academy: WE LIVE HERE.
Nicole Beutler studied Fine Arts in Germany and Dance and Choreography at the School for New Dance Development (SNDO), part of the Amsterdam Theatre School. Parallel to creating dance/performance pieces, she was a member of the theatre-maker’s collective LISA. After five years of existence as discursive framework and production platform, LISA came to an end. Nicole set up her own organisation: NBprojects. Propelled by the fundamental desire to ‘bring people together’, with NBprojects she continues the search for links and connections across the field and beyond.
NBprojects is joining the Performance Platform in order to expose existing artistic pathways across the city of Amsterdam and beyond its borders, to mark a landscape of affinities and potential connections and to relate individual practices to the larger context.
NBprojects is funded by the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.
DasArts is a master’s degree course within the Theatre School of the Amsterdam School of Arts. The programme is based on eighteen years of experience as an educational, production-based and research-orientated hybrid. Our two-year, question based, residential master’s programme functions as a laboratory and aims to improve the artistic competences of its international students.
Artists studying at DasArts define both their goals and the research methods they plan to adopt. Although the focus is placed on individual development, our main educational strategies are derived from the learning potential of encounters: significant collisions with peers, guest teachers and staff and the fostering of professional intimacy. In other words, the degree to which you are able to provide insights into your working processes to a group of colleagues and/or an audience (often comprised of professionals).
DasArts is an acknowledged master of theatre. Theatre is the backdrop: its history and conventions, the traditions and the avant-garde spirit. Performance is part of this legacy. Since this lively contemporary international scene of practitioners and theoreticians creates a cross-cultural critical environment, DasArts consciously brings it into its program: via guest teachers, advisors or mentors, the students themselves, or the books housed in the library.
The SNDO—School for New Dance Development (School voor Nieuwe Dansontwikkeling in Dutch)—offers a full time four-year professional education course leading to a bachelor's degree in Art – Choreography. The school was founded in 1975 as an attempt to find new directions for dance next to the existing forms and styles that dominated the field. After forty years, the SNDO remains inquisitive, open minded, and in the foreground of progressive developments in the fields of dance and performance. In the curriculum, the school establishes the conditions from which the creativity of the student can emerge. Reflection on the specific qualities of dance and performance as art forms is developed, and awareness of the body and the artistic implications of working with it take precedence.
The SNDO has built an international reputation and has students from more than forty different countries. The staff and guest teachers are also international, and courses are taught in English. This international reputation, its strong image (inevitably followed by some myths!), and its excellent pool of alumni, all continue to contribute to its development and renewal, challenging and expanding upon established ways of making choreographies and performances. It is only possible to achieve this through the combination of an articulate vision on art, society, and education, and the translation of this vision into the school structure and the curriculum. Throughout the years one thing has remained constant—that which is expected from its students, the SNDO poses as a task to itself: continuous critical self-examination, experimentation, renewal, and the contemporaneity and progressiveness of its programme.
Over and above its core curriculum, the SNDO does this through active and critical dialogue with contemporary themes and politics within the profession; stimulating and initiating new developments and research in the area of dance and performance; by offering intensive courses and symposia, and by producing articles that can contribute to further development in the field. The SNDO collaborates with a number of local and international organizations from the fields of dance, performance, visual arts, and education: theatres Frascati and Het Veem, the fine arts institute If I Can’t Dance in Amsterdam and HZT from Berlin.
Like any educational structure, the SNDO is further recognized and enriched by the work of its alumni. Many teachers, dancers, and choreographers work in the international field. Within the large working community names such as Sasha Waltz, Martin Nachbar, Thomas Lehmen, Ivana Müller, or Nicloe Beutler stand as already established and recognized choreographers alongside more recent forces such as Alma Söderberg, Rodrigo Sobarzo de Larraechea, Vincent Riebeek, Florentina Holzinger, Lisa Vereertbrugghen, Simon Tanguy, Marta Ziólek, and Simon Asencio, to name just a few recent graduates.
The SNDO is part of de Theaterschool at the AHK—Amsterdam School of the Arts, and is accredited by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.