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Featured artist: Angela Vriend

6 May 2022
The project SCHIM is a performance you'll be able to attend at various outdoor and indoor locations in the Netherlands from this Summer onwards. It is a collaboration between visual artist Ine van der Horn, composer Jörgen Boots and choreographer Angela Vriend. We spoke to Angela about this special collaboration and discussed her work as a dancer and teacher.
"My mind thinks in images and I'm rather fond of visual arts, music, poetry and language," says Angela. "It's wonderful to convert the feelings and experiences that the visual work and music evoke in me into dance. Dance is the archetype of art, because it moves through time as well as space. That's why I created Art.In.Motion, which I founded in collaboration with visual artist Willem van Weeghel for the performance Dynamische Structuur 23217 [Dynamic Structure 23217 - Ed.], which we performed several times from 2017 - 2019. It brought me so much joy that I decided to continue working on Art.In.Motion independently."
Performance Dynamische Structuur 23217
"Life offers continuous change and contradictions: autonomy versus connection, dark and light, strength and vulnerability, euphoria and melancholy ... love and fear."
"It's fantastic to work with artists from different disciplines," Angela continues. It's no wonder that her new project SCHIM is once again a multidisciplinary collaboration. "It inspires me and gives me new insights and ideas. The work of visual artist Ine van der Horn immediately resounded with me. When I saw her work De Wachters [The Guardians - Ed.], I felt as though my own story became visible in her art. I visited her exhibition in the church in Bears in Friesland, where I told her about the images her work evoked in me. There and then, we decided to work together.

Pianist Jörgen Boots and I have already collaborated several times. Like my dance performances, improvisation and empathy play a significant part in Jörgen's music. We feel each other so well that like to make room for a few 'free moments' during our performances, in which the moment itself determines what kind of music and dance we create. Coincidence plays a major role in these moments, and as such every performance is different. This is highly interesting for me as a choreographer. Instead of studying a chorography with the dancers from start to finish, I work with guided improvisation, where there's room for chance in direction, movement and timing, which all take shape in the moment.

Finally, the costumes that Ine designed equally invite exploration and improvisation, which our dancers express differently in each performance."

Ine van der Horn describes her art as a depiction of "the deeper layers of mankind" [own translation - Ed.] [1], an exploration of the deeply hidden Self, which corresponds with Art.In.Motion's quest perfectly. "Life offers continuous change and contradictions", Angela argues: "autonomy versus connection, dark and light, strength and vulnerability, euphoria and melancholy, caution and recklessness, love and fear. We all seek safety, happiness and a good life as well as security and quiet. At the same time, we long for adventure and new experiences. Coincidence is capable of turning our lives completely upside down, testing our adaptability and perseverance."

The performance SCHIM invites the audience to experience these contradictions for themselves. "We hope that the spectators will be moved by our performance, and that they will find recognition in their own feelings and experiences." The dancers are of different ages, ranging from twenty and sixty years of age. This is a conscious choice, Angela explains. "It's a reflection of the different stages of life. The emotions and images our viewers will experience are different for each person, because everyone is going through their own life stage and is treading their own path - our performances allow for them to explore this on their own accord."
Besides her work as a choreographer, dancer and teacher, Angela provides psychomotor child therapy. She explains that dance and movement play an important role even in your earliest stages of life.

"We live in our bodies. When we are born, the sense of touch is the primary sense we need to survive - we seek the proximity of our mother and the nipple to drink from, completely by touch. Touch is a necessity of life. The western world seems to value thinking rather than sense and movement. However, the senses and motor skills are initially the most important means for young children to develop. Dance is an important form of expression. It makes you aware of yourself and your body, it trains your muscle memory, makes you strong and improves your balance. You can process your feelings and experiences through dance, and, of course, it's fun! But don't forget that it's also a non verbal way of communicating, and that it connects us with others. Young children express themselves in dance long before they can do so with words. It is a kind of primal force, an ancient human expression that plays a prominent role in many cultures."
It has therefore been painful to live with so many restrictions in recent years, Angela confesses. The main rule of the lockdown was, put bluntly: "keep your distance and don't touch each other." For someone whose life's work revolves around dance and physical contact, it was an unreal and elusive experience. Angela explains that her work, including the dance rehearsals of Art.In.Motion, was put on hold for an extensive period of time.

"Touch is essential in our training and performance and this was not possible for a long time. When, finally, we were allowed to start dance rehearsals again, we had to deal with dancers in quarantine or who had tested positive. We have rarely been complete." Nevertheless, Angela felt supported. "A number of dance colleagues, as well as Ine and Jörgen, were in the same boat. These experiences have had an influence on the development process of SCHIM, which we are currently still developing in full force, and have influenced the emotional interpretation of our dance and choreography as well. In the end, all this has a positive side as well."

"Even though it might sometimes not seem like it, all human experiences are universal," Angela concludes. And soon, dear reader, you will be able to experience this in person when you attend a performance of SCHIM.
SCHIM is a production by Art.In.Motion, a cooperation between:
Dancer / choreographer Angela Vriend
Visual artist Ine van der Horn
Composer / pianist Jörgen Boots

SCHIM will premiere at Kunstroute Zijpe aan Zee (N-H) on 18 - 19 June 2022. The artists also have options at the municipality of Bergen, Artphy in Onstwedde in Groningen and at the church in Bears in Friesland, and they're in contact with several other organisations. Angela, Ine and Jörgen want to continue developing and performing SCHIM in the years to come.

What do you think? Do you recognise yourself in Angela's ideas, and are you curious about SCHIM? Let us know below. And if you want to help Angela, Ine and Jörgen, you can support this project by donating a pretty penny below. Thanks for reading!

Top photo: Mirjam Rosa
Photo Dynamische Structuur 23217: Cor ten Haaf
Photo De Wachters: Boris Schmidt

Fragment from As Daylight Wanes
Concept & production: Jyoti Verhoeff and Angela Vriend
Direction & camera: Arne Elgersma
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