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Plastic soup takes the stage: SWITCH choreographs against plastic pollution
We are very happy to announce that the Switch Team managed to collect 25.000€ for the Plastic Soup Foundation! This is all thanks to the incredible audience members who came to watch and enjoy the SWITCH live performances on January 17th and 18th 2020.
Blog by Danae Kleida
Every year, the dancers of the Nederlands Dans Theater organize SWITCH: an evening full of dance performances dedicated each time to a different good cause. This year, the dancers chose to dedicate their choreographies to the Plastic Soup Foundation. Most pieces were not thematically inspired by plastic pollution but with their programme, the Switch team allowed the Plastic Soup Foundation to enter their stage for two evenings and raise awareness around plastic pollution. As team members of the Plastic Soup Foundation, it was moving to see how our work motivated the NDT dancers and to enjoy a different way of engaging with the plastic soup phenomenon.
Switch is an annual event that allows the dancers of NDT to swap roles, choreograph, and take full control over an entire evening of art and dance. For Switch ’20, the dancers composed 17 new choreographies and hosted a small art & photography exhibition welcoming poetry, painting, and other forms of expression. The Switch platform was initiated in 1988 and has since developed in a full evening of art and dance which supports numerous organisations by donating the entire revenue of the programme to a charity or cause of their choice. This year’s proceeds were donated to the Plastic Soup Foundation.
“The issue of climate change can only be remedied by changing the process at its core and by educating new generations. We only have one planet, and The Plastic Soup Foundation is fighting to progressively save its environment. We are proud to be supporting them this year, and believe endlessly in their cause”
Dancers take over
For Switch ’20, the dancers did not only step into the choreographer’s role but covered all facets of the programme from production and fundraising to marketing and communication. What that means for them is that they get to expand their practices further than their choreographic skills and aspirations. They jump in managing roles and they have to take into account every aspect that is needed to create an exciting performance evening.
“Switch is an opportunity to take the organizational helm and delve into the other aspects of this artform we may not always experience.”
That was one of the most appealing aspects of the programme, and that is because it really showed in their performances. The evening had a staggering amount of 17 choreographic pieces but it managed to be an evening of creativity, diversity and team spirit. With their performances, the dancers brought an air of equality and true delight as it was really coming through how much they enjoyed creating together and figuring out how to be something new.
It wouldn’t be really possible to speak about all the performances individually but I would like to highlight that all choreographies had well-thought-out choreographic approaches and impressive dance techniques. Two pieces that really stayed with me after the end of the evening were the “In between my ribs my heart is leaking” by Boston Gallacher and danced by Guido Dutilh, Boston Gallacher, Sebastian Haynes, and Keren Leiman and the “I went to your churches” by Toon Lobach.
Gallacher’s choreography included a golden iridescent reflective (and most probably plastic) sheet which was creating waves on stage as it was being handled from the dancers. The slow movement along with this material created an immersive environment. “I went to your churches” created an intriguing moment for the evening when Lobach entered the space dressed as a cleaner holding an electric vacuum. Then, Lobach put on his headphones and started cleaning the space while listening to the full length of the “Institutionalized” by Suicidal Tendencies. That had an interesting chain of reactions: curiosity, giggles, and somehow, space for reflection. Lobach stayed true to the character, vacuumed under the audience’s feet and ended up at the row where the team of Plastic Soup Foundation was. There, he continued vacuuming while asking them: “Microplastics, huh?” That was definitely not heard by all members of the audience but it really contextualised his idea and action. It seemed like a fun way to tap into the theme and cause of the evening while also giving time & space to the audience for reflections.
We thank you for your contribution!
We really appreciate the SWITCH team for supporting our work and making the plastic soup phenomenon visible through such a great initiative. We hope to get to see even more projects engaging so closely with environmental issues in the future!
Fay van Baar, Emma Bogerd, Kiran Bonnema, Jesse Callaert, Sebastian Haynes, Rinako Lida, Cassandra Martin, Austin Meiteen, Auguste Palayer, Annika Verplancke, Jianhui Wang.
By Danae Kleida – Danae produces digital content for Plastic Soup Foundation and the Beat the Microbead campaign. She has a background in media & dance studies.