Between 16th and 24th November, Groningen will host the 21st edition of Jonge Harten, a cutting-edge festival of dance, theatre, performance and music.
By Thomas Ansell
The nine-day festival will be based in the Grote Markt’s Grand Theatre, as well as other atmospheric performance spaces throughout the city. With an eclectic mixture of performances, as well as workshops and ‘experiences’, this is the most accessible festival yet for internationals with 11 different shows in English. Jonge Harten has been running for a number of years, and is a staple of the Groninger cultural calendar, with performers coming from across the world to the city.
Of course, whilst all of the performances at the festival push the boundaries of what we know to be art, theatre and dance, not knowing the Dutch language isn’t a barrier to participating. White [Ariane] is the work of Ariah Lester, who has turned a journal written by a South American lady to the ‘daughter she never had’ into an operatic one-man extravaganza. The Norwegian choreographer and dancer Ingrid Berger Myhre brings her playful exploration into gestures and dance with Blanks, whilst the similarly gripping Morning, Mourning is a deep look into love at the final crossroads between life and death.
Artistry is high on the agenda at Jonge Harten, with Australian James Batchelor’s intriguing Deepspace exploration into the emptiness of the vast southern oceans. An immersive performance, audience members can wander through the show and create their own angles and pathways into the deep. Finally, expressive dance lovers can revel in the ‘dark fairytale’ of Through the Valley, which includes a mixture of techno music, live vocals, and artistic projections. Described as ‘a reflection of what is good, tasty and wrong’, this isn’t one to miss.
Jonge Harten also delves into the more academic side of cultural performance, as well as addressing some of the more pressing issues in the modern world. Project Occident (performed in English and Dutch) brings together four European theatre makers to discuss what ‘Europe’ is, and lead a discussion with 18 people born in the year 2000. A collaboration between an anthropologist and a theatrical performer, Situation mit Doppelgänger considers the use of non-Western dancing that has been appropriated into Wester culture. Expect twerking-a-plenty.
Something altogether more esoteric, and one for polyglots, Dounia Mahammed’s water was wasser is a window into the existential wranglings of its creator. Described as a ‘game of words’, the performance is in a mixture of Dutch, English, French and German.
Thomas Ansell is the Internationalization Coordinator at the International Welcome Centre North and a contributor to The Northern Times.
Photo source: Jonge Harten