On the road
At the end of May we received a request for a very special project:
The international Shell School in Damascus, Syrië would be closing at the end of June and they wanted to present a dazzling end performance with all children. In this case, all children meant only 19, ranging in age between 4 and 12, and most of them english speaking.
This asked for a completely new concept, and therefore we decided to co-operate with music company
Visual Sound Art.
This music company uses especially designed musical instruments that children can play.
In special sessions the project Sea of Sound evolved, with music to look at and rhythms that dance...
At the end of June Femke and Roy took a plane to Damascus. Where it was 40 degrees Celsius (pffff), so they could only rehearse in the morning and evening and where the luggage and musical instruments didn't arrive until the day of the performance... But where on the roof of the Shell building, together with all the children, they performed a magical and unforgettable show.
Take a look at the wonderful photos of Sea of Sound in Damascus, Syria.
Injuries... it's part of the job as a dancer, but of course it's still a bummer!
During a rehearsal for a different company Caroline twisted her knee and sprained the inner ligament. MRI-scans, orthopaedists, fysiotherapists and braces were all called for, but the only remedy here is rest, rest, rest... Because of this we unfortunately had to cancel the performances of Risk! this spring.
Let's just hope now that Caroline will recover quickly!
Once in a while we do projects that have nothing to do with Plankenkoorts. For example: in October Caroline hung in the air next to Marco Borsato, in a very red Gelredome.
Femke is at this moment working for the Nederlandse Opera where she is assistent-choreographer for the production
And in January Katjoesja will travel to Scotland to greet the monster van Loch Ness with Close-Act Theatre. And for that occasion Close-Act will of course bring their own "monsters"...
From 2-8 july 2006 the Dance and Child International (DACI) Conference 2006 was held in The Hague. For this special occasion
we drove all the way to Fortum Mollum (a tiny, tiny place near the border with Germany) to pick up the decor of Risk! from
We got some very enthusiastic and heart-warming reactions from the international audience, so who knows, maybe next time the decor can make a trip on an airplane (e.g. to Utah....)
Today an article about Plankenkoorts was published in the Amsterdam Newspaper het Parool.
Click on the picture to read the whole article (in Dutch)...
Two weeks after the dance project in Zaandam we organized another dance project on OBS de Ravelijn in Hellevoetsluis.
After our big anniversary party we didn't go on holiday just yet...
That same week we organised dance project In your Dream! at OBS De Dijk in Zaandam. In just two days we made the whole school dance!
Plankenkoorts celebrated her 10th anniversary with a benefit gala night in Theater de Meervaart, Amsterdam!
There were performances of a.o. Close-Act, Originally Fake and of course we ourselves also performed. All proceeds from the evening were donated to WarChild. You can see all the pictures and stories here!
On thursday 4 May 2006 we had the filmshoot for the remake of Hoepel op!. (You can also read an account of the rehearsals
a bit lower on this page)
For the filmshoot we had found a beautiful outside location: under a railway-arch Rotterdam was a concrete forest of pillars, that we could criss-cross through on our scooter. The colourful costumes of Jelleke made us stand out brightly against this gray, concrete evironment. The sunny weather completed the picture.
A day of shooting film is always very tiring. Every scene had to be done a couple of times, to have
images from all kinds of angles. But of course every now and then something always tends to go wrong. E.g. we almost collide
head first with one of those nice concrete pillars, or one of the hoolahoops slips out of our hands and flies into the camera,
or someone away just crashes from the scooter on the floor.
"Cut!" shouts the director, and we have to start again. The same "cut!" is heard when a biker accidently slips through our
carefully set up barricades and thus flashes through the image. And we ourselves also occaionally wandered into the frame to soon.
Luckily Rick stands imperturbably behind his camera, even when we're hours behind schedule...
The next day we all had muscle-ache in our upper legs: the dancers from being on the scooter and choreographer Soosan because she was squatting besides the ghettoblaster all day, to turn the music on and off.
Stylist Jelleke was on set all day to make sure that the clothes stayed neat after each shoot, and also to do some last-minute repairs. Because on a day like that of course your shoe breaks...
Thankfully there was also a place for us to rest. Next to the film location is the wonderful nature playing-garden
where we could use a dressing room and a toilet without charge.
We also didn't have to work on an empty stomach. Yaco, Marja's husband, had loaded his firetruck with food. Great!
for the special camera angles...
While the preparations for the anniversary party continue, we're also still touring with the performace FRAGILE. This week we were in Breda for a few days in a row in the local sports centre. Because their dressing rooms are located at the end of a long hallway and there was no other space for us to enter from, we hided under the gallery at the start of each performance. Well, we could finally put the "delayed action shutter" to good use...!
At our Anniversary Benefit Gala the dance film Hoepel op! will in premiere. It will be a special remake very first dance performance of Plankenkoorts Hoop it!. With the three of us on our scooter we danced this performance more then 150 times throughout the Netherlands. After 10 years we dusted off the scooter and pumped up the tires again. We invited choreographer Soosan Gilson and film artist Rick Robin to make a remake of Hoop it! in the form of a dance film. To complete the cirkel the film will be a loop, beginning and ending in our now well-known logo of the scooter."Plankenkoorts has grown up". With this motto stylist Jelleke Jorritsma will work this week to find and create suitable costumes for the remake. To reduce costs our own closets were also thoroughly checked out...
As you might know already Plankenkoorts will celebrate her 10th anniversary on Saturday 3 juni 2006 haar with a Benefit Gala Night in Theatre de Meervaart, Amsterdam. All proceeds of the evening will go to War Child. Last week we had the opportunity of seeing one of the projects of War Child with our own eyes. This happened because theatre company Close-Act Theatre was invited to come to Colombia to play their performance Malaya on the X Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogotá. Caroline, Marja and Katjoesja all play in this performance and Theo is the technician, so we all got to go to Bogotá in the first week of april.
With 11,000 child soldiers Colombia is one of the countries with the largest numbers of under age combatants in the
world. This was the outcome of a UN report that appeared in February. The country has been involved in a civil war for
more than 50 years. This war has driven 2,5 million people from their hearth and homes, and especially the children
suffer from the ongoing conflict. War Child wants to offer them a chance on a better future. That is why War Child has
entered into cooperation with four local Colombian organisations. These organisations focus on different groups of
children: former child soldiers, children that run a high risk of becoming involved in the war, and refugee children
that are driven from their homes because of the violence. By means of, among other methods, psychosocial programmes
based on creative activities these organisations strive to accomplish the following aims, with War Childs support:
- Reintegration of former child soldiers
- Preventive activities at schools and in suburbs so these children will not join the struggle
- Informing parents, teachers and neighbours
- More attention for the conflict and the rights of children
In a suburb of Bogotá Brechtje Kalksma, representer of War Child in Colombia gave us an impressive tour of one of the projects. Jasper van der Schaaf made this documentary of our visit:
and of course a group picture with the children...
The tour schedule says we are in "Land van Altena" on April 4. Where would that be? we wonder. We consult
the route planner that indicates that it is a part of the city Woudrichem! This happens to be the home town of
the financial man of our board. Even though we contacted him only one day ahead, he and his family (his wife
and two lovely daughters) gladly came to see the performance. They even allowed the daughters to skip school for this
occasion. After the performance we were invited to come along to their home for a drink. A very special home, because
they live on a historic ship!
Two days later Maartje, their youngest daughter (age 6), made this beautiful drawing of FRAGILE.
drawing by Maartje Verkade
We're not the only ones celebrating anniversaries this season. Plankenkoorts exists for 10 years,
but the library in Eemnes for 25 years already! For their anniversary the library treated all
elementary schools in Eemnes to our dance performance FRAGILE.
After the performance there was an article in newspaper Gooi en Eemlander.
And also one in the schoolpaper of the Hink Stap Sprong.
Every now and then we have performances in our neighbour country Belgium. That's always nice, because
Belgian children will respond differently. It's a cliché, but they are always very well-behaved.
We usually end the performance FRAGILE with a short chat with the children which we then end with a dance where the children become our mirror image. Usually no explanation is needed: we raise a hand, they do too, we raise another hand, they raise theirs, we stick out our tongues, nothing happens... Huh??? Perhaps we've not been clear, so we show it again. An awkward silence follows. We seriously wonder what we're doing wrong. We've just had a 4 week holiday, maybe we lost our touch in that time?? Finally one of the kids shouts out the answer to our questions: "You can't do that!! If you stick out your tongue the teacher will cut it off!" Well, then we understand of course that they will not blindly copy these impertinent Dutch!
Dancing together, running the company together and then also on holiday together? Some people thought we're crazy, but we (Caroline and Katjoesja) had four wonderful weeks in Brazil. We didn't take dance classes or aerial acrobatics or anything else this time. But of course we can never sit still completely. As you can see we kept in shape!
"The taste of dance" was the theme of this years National Dance Week, that took place from 7 to 16 October.
Plankenkoorts organised a special dance workshop Taste it yourself after each performance in this week.
That meant take off your shoes and get on stage to dance along with one of the dancers of Plankenkoorts...
But did they like the taste??
In the middle of the workshop in The Hague, one of the students, a little girl of about six years old, came to Caroline "Mrs..." That's all she managed to say, because then everything she ate that day, came out and splashed all over the dance floor. Enjoy your meal!
I'm sure you know it: the videoclip of our previous performance Risk!. We will now have a videoclip like that of FRAGILE.
A dazzling videoclip that will give you a three minute impression of FRAGILE. Just enough to make you want to come and
see the whole performance.
't Kielzog, Centrum voor Kunst en Cultuur in Hoogezand Sappemeer, kindly let us use their theatre for the filmshoot without extra costs, after we had performed the regular performance of FRAGILE there for the elemtary schools in Hoogezand. Jean Hellwig of Hellwig Productions Audiovisuals was willing to sponsor the clip by means of a big discount. A million thanks!
The filmshoot took place on wednesday 27 september 2005. Director and photographer Jean Hellwig, dancers Femke Luyckx and Katjoesja Siccama, technician Theo Tollenaar, volunteer Pius Mensah and all men of the theatre heard the words "And action!" until late in the evening.
The end-result is available on dvd!
No better reason for a company outing then a 10 year anniversary. Therefore technician Theo and Marja, about to say goodbye started organizing. Many people who now work for Plankenkoorts were not there in the early years. The 10-year-quiz therefore called for a lot of guessing on their part and a lot of explaining on the part of founders, Caroline, Marja and Katjoesja. But even those three had to guess when they had to re-enstage a scene from Mountains~by~the~Sea. Boardmembers, stagiairs, and dancers all danced this scene together on the grass in the teagarden in Millingen aan de Rijn. Marja was surprised with a big present for her parting: 11 books with memories for 11 years of dance together, friendship and growth. A walk, a lovely lunch and a lively dinner completed the day. Will it take another 10 years before we go on the next outing??
Wednesday 13 juli 2005 was a special day. We played our performance Risk! at the Reuring
festival in Purmerend.
Nice, outside, on a beuatiful field of grass with a view of the water. Two years we played at the same festival at the
exact same spot. This year they asked us to play again! Of course we were very flattered.
What made the day so special and also a little sad was that this would be the last performance of Marja. A festive way to say goodbye. But unfortunately Marja fell from the stairs last week and is now injured. Therefor she could not dance this last performance herself. We were happy that Marja still was there and thus could receive her well-earned applause for all her performances in the past TEN years!
On wednesday 6 juli 2005 we played in the Open Air Theatre in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam in the programme
of dance festival Julidans. Exciting,
because of course a lot of our friends and family from Amsterdam were coming to watch.
The decor of Risk! does not fit on the stage, so we therefor we played on the open space in front of the big galleries. And then cross our thumbs for no rain...
But alas right before the first performance would start the rain poured down. Luckily we were able to do a workshop with the children on the covered stage. We were hoping that it would be dry soon enough to still start the performance after that, but that was not the case...
A little bit later the skies cleared after all and at 3.00 pm we danced a perfectly sunny performance!
photographer: Jan van der Linden
On thursday 28 april 2005 we played our performace Risk! for the first time for Belgian schools. Last season we
did a tour through Belgium with In your dreams! and that was a very nice experience!
This time we were booked by Gemeenschapscentrum de Maalbeek in a small town called Etterbeek, which is actually not so much a town as a district of Brussels. Two weeks before the performance date we found out that the theatre of de Maalbeek was not high enough for our decor. At least we had enough time to arrange an alternative location, which was de sports centre around the corner. The only problem was that we had to do the set up very late in the evening on wednesday, because the volleybal club was in the sports centre until 10.00 pm. This meant that it was a very long day for us, because we also played a performance in Nijmegen that wednesday. But with the help of volunteer Michael, who whistled joyfully while running up and down the stairs with our decor parts, the set up went smooth and fast. At 11.00 pm we were ready to roll our tired bodies into our beds...
Unfortunately our hotel turned out to be on the other side of Brussels, at least a 12 kilometer drive and without a map!
Anybody who ever drove through Brussels (with or without a map), can well imagine our state of mind. Despair!! Thank god the volleybal players in the cantine were able to explain the way to the hotel to us quite clearly. The next day however was not so easy: one way streets, tunnels and lots and lots of traffic!! Instead of half an hour the drive took us 90 minutes. At 10.15 am we finally ran into the sports centre, jumped in our costumes and were just in time to let in the children at 10.30 am.! We'll say the excitement served as an alternative warm-up.
It happens quite often: after elaborate information exchange, calling and emailing back and forth, we show up at the
location, the theatre or the gym, to still encounter some unexpected problems. In Theatre Concordia in Enschede we knew
that fitting in the decor was going to be a challenge, and it fit on the millimeter... But in Theatre de Maaspoort in
Venlo Paul, one of the technicians of the theatre, really gave us a scare! He opened the door for us and led the way
to the stage; through narrow hallways, lots of doors and many stairs we arrived at a small stage. Immediately each of us
had his or her own thoughts:
- Way to low!! It won't be possible to perform here.
- Ouch, concrete floor, not exactly shock-absorbing, a nice treat for our knees and ankles...
- There's no dance vinyl yet and there's a piano still standing in the corner, this is going to be a long night...
- Where do we have to put the 260 children tomorrow? There are not nearly enough seats!
It was clear: nothing in this place was right for us. But what to do??
After it became clear to technician Paul that some minor adjustments were not going to do the trick, he contacted his colleagues who were working elsewhere in the same building... "Where had he disappeared to, they were waiting for us!! The dance vinyl was already rolled out, the lights were hung already, on the main stage, but of course!! We sighed of relief and then could laugh about "Paul's joke". In no-time the theatre was ready to play, thanks to Ton, Kees, Hay en Paul!
On 8 april 2005 we did the dance project In your dreams! on the Eerste Almeerse Montessorischool. To put a performance together in only one day, with the entire school... it feels like we sweep into the school like a thunder storm, children are dancing everywhere, making costumes and practising steps. At the end of the day the parent are invited to come and watch the end result in a dazzling performance!
Theatre Concordia in Enschede, is located in a more then 100 year old building and is therefor said to be jaar the most beautiful small stage of the Netherlands. We could only hope that our decor would fit in, because with measurement of a stage opening of 6 metres and a depth of 7.50, we were getting really close to our limits. But luckily, after some improvisation during the set up, our decor stood there like it was made for this stage!
For FRAGILE we insisted to have a white floor. Which basically means you have to bring along your own floor as you travel. A dance floor is made of thick vinyl that you roll in lanes of 1.50 width. That rolling could turn out to be a problem in the winter. After a night in the freezing cold in our van, the rolling out might not be so smooth. But once again we're lucky to have Femke, who turned out to be an expert in dance floors. By now the interns also got the hang of it, and now the floor lies straight as an arrow every time!
Okay, okay, in Canada they live in the wild. But in Emmen we also saw a real bear! On monday we had the afternoon off after a performance in Sleen, and so we took our intern Erica along, and went to the zoo in Emmen.
On 4, 5 and 6 februari 2005 Caroline and Marja performed with theatre company Close-Act Theatre at the Winter City Festival in Toronto, Canada. The performance Malaya was programmed for three nights in the freezing cold for 6.000 people each evening!
Caroline as white goddess
Meanwhile the performances of Plankenkoorts in the Netherlands continued as usual. Katjoesja and Femke danced FRAGILE in a.o. Drenthe and Schouwburg Orpheus in Apeldoorn.
What's the deal with busses in february? Last year in february our Plankenkoorts van ended up total loss after a chain
collision. Theo always drives his own van with equipment to the theatre and this year one of those winter storms
turned the highway into a skatin rank right before Theos eyes. The drive ended in the ditch...
Luckily no people were injured and even most of the equipment could be retrieved from the water. But the van, well
that was definitely a total loss.
By now Theo already bought a new van. And because Theo always has to be a little bit bigger then the rest of us, this van is also one size larger then our Plankenkoorts van!
Since january a lot more people then just the dancers are working for Plankenkoorts ... Who are all these women?? Because yes
they're all women. Theo, our technician, is still the only man. Erica, Anne, Babette and Evelien joined the Plankenkoorts
team. Taking turns they go on tour with us as stage managers.
The stage manager is responsible for the building up and breaking down of the décor, arranges lunch and organizes the
entrance of the audience. That last item can be quite difficult when playing in schools. The nervous teachers (again mostly
women) and the average 120 enthousiastic children all have to find a place for their coats and shoes and some have to go to
the bathroom one last time. Then they all have to find a good place to sit and then finally the stage manager can calm
them all down with an introduction to the performance. She welcomes them, explains the rules, and introduces the show.
Being a stage manager for Plankenkoorts is not an easy job; getting up at 05.00 am to catch the train to arrive in a tiny village in Drenthe at 08.00 am, pfieuw. But when we're all there: all the women and one guy, we always have a good time!
Babette is building up the cubes of FRAGILE