SHORT REVIEW: Complexity of Belonging by Anouk van Dijk and Falk Richter (20/05/2015)

By Allison Van Spaendonk

Last night I went to see the EU première of the performance Complexity of Belonging by Anouk van Dijk and Falk Richter, performed by the Australian collective Chunky Move. The première took place at the festival SPRING in Utrecht and served as the opening performance of the festival. And what an opening it was: a full theatre and a standing ovation. 

After a short talk by the SPRING Director on the importante of culture in our current society there was another talk by Anouk van Dijk. Van Dijk mostly talked about her creating proces and her journey to Australia. She talked about the excitement of not knowing and how it inspires her. Van Dijk gave a short history of Australia and talked about how Richter and her came upon the idea of belonging, then the performance began.

“I like not knowing. Not knowing inspires me to dance and to perform” – Anouk van Dijk

As described on the SPRING website Complexity of Belonging is a piece that seamlessly combines dance and theatre. It is performed by nine talented dancers, whose characters all struggle with the questions “where do I belong and how do I belong?” Van Dijk, Richter and the performers approached the idea of belonging in multiple ways and by asking different questions like: “is a relationship a place of belonging?”

“Feeling estranged and out of place sharpens my eyes” – Anouk van Dijk

Not only does the performance deal with very serious issues, like marriage equality, gay rights, nationality, immigration and long distance relationships, it is also filled with humor. For example, there is a character named Lauren who is looking for the “perfect boyfriend or husband” and describes this perfect utopian guy to her therapist which turns into a monologue consisting out of 176 different personality traits. By combining these every day world issues (if you want to call it that) with these bits and pieces of humor Van Dijk and Richter have created a piece that is easy to watch but at the same time makes you question your own reality and place of belonging.

In short: a great performance with amazing talent that is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the dance and theater combination. Let yourself get overwhelmed by the amount of information, the nine different – but all relatable – storylines, the difficult and sometimes amusing questions that are asked, and the mind-blowing talent of the dancers on stage.

Complexity of Belonging plays again tonight in the Stadsschouwburg Utrecht at 8pm. Tickets are available via http://springutrecht.nl/

More info on Chunky Move: http://chunkymove.com.au/

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allisonvsp

Allison, 21, BA of Arts and MA of Media Studies (Comparative Literature and Theatre Studies) at Leiden University.

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