Jefta van Dinther

At the end of Grind (2011) Jefta van Dinther had left us with the strange feel­ing that we had been tricked. Maybe it was his way of pre­tend­ing to expose his lim­its through a chore­og­ra­phy that imag­ined how was it pos­si­ble to mate­ri­alise transcendence.

Maybe it was our imag­i­na­tion play­ing tricks and prov­ing how wrong we were on assum­ing we could pre­dict the tra­jec­tory of a move­ment. Either way, what Grind achieved to prove was how a body can be a com­bined move­ment between expec­ta­tion and reality.

Later, when he applied what we thought was the same for­mula to the dancers of Cull­berg Bal­let and signed Plateau Effect (2013), we could per­ceive that this a way of think­ing dance not as a mere dis­cus­sion on per­spec­tive. It was also a method of recon­struct­ing a state of mind – there­fore an iden­tity – through movement.

The fact that he was doing it with dancers of Cull­berg Bal­let, where the notion of col­lec­tive super­im­poses the one of indi­vid­u­al­ity, demon­strated how aware Jefta van Dinther is of the com­plex mech­a­nisms played by our will­ing­ness to read move­ment as a lin­ear accu­mu­la­tion of pres­ence, space and time.

And then came As it emp­ties out (2014), a suc­ces­sion of tableaus that move for­ward from the point he had left us with This is con­crete (2013, co-signed with Thi­ago Granato) and places the dancer out­side of the lim­its of per­cep­tion. Through a rhy­zomatic approach to the body and it’s rela­tion with what remains to be clar­i­fied about the fron­tiers between mate­r­ial and evanes­cence, As it emp­ties out offered images that haunt us beyond the tem­po­ral lim­its of the performance.

What strikes us as nov­elty in a con­text where dance tries to reor­gan­ise it’s dis­course — and per­ceive how to con­tinue to be nour­ished by the mar­gins while rein­forc­ing con­ser­v­a­tive meth­ods of pro­ce­dure -, is the way Jefta van Dinther acknowl­edges his limits.

Never do we get the feel­ing that he knows the answers of what he is propos­ing. Never are we able to antic­i­pate or con­trive his own chore­og­ra­phy, for always he man­ages to destruc­ture a sim­pler def­i­n­i­tion of movement.

Due to the skilled dia­logue between move­ment, music and light, Jefta van Dinther man­ages to draw a ecosys­tem where the body presents itself not as the con­se­quence of some­thing, but as the start­ing point of a rebuild­ing of it’s own iden­tity. In all it’s ambigu­ous desire to pro­ceed to some­thing new, here’s a chore­o­g­ra­pher that dos not fall under the trap of immediacy.

This text was orig­i­nally pub­lished at Tanz Year­book – August 2015