Photo of Jefta van Dinther’s The Quiet


Jefta van Dinther: The Quiet

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A mystical world of its own: Jefta van Dinther’s The Quiet. Photo © Ben Mergelsberg
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Quantum leaps in time… a mysterious world holds on to its secrets

‘We’re going to tell you some things. It will be like you’ve always known them’.

In the dim light, four women corner a fifth. Their words sound like a promise, as if all the secrets of the world will be revealed. The Swedish-German choreographer Jefta van Dinther has yet again created a world on its own.

When the light finally illuminates their faces, the suggestion that the women are of different generations is confirmed. They are dressed similarly in grades of white, skirts just below the knees, and they walk on grey carpet tiles, surrounded by a steel skeleton resembling a house. Their backs are bent and their legs crooked, like grandmothers who gained wisdom in long forgotten times. But through their slow-motion movement and their arms bouncing as if hanging from a string, they also remind me of marionettes. And dubbing the text that emerges from the speakers gives them something robotic and futuristic. The multi-layering continuously moves you back and forth between a time far, far away and the present. Sentences like ‘You worry too much. You are ambitious’ appear current, while the ritual of singing around a light from the ground feels ancient. Supported by the pulse of the soundtrack and minimal but effective lighting, quantum leaps in time seem to float around in the same space. This tangibility of non-linear time is of great beauty. Some moments fall through though: when the women take out a tent from under a hatchway, build it up and throw it around in the air, the very concrete yet lightweight material disrupts the transient state.

But these moments are easily forgotten when the dancers start walking in circles in a perpetuum mobile; or stand still and raise their hands to the moon; or take up the carpet tiles as if finally to dig up the truth from the earth. In the end, no secrets are revealed, nothing is made comprehensible. The Quiet is and will forever be a place of mysticism.

The bottom line: A serene and dark place of wonder – just sit back and let it happen
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Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany. Reviewed: 7 March 2019
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Touring internationally throughout 2019:

Choreography and direction: Jefta van Dinther / Created and performed by: Linda Adami, Alexandra Campbell, Lisa Drake, Cecilia Roos, Agnieszka Dlugoszewska, Kristine Slettevold / Lighting design: Minna Tiikkainen / Set design and costume: Cristina Nyffeler / Sound: David Kiers, Slowdive (for the track Falling Ashes) / Voice: Lisa Drake / Text: Jefta van Dinther, Alexandra Campbell, Lisa Drake, Cecilia Roos, Mandoline Whittlesey / Assistant choreographer: Thiago Granato / Artistic advice: Gabriel Smeets / Technical coordination: Bennert Vancotttem / Sound technician: Stephan Woehrmann / Thanks to: Anna Grip, Pia Krämer

The Quiet is a production by Jefta van Dinther / Co-production: HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), Norrlandsoperan Umeå, Riksteatern Sweden, Dansehallerne Copenhagen, Centre chorégraphique national de Montpellier Occitanie direction Christian Rizzo, Tanzquartier Vienna, Sadler’s Wells London, PACT Zollverein Essen, Centre chorégraphique national d’Orléans, Theater Freiburg, Festival Montpellier Danse 2019, Julidans Amsterdam

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