MOVEMENTS OF SOUL

YAV

In a world keen to categorise and pigeonhole artists, YAV breezes in and defies you to try. Despite the fullness of Movements of Soul, and the various roads he takes us down during the performance, you still get the sense we’ve merely scratched the surface of his talent.

Opening like a Martha Graham-inspired fashion show, we find the Congolese, Netherlands-based artist consumed by textiles, legs stretching the fabric wide. Once this is cast aside, however, the vibe shifts entirely as a myriad of dance styles come our way. Not content with owning a body that, once in motion, refuses to release your eyes, YAV is also in possession of a beautiful soul voice. 

So, take your pick from the bouquet of riches he’s offering you: fashion, song, dance, performance art. Or just enjoy them for the wonderful, unclassifiable bundle they are, because once YAV works out the theatricality of his transitions, he’ll be unstoppable.

Kelly Apter

Movements of Soul opens on a stage bathed in aquatic green, with YAV as a shifting, glittering hillside, harmonising live with himself. The scene shifts suddenly to a white spotlit moment of prayer, then to a drum-driven, rippling amber groove. The effect leans towards the spiritual, thanks to the resonant vocal work, but like much of what follows, this is very open to interpretation.

The movement language is grounded and undulating, embodying a rolling athleticism, contrasted with mic-drop stillness. Some momentum is lost by the blackouts, seemingly necessary for costume changes, but there is the promise of a shifted persona as the reward. We see an existential crooner in black, a fashion model piercing through poppy red clouds, a centred speaker “trying to be free”, framed by a Barbie-pink wash.

YAV seems to be a soul searching for purpose and connection to a higher power, but Movements of Soul remains stubbornly close to surface level. Perhaps that doesn’t matter when that surface looks this cool.

Hannah Finnimore

Movements of Soul presents an exploration of emotion and the human experience through dance, music and fashion. Created by Netherlands-based artist YAV, the show promises a journey to the depths of the soul, taking the audience to a world of colour and light.

At the start, the performer puts on a traditional dress and begins to move slowly, as if bringing his costume to life. But it doesn’t  take long before the page turns and the atmospheric light takes us to a new universe. Each time, YAV appears with a new outfit, new music and new movement qualities.

These colourful images come together like pieces of a puzzle, moving from traditional percussion instruments to fast and acrobatic electro music. 

As the performance unfolds, the audience is drawn into a shared experience of introspection and connection. A sense of collective energy permeates the space, as viewers become active participants in the unfolding narrative, their hearts and minds engaged in a dialogue with the performer.

Fatemeh Esmaeilghorbaninejad

After the Superbowl half-time show last February, and the forthcoming release of Beyonce’s new album, Aerowaves is shaping up to be part of Europe’s new music scene… unexpected!

YAV’s Movements of Soul takes us by storm with its multi-aesthetic, offbeat sound.

Through a series of tableaux worthy of a concert event, we discover a one-man band using the different facets of his personality – his history, his technique and his pop-groovy influences – to play with our all-too-serious codes.

The performer’s ability to transcend himself exudes generosity. At times he even verges on the too-much, but succeeds brilliantly in creating a desire to meet up with him again at a concert or to buy his record.

One reservation to note is the length of the transition time between routines which felt like, or rather suffered from, Madonna-time.

The result of this presentation is a testament to the fact that art,
in the end,
is a choice, it’s just a freedom of expression,
you have to live it,
love it,
breath it.

Robin Lamothe