Working with composers, choreographers follow new directions

In August 2022, Jan Linkens and composer Martijn Padding are organising the first International Dance Intensive & ChoreoComp at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Linkens is the director of the Royal Conservatoire’s Dance department and, as a choreographer and artistic director with various professional companies, has worked intensively with musicians.

"There is a risk of collaboration between choreographers and composers becoming something of a missing link in the dance world," Linkens argues. "The possibilities opened up by technology allow today’s choreographers to compose their own music or soundscape for a production. I feel that too often they opt for existing work, sometimes inserting extra parts or cuttng parts out."

Genuine dialogue - "A dialogue with an artist from another discipline provides additional inspiration and generates extra energy. That’s the aspect that really appeals to me.Unfortnately, that interaction is often missing today."

Linkens has therefore decided to join forces with Martijn Padding, the head of the Royal Conservatoire’s Composition department, in organising the first international Dance Intensive and ChoreoComp. For the event, the composers, all Bachelor’s and Master’s students from the Royal Conservatoire itself, will be working with choreographers from outside the school.

"The important thing is that the choreographers will be working wth dancers who have been trained in both classical and contemporary techniques. They have to be able to work intensively together with dancers they haven’t met before, know how to

direct improvisations well, be capable of making snap decisions and have a genuine desire to experiment."

More than fairy-tale ballets - "The world has too few choreographers of this ilk today. If we want classical dance to continue evolving and not continue to be identified merely with nineteenth-century fairy-tale ballets, we have to give more new dance creators the chance to develop in this genre."

"The fact is that there are simply not enough opportunities for new choreographers: they have to be invited by a company, but the companies are only interested in people who have already made something of a name for themselves. We want to provide a platform for these newcomers, where they can create work on the basis of a brand-new music composition."

Off the beaten track - Linkens anticipates some exciting results from the pairings of choreographers and composers. "This project will not be following the traditional route. The idea is to get the artists’ creative juices flowing by confronting them with something new. It’s all about the process itself, not about producing a completed work by the end of the day."

"Curiosity is an important hallmark of a dance artist and one that can be seen in all of the world’s leading choreographers. By constantly questioning their working methods they repeatedly arrive at unique creations."

"What I’m hoping to achieve with this programme is to strike a spark that inspires more choreographers to create works for classical-contemporary dancers with newly composed music, performed live."

Deadline for registration is 15 May 2022. For more information and to enrol for Summer Dance Intensive & ChoreoComp, click here

Jan Linkens
Jan Linkens

JAN LINKENS studied with the Dance department of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where he was taught by Job Sanders, among others. He then travelled to New York to continue his training at the School of American Ballet. He spent almost two decades as a dancer and choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam. As well as being a guest choreographer and teacher with various companies and academies around the world, he has been artistic director of the ballet company of the Komische Oper in Berlin and of the Internationaal Danstheater in Amsterdam.