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Dutch Annual Dance Awards 'The Swans' Another Casualty of Global Pandemic

by Helma Klooss
October 28, 2020
Helma Klooss is a Netherlands-based dance writer and festival organizer. More about her dance festivals can be found at www.danskaravaan.nl, www.danskaravaan-educatief.nl and www.stranddans.nl
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Swans awards (The ‘Oscars’ of the Dutch dance world) were cancelled.

Presented by the VSCD, the Association of Theatres and Concert Halls annually, the decision was made to cancel the awards this year because of the season being cut short.

While there were no awards ceremony, there were nominees. They were announced enthusiastically online by the winner of last year’s "most impressive dance performance," the hip-hop dancer Redouan Ait Chitt. The nominations came from all the dance performances, workshops, dance films and dance talks that were presented in 2020 online from Maastricht.

Nominated for "most impressive dance achievement" this year were dancers Chloé Albaret of NDT1 in her performance of Aperture by Edward Clug;
Maria Ribas of ICK Dans Amsterdam for her role in Sweet like a chocolate and Christian Yav and Sedrig Vervoert for their work in They/Them.

Nominated for the Swan for the "most impressive dance production" were 8:Metamorphosis by Nicole Beutler/ NBProjects; Or Die Trying by Alida Dors/Stichting Backbone and
Memory Loss by Ann Van den Broek/ Stichting Ward/waRD.

The only two prizes this year came from the organization of the Netherlands Dance Days. The prize of 10.000 euro for young people went to Anne-Beth Schuurmans to create a new piece for 2021 and The incentive prize went to Roshanak Morrowatian for the poetic honesty in her work according to the jury.

Most of the choreographers created special works for the digital format which was shown on live streams. David Middendorp, a finalist on America's Got Talent, made the most extreme piece. His work Hands-On featured virtual reality in which the viewer could move between the work's dancers in a primordial landscape of giant hands. Hands as trees, as birds and dancers flying through space in a futuristic world. Seen on the computer at home one gets a bit lost in the 360 degree rotations. Hopefully we return soon to the theater and have the right VR glasses to watch his choreography. In the meantime Middendorp’s creation Flyland (see review April 2018) has been seen by 55 million viewers!

Another finalist of America's Got Talent, Jennefer Romen, made a solo for the TV presentation during these days, which stood out for its great originality. She fused breakdance and modern dance for the short work set to rhythmic music, street sounds and voiceovers which coincided a few times with her voice.

Romen is specialized in isolations. She performed with phenomenal precision, timing and control of her body. The repetition of her hand and arm movements told a magical story as if a puppeteer powered them.

Hailing from Maastricht, four years ago she founded the Oxygen Academy of Dance. With her group she dances mostly synchronously elegant and light works infused with visual effects. Romen was three times European and three times World Champion winning gold at the World Dance Sport Games in Taiwan.
Roshanak Morrowatian. Photo by<br>Afagh Morrowatian

Roshanak Morrowatian. Photo by
Afagh Morrowatian


Anne-Beth Schuurmans. Photo by<br>© Saris & den Engelsman

Anne-Beth Schuurmans. Photo by
© Saris & den Engelsman

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