“Föld (Hungarian for ‘earth’) is a classic in the rich body of work of Dutch-Hungarian choreographer Krisztina de Châtel. Created in 1985 for the Holland Festival, with subsequent repeat performances in theatres, in a greenhouse for roses […] and in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark.” (Annette Embrechts, de Volkskrant)
Indomitable forest fires, rising sea levels and extreme drought: the effects of man’s destruction of nature, the planet, as symbolised by the round earthen wall in Föld, have taken on worrying proportions. We see the consequences and make them tangible in this choreography. Not virtually, not with the glass of a screen in between, but viscerally, with bare hands, mud and sweat. Föld is an ode to physical power, to the overcoming of obstacles. But also a confrontation with exhaustion, an endless battle.
Föld, Hungarian for earth, was made in 1985 for the Holland Festival. The press at the time declared it the ‘highlight’ of the festival, and the Föld has by now become one of the reference points of Dutch modern dance. The choreography also drew praise abroad, with performances in Canada, Croatia, Hungary and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Every repeat performance creates new challenges for choreographer Krisztina de Châtel. She says it is not only a wonderful notion:
“… it is also nice to get a chance to work on repeat performances and to breathe new life, fresh air and breath into old work, to discover a whole new world in the patterns and movements that were conceived so many years ago.” (Krisztina de Châtel in Dans! Denk!)
With this repeat performance, the choreographer is again challenged to explore Föld in today’s context. As visual artist Conrad van de Ven, who developed the idea of the earthen wall, says:
“The basic assumption in the 1980s was the struggle, the energy and the perseverance, where the earthen wall was the object that had to be destroyed. (…) Now, in this new time, nature itself is the main theme as it is subjected to devastating changes.”
“But above all, the piece exudes an enormous physical vitality. The dancers literally transcend human limitations. One leaves the theatre feeling confused and bruised in every sense. But that is the purpose of theatre.” (Politiken, Danmark)
choreography Krisztina de Châtel
concept stagedesign Conrad van de Ven
music Philip Glass: Another look of harmony – Part 4
dance Björn Bakker, Alkis Barbas, Gijs Hanegraaf, Ivan Montis, Luigi Imperato
light Bernie van Velzen
photography Sigel Eschkol
premiere 24 June 1985, Amstelkerk, Amsterdam