‘Sweat splashes round and gushes off the naked chests of five male dancers. A scorching heat gradually becomes tangible, even penetrating the front of the stage which is hermetically closed with perspex.’ (Trouw)

For Staunch Krisztina de Châtel was influenced by a trip to Senegal and Ghana. African rhythms and the characteristic powerful dance movements formed the starting-point for the choreography. Five male dancers try to show themselves as a close-knit group but their attempts are repeatedly thwarted by radical spatial shifts.

Peter Vermeulen’s stage design consists of a square stage that is demarcated by three high walls and an equally high transparent front wall. As these walls gradually shift, they make the space smaller and deform it so that the dancers are forced to adapt their movement patterns and fight for their own space. The rhythm, power and earthy nature of African dance are clearly recognisable in Staunch. However, Krisztina de Châtel did not simply copy these dance forms; she enhanced them with the repetitive movements and quickly shifting patterns that are so characteristic of her style.

Commissioned by Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel, the American John McDowell made a rhythmic and stirring composition for African percussion, saxophone, piano, cello and marimba.

A fascinating inner battle. (de Volkskrant)

Power and sweltering intensity. (NRC Handelsblad)

A battle with space, time and power. (Trouw)

premiere 24 June 1987, Het Doelentheater, Amsterdam
choreography Krisztina de Châtel
dance Jan Harks, Peter van de Logt, Oerm Matern, Dries van der Post, Robbert Rappange
music John McDowell
conductor Rutger van Leyden
live performance Edith Habraken (marimba and percussion), Lucas Fels (cello), John McDowell (piano and African drums), Paul Mertens (tenor- and sopraan saxophone), Momodou Nying (African drums), Karamo Sabally (African drums)
stagedesign/costumes Peter Vermeulen
light Johan Vonk
photography Maarten Brinkgreve