In art history the Latin term ‘vanitas’ describes symbolic representations of death and forms a reminder of life’s transience. In this choreography that is set to Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations, Krisztina de Châtel gives a new meaning to the term.

Visual artist Conrad van de Ven designed the striking set in which fake cattle corpses – dismal symbols of death and decay – form eye-catching décor pieces. Otherwise the stage is empty, a large, bare space in which Michiel van Blokland’s lighting design dominates. It is in these desolate surroundings that five female dancers try to survive; their apathy, desperation and anger become visible and tangible in a choreography that is alternately strict and free.

Many of the minimal dance variations in Vanitas are of a breathtaking power, simplicity and beauty, also thanks to the excellent performance by the five female dancers. In combination with the décor this generates beautiful images. (Algemeen Dagblad)

Vanitas is a very personal and moving piece – at times profoundly sad, but often filled with a sparkling energy. (De Groene Amsterdammer)

The road from Lines to Vanitas is impressive and runs from a relentless appeal to a call for reconciliation. (Trouw)

premiere 23 April 1996, Stadsschouwburg, Utrecht
choreography Krisztina de Châtel
dance Anne Affourtit, Andrea Beuger, Ann Van den Broek, Heike Kreutzer, Natascha Siegertsz
music Johann Sebastian Bach – Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)
stagedesign Conrad van de Ven
light Michiel van Blokland
costumes Andrea Blotkamp
photography Ben van Duin