The 19th edition of the Dutch Dance Days, from June 1st 2016 under the leadership of Ronald Wintjens, closed on Sunday October 9th for the first time with a comprehensive dance program for young audiences.

In three days, from October 7-9, with 34 companies and choreographers the festival showed the greatest diversity of Dutch dance ever. The festival in Maastricht attracted 10,500 visitors and had 18 sold-out performances to as particularly successful.

State of  Dance
The festival presented the state of the Dutch dance, with seven medium-sized companies on Friday, the new creators and the ‘big four’ on Saturday and five groups for youth on Sunday.  Annette Embrechts (dance and theater journalist)  contributed to the State of Dance during the Friday debate Dutch Dance Dialogues for the industry. The next few years the DDD will preserve and retain the high quality Dutch dance through the festival programming and projects.

Photo by Jochem Jurgens

Surprising Opening program
The Dutch Dance Days kicked off with an opening program featuring dance fragments of Club Guy & Roni, Conny Janssen Dances, ICK, LeineRoebana, NB projects, T.r.a.s.h. and WArd/waRD, varied with the presentation of the Swans (VSCD Dance Awards) and the Dutch Dance Days Award Maastricht. The Swan for ‘most impressive dance production’ went to The lost room by Franck Chartier at the (NDT) Dutch Dance Theatre. Anna Tsygankova from the National Ballet received the Swan for most impressive dance achievement. The lifetime achievement award called the Golden Swan was also awarded, this year to star dancer Igone de Jongh of the National Ballet. The price of the Festival Award Maastricht went to choreographer and upcoming talent Katja Heitmann.

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Several premieres received remarkable reviews.

Distinguished Dreams # 3 duo Marike Jager & Shailesh Bahoran was “a golden combination ‘mentioned in the Volkskrant. About the performance of HASHTAG choreographer Loïc Perela of the Theatre Newspaper (Theaterkrant) wrote: “The bodies multiply to twirling stars in the universe. The entirety  sometimes gains cosmic allure.

On Sunday Amos Ben-Tal received the Dioraphte Dance Prize for the new piece: Howl. He worked together with pop musician Spinvis. “With the incredible skills of the performers he makes everyone become aware of their own humanity” the jury expressed.

Up Stage Right tour
From February 2017, the mini-festival Up Stage Right, a spin off of the Dutch Dance Festival was featured in several theaters  across the Netherlands. The program includes the new show HASHTAG and six dance-pop songs of Distinguished Dreams duos: Hilde Elbers and (Dichter) Poet, Jesús Vega and Chai Blaq, and Shailesh Bahoran and Marike Jager. With this, the latest developments within Dutch dance get a stage.

Stadsschouwburg Groningen / February 17, 2017 / Groningen, Theatre Odeon / February 18, 2017 / Zwolle, Rabotheater / February 22, 2017 / Hengelo, New Forest / March 4, 2017 / Tilburg, Verkadefabriek / March 30, 2017 / ‘s-Hertogenbosch, ECI Cultuurfabriek / 8 april 2017 / Roermond

Photo by Rahi Rezvani
Photo by Rahi Rezvani

Ronald Wintjens
This year, Ronald Wintjens entered in the footsteps of former director Peggy Olislaegers and made a number of changes in this edition such as: the young audiences program, debates for the industry and a clear program format for the visitor.

The upcoming edition of 2017 will be an anniversary. The Dutch Dance Days is celebrating 20 years of existence. There will be a fourth (!) festival-day and more performance art space offered to an even greater variety of dance that the Netherlands is blessed with.

The Dutch Dance Days are made possible by the City of Maastricht, Limburg Province, Performing Arts Fund, Culture Programme European Commission VSB, Fund 21, Dioraphte Foundation, BankGiro Lottery Fund, the Prince Bernhard Culture, Theater aan het Vrijthof, Elisabeth Strouven Fund, through South and BNG Culture.”


*Editor’s note: Unfortunately due to Stefani being unable to attend this festival Step x Step chose to share the translated official post-event press release.  Our sincere thanks and apologies to the wonderful organization.