Jan 032017

How can we know the dancer from the dance? video registration edited from material online. Excerpt, original duration 22 minutes. 

How can we know the dancer from the dance?

Performance, 786 hours, Utrecht Central Station, 2016

Documentation of the performance is not filmed by ourselves, but edited solely out of material found online.

How can we know the dancer from the dance? is a performance which took place at the Central railway station of Utrecht. A half year long four performers were present daily among the crowds of people thronging through the station. These performers did nothing to stand out in the crowd, in fact they behaved exactly like everyone else: taking a sip from a paper coffee cup, checking the news on their phone, or just ambling around aimlessly, waiting for a friend to show up. Only they did so all four at the same time, in perfect synchronicity.

This synchronous choreography of everyday movements is based on a large video archive of behaviour at that same station. The scènes selected from this extensive study of body language where copied until the last detail in a month long rehearsal process. This procedure gives the performance a documentary quality – all scenes are based on real life events – but also a richness of information that can only come from the density of reality. It is grounded in the idea that that which surrounds us everyday, that which we find boring and normally don’t notice, can actually learn us a lot when taken a closer look at.

The performance was consciously not publicised, it had to be individually discovered by the audience.The spectators at the station stood still and watched because they noticed something, not because a sign or booklet told them to do so.

People that walk through the group of actors without having noticed the performance – some people even stand still right in the middle of it without being aware of what’s going on – they unconsciously become an extra actor in the performance. With a minimum of means, a theatrical space is created where it is least expected. How can we know the dancer from the dance? infiltrates in the environment, subtly and subversively changing the behaviour of the passerby.


Aleksandra Lemm
Alondra Castellanos Arreola
Dwayne Toemere
Eva Kijlstra
Fabian Holle
IJbert Verweij
Jason Gwen
Judith Hazeleger
Khadija El Kharraz Alami
Klara Alexova
Luca Hillen
Matías Daporta
Merel Severs
Milan Boele van Hensbroek
Nina Fokker
Raoul Copier
Rochelle Deekman
Thijs Bloothoofd


Bibi Scholten van Aschat
Astrid Oudenhoven
Titus Nouwens

Artistic Team:

Carlijn Diesfeldt
Nicolette Gast
Maaike Lauwaert
Yoeri Meessen

‘How can we know the dancer from the dance’ is onderdeel van Public Works, een initiatief van de Stichting Kunst in het Stationsgebied i.s.m. gemeente Utrecht.
Public Works is mogelijk gemaakt door:
Gemeente Utrecht, Bouwfonds Cultuurfonds, Stichting DOEN, kfHein Fonds, Mondriaan Fonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, VSB Fonds, Fentener van Vlissingenfonds, Ondernemers Fonds Utrecht en NS, Movares, ProRail, Klepierre, Hoog Catharijne, SNS Bank, Rabobank, Jaarbeurs, NH Hotels