Sarabande

The first time we come across the word “Sarabanda” is in 1539 
in a poem by Fernando Guzmán Mexía. It was then described 
as a frivolous and indecent dance often performed by men in 
woman’s clothes. In fact this dance was forbidden in Spain under 
the rule of the almighty king Philip II. But now days we know 
this dance and its music from many noble and very respectable 
compositions of the barock period. Amongst them are the 
magnificent examples of J.S.Bach, which certainly have nothing 
to do with their vulgar origin. I was, and I am still a great admirer 
of Bach’s music since my early teens and in fact I played some 
of his piano pieces. But my admiration for Bach was such, that I 
didn’t dare to use his music for any of my choreographies for 
very many years...

In fact it took me some 30 years to finally do so. On the 13th 
of September 1990 it was so far...”Sarabande!” But even then 
I didn’t dare to use Bach’s music in its original sound - 
I felt the urge to “destroy” it in order to make it more 
accessible and closer to our human imperfection... One of the 
starting points for my choreography actually stems from the 
"Genesis" the “Book of Job”: “Man born of a woman is of few 
days, and full of trouble. He comes like a flower, and is cut 
down.He disappears like a shadow, and does not last.”

Well yes, in this choreography I have looked at this statement 
with the eyes of a male chauvinist: Men who are aggressive, 
vulnerable sensitive, respectful... I explored their sexuality, 
sense of importance, uselessness and outright idiocy...

	
	
Another source of inspiration came from the Japanese ritual 
called “Chado” - or the “Tea ceremony.” One side of this 
ceremony represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences of 
human lives, characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, 
and profundity. The other side represents the outer, or 
material side of life. Originally described as worn, weathered, 
or decayed. But the third element - the understanding of 
“emptiness” was considered to be the most important. 

It carries the key to our spiritual awakening. I am quite 
sure that much of what I am saying about the origin of my 
choreography will not be visible or understandable to many 
spectators, but this is in fact a very common phenomenon.
Not always are the intentions of the creator visible or audible 
to the audience, but this should never be seen as a barrier. 
We should try to receive any work of art in a very simple 
way and never allow it to intimidate us. We should confront 
the work of art as well as we should allow the work of art 
to confront us!

But I think that this "confrontation" should become a 
challenge for all of us to try and find even the smallest 
points with which we can identify. We all should try to 
climb over barriers in order to find what lies behind.
It is this positive curiosity which makes us all move 
forward and find unexpected possibilities…

My belief is that this barrier should be the hurdle to be 
taken by the spectators, just as I always try to reach
over to all the people who made the effort to come and 
see my work and pay for the ticket. Maybe we all can 
discover a little corner within our souls which was hidden 
from our consciousness until now....

J.K. - The Hague October 2012