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Jefta van Dinther: The Quiet. 08.03.2019, HAU2, Berlin.

There’s a lot of talk about honouring the women in our lives, but Jefta van Dinther walks the talk: the starting point of The Quiet was his reflection on the individuals who have been integral in shaping and guiding his career, and the realisation that those five persons are all women based in Sweden.With that as a starting point, as he explains in the post-show talk, the piece began, with the team working through material to build up an „unsettling choreography of the ordinary“ – while the aims, and descriptions are beautiful, the piece itself is rather less unsettling and more ordinary. We have seen twitchy, delicate arm gestures, syncopated group walking, and heard mysterious voice-overs before; the lighting and set are well done, but neither truly pushes the ordinary into the extra-ordinary, or reframes it for us in a new way. Talk walk, walk talk. What I do find slightly unsettling, however, is a moment midway in the piece where the figures gather around a fire to the sound of drums and voices, and the building of a tent which, for a long time before its full expansion, looks very much like a tipi – most cultures have traditions of setting up camp near a fire, but there is a touch of First Nations to it (perhaps an interpretation wrongly skewed by my own Canadian gaze) and it’s a lack of awareness towards the multiple cultural readings of this scene that makes me feel uncomfortable.

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