Sunday, February 8, 2009

Swan Lake Bijlmermeer II: Classical Ballet and Street Dance in the Netherlands

Swan Lake Bijlmermeer II is a dance encounter with the Dutch National Ballet and the Urban dance group 'Don’t Hit Mama'. It's meeting of the classic world of ballet and the dance culture in Amsterdam Bijlmermeer. The Bijlmermeer is considered to be the home of the urban Afro-Surinam community in the Netherlands.

Swan Lake Bijlmermeer II is a co-production with the Dutch National Ballet and Don’t Hit Mama in collaboration with Het 5eKwartier.

In 2006 young dancers from secondary schools in Amsterdam’s Bijlmermeer district took part in a dance encounter with Dutch National Ballet dancers. Entitled Swan Lake Bijlmermeer, the show was created by Nita Liem of Don’t Hit Mama dance-theatre at the invitation of the Dutch National Ballet. Taking themes from Swan Lake as her springboard, Liem worked with a mix of ballet and Afro-American-based dance forms, such as hip hop and street dance, to create Swan Lake Bijlmermeer. For many young and old alike, the show was often their first encounter with classical ballet and, conversely, the first time that many ballet lovers had come into contact with popular present-day dance forms. An exciting and unique encounter that resulted in sold-out performances.

In 2009 the Dutch National Ballet and Don’t Hit Mama are joining forces again to stage Swan Lake Bijlmermeer II and the show will tour the Netherlands. An ideal opportunity to experience this unique meeting of dance styles and different social worlds. In collaboration with Dutch ROCs (Regional Vocational Colleges) and VMBO schools (pre-vocational secondary), Het 5eKwartier will lead a special project centred round the performances. Specialists in community art, Het 5eKwartier will establish interrelationships in an innovative way between dance and the everyday life of students in the cities and towns to which Swan Lake Bijlmermeer II will tour.


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