Conny Janssen Danst: Zout

Zout is the Dutch word for salt. The poster for Zout featured an arresting portrait of a young woman with salt in her hair and on her skin. No salt on the stage, however, only crumpled up whitish packaging paper mounded up in parallel rows running diagonally upstage to downstage. At the back, seated on a long narrow platform, a musician accompanied the dancers. There were 7 male dancers and eventually, the woman on the poster made a brief appearance. Still no salt.

There is a backstage report on the Conny Janssen Danst YouTube channel where she talks about this piece, but it’s far beyond my current level of Dutch, so until I get to the point where I can understand what she says, I’ll have to keep guessing here.

Last summer Conny Janssen Danst did a piece called Common Ground, and I could see some similarities. Loud rhythmic breathing, the dancers moving in a tightly knit group and then splitting apart, balletic intervals. Common Ground seemed to speak about people trying to find each other, coming together out of desire, a search for someone to love, a search that could only fail. Yet, one hopes.

By the way, Common Ground was performed at the outdoor venue shown in this video. An abandoned railway station in the center of Rotterdam.

Zout is more difficult to penetrate. There were twitching, jerking sequences suggesting lack of control of the body, oddly angled and sharp sequences, the odd touch of humour, as well as wonderfully balletic and athletic moments. A woman appeared at the periphery a couple of times before she suddenly took center stage with a near-desperate expression of dance before  disappearing again. My partner-in-arts suggested the piece was about evolution, literally the fish crawling onto land, and all the way to the first woman, but I’m not convinced by that scenario

However, the music by Anne Soldaat who sat in the back playing the electric and acoustic guitar (not at the same time!) throughout the performance was outstanding. I had never heard of him (yes, a boy called Anne) but I will be keeping an eye out for him now on.

2 thoughts on “Conny Janssen Danst: Zout

  1. That WAS interesting music, L-B! I am not a huger appreciator of dance but the settings are certainly pregnant with significance…
    Thanks for introducing us to yet another unknown area of artistic enterprise.


    1. Well, I didn’t really understand what it was all about, but sometimes that’s part of the story. I really liked the music, too.


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