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02 maart 2021 | Nieuws

The Piket Art Prizes in times of corona (43): Astrid Boons

Theatre makers, actors, visual artists, and dancers are much affected by government measures to keep the corona virus under control. What is the impact of these measures on the young (former) nominees and winners of the Piket Art Prizes? Part 43: Astrid Boons, 2017 winner in the Dance category.

A very long maternity leave

Eighteen months ago Astrid gave birth to a boy. After a quiet period – it was March 2020 by then – she was all set for the premiere in Heidelberg of her new work Crash. It meant a big disappointment when a lockdown was announced on the day of the dress rehearsal: the theatre was closing down. And then nothing happened until Astrid started on Arise in December 2020. Arise had its on-line premiere on 5 February of this year as part of CaDance. “It gradually came to feel like a very long maternity leave,” Astrid says. “In June I did research at Korzo and I gave a few workshops, but that was it.” And this definitely has its impact. “Your career is put on hold, you become invisible.”

Embrace isolation

While working on Arise Astrid noticed that keeping physical distance had its influence on the creative process. Astrid and her dancers had been tested and recognised as a contact group. “But it took a while before we were no longer afraid to really hold each other. It somehow felt strange to make the physical contact click. We only touched in passing, it felt safer,” she explains. “And eventually this became part of the work. I realised I had to embrace the sense of isolation, do something with it, explore in what way it could be meaningful.” Reviews were very positive. “I am so grateful to the organisers of CaDance for the livestream. Attention was huge and that was heartwarming. It was great to be seen again and to feel you’re making progress.” With Krisztina de Châtel’s Scala, Arise is part of a programme called Feminale. “We hope to be touring with Feminale in May and June of this year and during the next season. I’ll also be making a work for Conny Janssen Danst this summer and will be taking part in Open Space, a research lab with NDT2 dancers. Next season I have a full evening’s Korzo/NDT production planned, in which I’ll also be performing myself.”

A combination

The speed with which the art world responded to developments made Astrid happy. Livestream has become an important medium. “I think something of this will remain,” she says. “Thanks to livestream you’re also able to reach people who’re not habitual theatre goers. Perhaps in the future we’ll have a combination, for instance a livestream of one evening of a current performance.” Nevertheless, according to Astrid nothing beats the experience of a live performance. “I get all nostalgic when I think about the full houses, the excitement of the audience. Live is what it’s all about.”

Text: Anna Beerens
Photo: Hessel Waalewijn