Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Keynote 2: Adriaan Luteijn

The forgotten power of dance in daily life application

Adriaan Luteijn, choreographer-former ballet dancer- and artistic manager at Ballet Company Introdans ( Arnhem The Netherlands) is a pioneer in the field of inclusive dance productions.

He states: “The power of dance is too often underestimated.”  A longtime ago here in the West we have lost the know-how of how to solve problems in dance battles with rivalling tribes, or bond with each other in traditional dances we all know, at parties and funerals. Our parents mostly don’t teach us ancient dances from their culture anymore.

In modern society, dance is restricted to something you do for your health or therapy, to entertain yourself or be entertained. We lost a natural application of dance in life. Dance just for the sake of connection. For many people, dance is an art form for people who have a certain talent.  However: the strong social power that dance contains, the non-verbal form of it, makes it a perfect tool to develop connection between people.

Since 2001 ballet company Introdans produces bi-annually De Ontmoeting ( The Encounter) , a choreographic project in which Luteijn mixes special guest dancers ( for example,  with an autistic spectrum disorder, an intellectual/physical/psychiatric challenge, but also Olympic sporters or 75-plus dancers)  with the professional ballet dancers of the company.

In this fully professional productions people perform and connect in various ways. Dancers with guests, ballet companies with institutions for health care, performers with audiences. In the working process Luteijn uses the friction that arises between two or more ‘sorts’ of dancers, coming from different worlds . Luteijn: “the more the friction causes sparks, the more energy is released. Energy felt by the audience, when on stage, but also flowing between the dance partners, constantly in the highest state of alertness collaborating and dealing with the unexpected.”

A striking attribute of his working methods, is the strict separation of the artistic and the social/medical aspects in the process. There is artistry, and there is care, things Luteijn divides at the start of each collaboration, he himself being the art prof and if necessary  a professional support for the client.

In his lecture, Luteijn will explain about his working methods, show some examples of his work and let you experience the connection power of dance.

If there’s one thing that Adriaan Luteijn (’s-Heer Arendskerke,The Netherlands 1964) definitely is not, it’s a standard choreographer. He doesn’t really regard himself as a major innovator of dance language, but more as someone who creates theatre with dancers. And it certainly isn’t his great passion to make just productions for regular ballet programmes, year in year out, performed by professional dancers.

Luteijn enjoys ‘serendipities’, special opportunities that cross his path and that also inspire people with whom he creates choreographies for special occasions. These can be actors, urban dancers, older people, people with a physical or intellectual challenge, all of whom he places alongside professional dancers,  always with amazing results. As the artistic manager and choreographer of Introdans Interactie, the outreach department of balletcompany Introdans ( Arnhem, The Netherlands) Luteijn feels it’s important to build bridges. And in his view of things, dance is a superb, non-verbal way of doing that.      

In 1989 Luteijn was among the first generation of dancers at Introdans Ensemble for Youth, where he quickly became an influential figure with his striking appearance and expressive style of dance. In 1998 he ended his career as a dancer at Introdans, and from this time on he began to develop his choreographic activities for a diverse range of dancers and institutions in the Netherlands and abroad. 

An important part of Luteijn's work with other target groups is ‘The Encounter’, a choreographic project in which he has collaborated with dancers from Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, older dancers ,young people with muscle disease and people with autism. In June 2014 he created a new 'Encounter', under the title Invisibly Visible. In it, dancers from Introdans share the stage with people with an (almost) invisible limitation. Recently, in the fall of 2017, a South African version of the Encounter production Cardiac Output (with Flatfoot Dance Company and guest dancers with Down syndrome) was re-studied, and in the spring of 2018 he made the production Roze Cast with LHTBI seniors. In the summer of 2018, for the celebration of  17.5 years of Encounters he created the new work Circular . For this occasion a book, explaining his working methods and with photos of his work with guests ( De bijzondere Ontmoetingen van Introdans) was published. In many projects, says Luteijn, it’s great to see how dance can open up worlds, connect people and provide them with a different way of communication that is often unknown to them.  

Since 2005 Luteijn has been the artistic manager of Introdans Interaction.. In 2003 he received the Incentive Prize of Dansersfonds ’79 for his work, and in 2008 the Kunstfactor Dance Oeuvre Award. The Kunstfactor jury praised the (inter)national breadth of his work, its appeal to a wide audience and Luteijn’s original style. During END OF SEASON 2018, the seasonal closing of Introdans, Luteijn was therefore recognized for his special work and in the presence of Princess Margriet was appointed Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Published by  Faculty of Health 8 July 2019