Last November, Choreographer and programmer Jasper van Luijk was appointed as artistic coordinator of Moving Futures. We sat down with him for an interview on his vision and his wishes for the future of the festival
Before being appointed to artistic coordinator, you participated in Moving Futures as a choreographer. Did it help your career? How can young dance makers benefit in being part of the festival?
Being part of Moving Futures helped me immensely as a starting choreographer. I was part of the festival from the beginning in 2014. To be able to tour and adapt your work to all different venues you’re visiting for the first time as a choreographer was a learning challenge. Also, to be able to be part of a stable and supported organisation as a young choreographer, being able to build up new network and visibility has helped me out a lot, now that I’m working with my own foundation. Next to that, the exposure of our work to new audiences and meeting them, exchanging about the work we do, gave me a lot of insight as to the perception of my work, the way it communicated and transmitted to new audiences.
I think Moving Futures has the responsibility to represent a new generation of dance makers and connect them to the world in a way that they themselves yet cannot. Next to that, as a festival we have the responsibility to introduce a new generation of dance makers to audiences all over the country, to introduce those audiences to new ways of creating and perceiving movement.
Because of the circumstances, this year’s edition of Moving Futures is fully online. Do you see this as a mere necessity or as an opportunity for the development of the dance scene on digital platforms?
I would be lying if I’d say this has my preference. Our art form is best perceived in a shared and offline space. However, it does open opportunities to question our practice and the way it communicates. How do we bring movement to a digital space? How do we interact through screens? I asked all the choreographers how they would want to be part of an online festival. This resulted in a varied program where livestreams are just a part of all the ways we want to offer new perspectives on movement and performance to our viewers. Next to that, the digital world is not hindered by borders. It offers us the opportunity to reach audiences on an international level, which hasn’t been possible before.
In your opinion, what is the importance of dance in our contemporary society?
Dance allows us connect to the human body, to freely associate and to create a space of human awareness, or, awareness of what it means to humanly connect and communicate with our bodies. Dance has and always will be present. It’s in our DNA, in the way we read and reach each other on a physical level. In a time where we come less and less in physical contact with each other, due to technological advancements or pandemics such as the current, dance is needed more than ever to keep us aware of our bodies and their possibilities.
What are your dreams and plans for the upcoming years of Moving Futures Festival?
I would love to work on a festival that creates new spaces for more choreographers, whom haven’t had the opportunity of being part of one of the five dance houses. For that, I’ll be specifically look for people outside of the current profile, such as self-made artists from different communities. I want the festival to represent a wide variety of contemporary and new dance forms. Next to that I would like to establish a more durable connection with our growing audience. I want dancers, choreographers and audience members to find new ways of meeting and exchanging, outside of the general formats of, for example, shows and after talks. Dance offers us so many ways to connect, so I want to push the boundaries on those connections in order to find new ways to connect artist and audience on in a meaningful way.