Do you see me? Door Susan Tredenick

De Australische wijkverpleegkundige en health-care consultant Susan Tredenick is voor enige tijd met man en kinderen in Nederland komen wonen. Vanuit haar specialisatie ouderen en zorginnovatie, benaderde Susan het netwerk Health Ageing & de Kunsten omdat ze graag meer wilde weten over de praktijk van kunst & ouderen. Wat is daar voor een betere manier dan projecten uit ons noordelijk netwerk en de drie Age Friendly Cultural Cities in Groningen, Friesland en Drenthe te bezoeken? In deze blog-spot schrijft Susan over haar ervaringen.

Last Friday I attended the premier of ‘Wachten op visite’, a dance performance which is the latest project of chorographer Marlien Seinstra’s company DeDansDivisie. I have previously written about her successful production ‘Dansen met Parkinson’ which was very moving and a joy to see.

Before attending I did some research. Indications are that loneliness, specifically among vulnerable groups, is increasing. Normally attention is given to our older generation, but is is people of all

ages who can suffer from feeling lonely. Sometimes our social networks do not provide us with the needed companionship that we seek.  With a world population over 7 billion people, how is it possible that ‘loneliness’ is an ever increasing problem”? With this in mind I attended the show in DE Harmonie in Leeuwarden, intrigued to see what this performance would deliver.

Poignancy and humour combined

The stage is set with randomly placed empty chairs. Slowly, one by one the dancers enter, searching for a spot where they can sit, watch and wait patiently for that elusive visitor to come. Their temperament is shown by the way they poise themselves on the chair, facing directly forward, sitting upright or demurely sitting toward the back almost frightened for people to see them….their only protection is a pot with a geranium.

The dance continues to poignantly capture the hard cold facts of people who are lonely and try, generally unsuccessfully, to have their voices heard and their presence noticed. Combining narrative, humour and simplified dance moves (so that the performers of all ability were able to participate) the performance brilliantly captures the essence of what often is a taboo subject for many people. The practical use of dancers ranging in age from 18 to 70+ suggests that loneliness is present across the generations, while the humorous portrayal of the singles evening delightfully captures what lengths some people must endure to seek companionship. During the evening we are carried further along the journey and given awareness into this world of so many people.

The arts and health

Wachten op visitie is again a show that highlights the successful combining of the arts and health. Performers were given a common goal to strive for, whilst undoubtedly making friendships during their time together and exploring each other’s stories. It is brave people who are willing to confront their loneliness so publically and to bring this subject to the forefront of people’s minds in a more positive light. Using dance as the medium, we are shown that this is a situation that needs attention and commitment to overcome.

I enjoyed this show immensely and could relate very well as, for me personally, my ability to cope with loneliness has been tested while living far away from Sidney in my husband’s home country. I think this may be true for a number of people. Being able to visit projects that are aligned with ‘Healthy Ageing, Music and the Arts’ continues to spark my interest and education in the ability of the arts to provide sustainable practices that have many health benefits for all. It is here that I have learnt that dance can easily portray a life experience that is easily recognised.

Even if you have never experienced loneliness, there will be people very close to you, people in your community or others that pass you on the street that do. Seinstra and her performers enable ‘Wachten op Visite’ to give you some insight into this daily occurrence and to this I say Bravo!

Susan Tredenick, december 2017

Foto: Niels Westra

Na de Harmonie gaat de voorstelling op tournee langs diverse gemeenten, zorg- en oudereninstellingen. Informatie op de website DeDansDivisie

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