Sjoerd Vreugdenhil

Sjoerd Vreugenhil was born in Kisenge, Zaire, in 1971.  He later moved to the Netherlands where he studied classical ballet at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and at the Rotterdam Dance Academy, graduating In 1988. He began his professional dance career with Introdans in Arnhem and later joined Scapino Ballet In Rotterdam.  As a soloist he danced with Zurich Ballet, and for six years with Ballett Frankfurt.

He entered the Netherlands' choreographic scene with two short pieces he created for Ballett Frankfurt - Fat Peggy's Sober Property and The Sisters You - both shown at the Cadance Festival in 2002.

His talent for combining dance, theatre, and design was immediately recognised and Fat Peggy's Sober Property was selected for the Nederlandse Dansdagen as one of the highlights of 2002/2003. It was also chosen by the Vereninging van Vlakke VloerTtheaters to join the Danspassies tour - a program to promote talented new choreographers.

Vreugdenhil's second Korzo production Ferocious Felicity (2004) was also selected for the Nederlands Dansdagen with the festival's selection committee writing: "…With Ferocious Felicity, Vreugdenhil convincingly demonstrates that he is steadfastly developing his own signature and movement vocabulary…". The piece was also presented at the Springdance Festival in Utrecht and toured throughout Germany.

Aside from his choreographic work, Vreugdenhil completed a two year architecture course at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam which greatly influenced his concept of stage image.

In 2004 Vreugdenhil was appointed House Choreographer of Danshuis Limburg where he created Heerlijk Heerlen, and made a second version of Dismantling Sivak - a duet originally made for the Dance for Life Gala in Brussels.  2004 also saw the creation of Volle Melk Disneyfied for Dansgroep Krisztina de Chatel.

In 2005 Vreugdenhil created a new piece for the Staatsoper unter den Linden, Berlin - Seven Attempted Escapes from Silence, written by Jonathan Safran Foer, and later that year made his third Korzo production Ironing Madonna which created a huge stir in the Netherlands' dance scene.

In 2006 Scapino Ballet presented Vreugdenhil's duet Dismantling Sivak and his dance installation Purple Silence premiered with the Berliner Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Other creations that year Included 10 Gedachten van Denkprocessen for Fonty's Academy, Tilburg, and the choreography for Croesus at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden Germany. 2006 also saw Fat Peggy's Sober Property  touring Israel.

In 2007 Vreugdenhil premiered The Honest Poverty of Past and he also made the choreography for the musical HAIR  which went on to tour over 160 dates in the Netherlands and Belgium.

In 2008 a production based on Allen Ginsberg's HOWL with choreography by Vreugdenhil premiered at the Theaterschool Amsterdam. Vreugdenhil also co-direct HIRST with Mauricio de Oliveira in San Paulo, Brazil, and his work Tuin premiered at the Cadance/ Crossing Border Festival.

Dance Works Rotterdam, where Vreugdenhil has worked as both a choreographer and a teacher, has commissioned a new creation for 2008/09, and other future commissions could include co-directing Miss Julie from Strindberg at The Royal Theatre, Den Haag in 2009/2010, We should be dead premiered in 2010 at korzo5HOOG in May. The second part of We should be dead premiered in September '10 for Dansgroep Amsterdam. And at Oct 2010 his installation Darlings, We should be dead was shown at the Nederlandse Dansdagen.

Korzo is situated in the middle of the Hofkwartier; one of eight charismatic districts in the city center of The Hague. This place that oozes cultural history, with cozy nooks and crannies around every corner offers more than enough opportunities for an intimate dance project. CaDance invited five choreographers to make a performance suited to one of the hidden gems in this area. With no more than 24 other spectators, you will go visit all the performances and look the dance straight in the eye. For a moment you find yourself with the dancers in a totally different world, unseen by outsiders. Discover a new perspective on the city in this amazing guided tour.

The walking tours are accompanied by the guides of the Gilde Den Haag. The guides of the Gilde enjoy sharing their knowledge of the city with everyone who is interested. For more information go to

Proximity Cora Bos-Kroese

Everporapture Kenzo Kusuda

That short moment of recognition Jasper van Luijk

Ellipse Revanta Sarabhai

Sjoerd Vreugdenhil

At the 2008 festival edition, the CaDance Festival started a joint venture with the Crossing Border Festival. It was a long-cherished wish of both organizations that was finally being realized. Authors of words and authors of movement meet in the Terrie(S)tories project. Sjoerd Vreugdenhil created - together with the Dutch writer Robbert Welagen - the work Tuin.

Three teams consisting of choreographic talent and writing talent have been invited to go to work with the subject Dance Territories. Three teams meeting for the first time, work towards three new productions that combine dance and text.   

"Only the past gives an anwser to the questions that I pose" is the last sentence of the text of Robert Wellagen that formed the starting point of Sjoerd Vreugdenhil's translation of the manuscript into movement.

Ironing Madonna is telling us about beauty – as an ideal, as a support, as a façade, and as a means to purification. Vreugdenhil drew his inspiration for this production from the attractiveness of religion, which has been influencing people for centuries through its appearance of beauty.

The “truth” though which lies behind this appearance, only emerges at the moment the façade starts to crumble. Similar to religion, theatre creates a feigned world, captivating and seductive. However, contemporary theatre allows more and more to see through the illusion. It is this very medium of theater, conflicting and ambivalent, which Vreugdenhil chooses to explore what is left when appearance dissolves / after the soap bubble bursts.

The leitmotif of the evening is the development of the performers who rid themselves of the facades they built up throughout their lives. Chuckie Dennis for instance, who used to be a devoted make-up artist working with great fashion designers like Gianni Versace and Issey Miyake, drifting in a world in which he fit less and less, affected by an advanced skin disease. The search for honesty evolves as an account of loss. In this setting we hear the echoes of George’s and Martha’s voices, the main characters in Albee’s Who’s afraid of Viginia Wolf?, who raise an illusion in order to escape the void behind it.

Ferocious Felicity was premiered in March at Korzo theatre in The Hague, The Netherlands. In the same season, Ferocious Felicity was also presented at the Springdance festival in Utrecht and at Mousonturm, Frankfurt. The piece had been selected as one of the hightlights of season 2003-2004 by the jury of the Dutch Dance Festival.

Ferocious Felicity is a dance and theatre performance in which two main characters are struggling to deal with their desire to retreat into isolation. Vreugdenhil was inspired for this work by a BBC documentary on the Japanese phenomenon Hikikomori. In this extreme form of detachment from the world, a person, usually a young man, withdraws into his parental home, cutting all social ties and denying any communication with the outside world. This self-chosen isolation may continue for years and may finally reach a state of total neglect.

After a work relation with Ballett Frankfurt over several years, Sjoerd Vreugdenhil made his Dutch debut as a choreographer with two short pieces, Fat Peggy’s Sober Property and The Sisters You (CaDance festival ’02). Immediately, he was recognized for his talent to combine dance, theatre and design into fascinating performances. Fat Peggy’s Sober Property was invited for the tour of Danspassies (a combination program to promote talented choreographers, initiated by the Vereniging van Vlakke Vloer theaters) and was like Ferocius Felicity selected for the Dutch Dance Festival as one of the leading  performances of the season.

Meanwhile, Vreugdenhil has finished a year of at the Rietveld Art Academy and he has collaborated with the Rotterdamse Dansacademie as a teacher and choreographer. This season he has been invited to create new work for Danshuis Limburg (première: September ’04) and Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel (première 14 oktober, Haarlem, also presented at the CaDance festival, 12 and 13 November).

Who wouldn’t want to live longer? The average life expectancy in the western world has doubled in the last 150 years, but we want more. Choreographer Sjoerd Vreugdenhil created an evocative and physical theatre performance about the price we pay for the extra time we win. How do we deal with the ageing process and the physical frailty that goes with it? And what if others pay the price for our longevity?
A woman does whatever is possible to remain young and beautiful for her lover, but in doing so, steals her partner’s life time who then ages more quickly. We should be dead is a performance about stolen time in which the experience of this extra time is made intensely tangible. The bodies of dancers Eytan Sivak and Sara Wiktorowicz are wrapped in fragile ceramic costumes.

Sjoerd Vreugdenhil danced with William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt, and made remarkable choreographies for this company. Two of these were reprised by Korzo productions and were presented in the CaDance festival 2002. Sjoerd’s talent to combine dance, theatre, and design in fascinating productions was immediately noticed, and it was clear that the Netherlands had gained a fresh choreographic voice. His performances possess an unusual intensity. They are ‘breathtaking in two senses of the word: enchanting in their aesthetic sophistication, claustrophobic in their psychological impact’.
Click here to watch a clip of We schould be dead on YouTube:

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