A conversation with Annemijn Rijk

Annemijn Rijk is a choreographer as well as a philosopher. The intersections between these two disciplines are typical of her work, in which she explores the boundaries of genres and where the sensory perception of the audience is central. With her latest production, Yellow Horizon, she hopes to take the audience fully into an experience: "It's about celebrating the intangible."

"They call me a borderline case here in the theater," laughs Annemijn, "Which basically means I make work at the intersection of different genres. I come from the world of dance and I work with the body, but partly because of the philosophical influence, I've also started to look at the audience's body and how to address that." As a result, her latest production, Yellow Horizon, focuses on the audience's perception. For this work, Annemijn, together with scenographer Theun Mosk, explored the principles of spatial, sensory and physical disorientation. The result is not a standard performance, but an experience, a ritual actually, that staggers your senses. In this, the set plays an important role. By playing with light and dark, breath and perspective, for an hour the theater is not the space it seems. "According to phenomology, we perceive the world through the cooperation of our senses. If you can influence or disorient those senses in a way, a different worldview is created. I find that interesting."


"The setting and theme of Yellow Horizon is inspired by freediving; descending into the depths," Annemijn says. "During the performance we also descend, and the audience also descends into their own perception. At the same time, the phenomenon of a solar eclipse has also been a great inspiration for this work. The disorientation you can experience at moments like that, I wanted to capitalize on that." So to achieve this effect, absolute darkness is used at points during the performance. "We are working with a piece of scenery through which the light falls in such a way that you don't actually know if you are really experiencing it, or if it is an imagination." In this case, Annemijn prefers to call the performers who are part of the piece "guides": "They make sure that the audience is guided through the descent. It is important that that transition is gradual." 

Learning to look

In addition to the philosophical approach in her own work, Annemijn also wants to offer her audience a contextual program about looking at art. "I believe art can contribute something to your life. At least it did for me, and I wish that for everyone. Sometimes art can be harder to access. If you don't have the handles to know how to look at it, I think that's a lost opportunity. So I also see it as part of my job to educate people on how to look at art. That's also why I always create a lecture or a context program with my work, to give people a handle with which they can access the multiple layers of a work.


Yellow Horizon will be playing in theaters all over the Netherlands in the near future, but Annemijn is connected to Tilburg: "I choose Tilburg with conviction. I feel the room to develop myself here, and here I also got a lot of opportunities from Makershuis Tilburg and now as a house maker at Theater de Nieuwe Vorst. I sometimes notice that people from outside the city don't understand why I'm in Tilburg, but it's not so busy here that I experience a lot of competition as a maker. Here I feel more outstretched hands from others to collaborate."

On Nov. 29 and 30, "Yellow Horizon" will be shown at Theater de Nieuwe Vorst. tickets are still available! For that, check out: https://denieuwevorst.nl/programma/yellow-horizon 

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