What moves two different generations?
A social experiment. Old and young.
A dialogue in word and dance.
PLATFORM 1660 DANCES ACROSS THE GENERATION GAP
PLATFORM 1660 wants to know what moves different generations. Research shows that young and elderly hardly have contact with each other. An important barrier between the generations is a widening communication gap. PLATFORM 1660 wants to bridge this gap by gathering young (16) and old (60+) on the dance floor. The idea is that body language has the ability to connect where words can create distance.
A DIALOGUE IN BODY LANGUAGE
PLATFORM 1660 wants to playfully challenge stereotypes about age by joining old and young in a dialogue of movement, word and dance. For this purpose a new methodology was developed by the artistic leaders Léon and Sarah Kate: dance dialogue. This method was developed from their research into structured dance improvisations, awareness training, group dynamics and community building. Dance dialogue is an inclusive approach open to people of all walks of life and capability. Participants start by learning to listen and speak in the language of their own bodies. Various dance conversations then give rise to unique stories. By developing their skills participants finally learn to share these narratives with a wider audience.
PLATFORM 1660 IN AMSTERDAM SOUTHEAST
PLATFORM 1660 started as a pilot in February 2010 in Amsterdam South East, running for three months and culminating in a full length performance and further performances in the neighbourhood. Amsterdam Southeast has about 86.000 inhabitants and with 130 nationalities it’s the most cultural diverse borough of Amsterdam. The Southeast is demographically also the youngest borough of Amsterdam and has a growing aging population. PLATFORM 1660 was hosted by the Bijlmer Parktheater. This colourful theatre is situated in the heart of the Southeast and has a close connection to its community.
RESULTS: COMMUNITY AND SELF CONFIDENCE
For 3 months more than 50 participants, aged between 14 and 70, met each other weekly on the dance floor. The group was not only mixed in age, but also in cultural background and dance experience. The momentum grew as participants invited neighbours, friends and family to the workshops. With growing self confidence they pushed personal boundaries and built trust with each other, dancing through the awkward, the misunderstood, the joys and taboos of age. Out of the teaser workshops, dance labs and performance intensives grew a dedicated group of old and young dancers. They starred in a well-attended performance in the Bijlmer Parktheater and in other performances in Amsterdam. These important moments were captured in a documentary.
Like Amsterdam Southeast many communities face challenges that come with diversity in all it’s forms. PLATFORM 1660 believes that this multiplicity also contains a creative potential that can enrich the whole community. A truthful and heartfelt exchange is key in unlocking this potential. With the dance dialogue method PLATFORM 1660 has successfully bridged the ‘gap’ between different groups and has shown that this gap can be a creative space, full of learning possibilities.
PLATFORM 1660 ROOTS
For PLATFORM 1660 Léon joined forces with Sarah Kate Gardiner (UK) with whom he developed and directed the project. Sarah Kate is a dancer, teacher and choreographer based in Amsterdam. PLATFORM 1660 was supported by the Oranje Fonds who selected the project as one of their example projects during their annual Community Arts Symposium. On this occasion Léon and Sarah Kate gave workshops to cultural and community leaders in the presence of the Dutch royals, Queen Maxima and King William Alexander.
'I was astonished that these young people accepted me'