Julidans’ artistic director Anita van Dolen: ‘Dance is a global language’

On the threshold of international dance festival julidans Talter Bazaar Anita van Dolen, the artistic director of the event for 12 years. That makes Anita ours Woman of the week and talks about her passion for dance, the power of the festival and the importance of artistic education.

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Anita van Dolen is Woman of the Week

Anita van Dolen has been associated with dance since she was ten. Where her passion started as a little girl with ballet, it grew into a broad love of contemporary dance, art and culture. Anita: ‘I’ve been active in dance my whole life. First as a dancer during my dance education, but then I found that the organization suited me much better. I decided to study art management, and that way I could combine my two passions. ‘

The power of dance

After a rich career, where she worked as a production manager for various independent producers, companies and the Springdance Festival in Utrecht, Anita started in 2002 at Melkweg Amsterdam as a theater and dance programmer. Here she dedicated herself to creating a platform for aspiring dancers and worked hard to make Melkweg a dance scene. Her years of experience from the dance and theater sector come together in the role of artistic director at Julidans, where she wants to convey the power of dance to the public. Anita: ‘It’s not just about the shape, the technique and the movements that the body can perform. Dance speaks the language of the body and tells a story by reflecting on personal themes and the world we live in. ‘

Sammi Landweer

July in 2022

For the 31st edition of Julidans, Anita sought the work of choreographers who are not afraid to experiment and are looking for their own new language. This year’s performances are about the present, expand our view of opportunities for the future and provide hope. Anita: ‘You will definitely see a lot of social themes this year. The work reflects on current environmental problems, but also deals, for example, with the transition phase after two years of the pandemic. ‘

Experiencing art and culture is a basic need

Anita: ‘You see: dance is really a reflection of society and provides a window to look at the world. Because art, wherever dance belongs, tells you something different than you are used to, it makes you think differently about things and can make you realize things that you might otherwise never have thought of . Because of the refreshing sight and new perspectives it can bring you, I am firmly convinced that dance, art and culture enrich you as a person. Experiencing art and making art – it makes you more inventive, more creative, more flexible, and it’s incredibly important. I see it as a basic need like food and drink, something the world needs. ‘

You do not have to be able to dance to enjoy it

With the festival, Anita wants people to discover how fun it is to watch dance, and hopes that people will move away from the idea that one has to understand dance to enjoy it. Anita: ‘You can let go of the idea that you have to understand dance. Dance is a global language that everyone speaks, but everyone interprets differently. The openness and free interpretation of dance is exactly where its strength lies. It is abstract so you can create your own story. Experience the performance as it comes to you, and then something happens automatically. Believe me! What touches you? What do you see? It is a pity that many people often think that you have to know something about dance to get the message out, because it can be different for everyone.

Something for everyone

Anita is convinced that everyone has a natural connection with dance and movement, each in his own way. Anita: ‘There is something to be discovered in any production of Julidans. For some it may be the beautiful movements, but for others the beautiful music can touch the sensitive nerve. The great thing about Julidans is that it combines all the different elements, from music and dance to visual art, fashion and theater to an experience that transports you to another world for a while. Every year I am still deeply moved by the many performances and I look forward to what is on the program again this year. ‘

Julidans takes place from 2 to 16 July 2022 on various stages in Amsterdam.

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