Travel to a country at war IX

Yesterday, Wednesday, 05-04-2023, Odessa.

No air raid alarm. Rain. All day and evening. Morning interview with management. Then rehearsal. Preliminary final corrections and then passage without choir and orchestra and with one singer. The tenor is not needed now, only appears once in Carmina Burana. Soprano is with family in Germany and comes to the Netherlands for the tour. The dancers give it their all. Applying for a special permit from the Ministry in Kiev to allow male Ukrainian dancers, musicians, singers and technicians to travel abroad during the war takes 10 working days. Ukrainian women do not need ministerial permission to leave the country.

On Friday, the group leaves by train and bus. Odessa, Lviv, Poland, Germany. Late Saturday evening arrival in the Netherlands. Sunday afternoon generale in Vrijthof Maastricht. From then on a performance every day except on Saturdays. Only Maastricht, Sittard and Rotterdam currently have last tickets available. Warm farewell to the dancers we will see again in a few days. Tomorrow morning departure by car to Moldovan border and from there again to airport capital Kishinev. Then Warsaw and back in Amsterdam.

My fellow choreographers in Odessa bring me a bag with bottles of freshly squeezed Georgian pomegranate juice from the Privoz market. A colourful sales district where Black Sea region and Silk Road products can be found since ancient times. And cans of Siberian Kamchatka crab from the deep bottom of the Pacific Ocean. In the Netherlands untraceable, extremely tasty crustaceans. The labels have been torn off the cans so that the country of origin, Moscovia, is illegible.

Something about the context of this performance.

Carmina Burana, Orff's mysterious masterpiece about the capriciousness of fate. A year before the pandemic, I got caught up in this large-scale interdisciplinary project. I was commissioned to provide the old theatre of Odessa with a more modernly elaborated, interdisciplinary edition. A few days before the European lockdowns, this work had an enthusiastic premiere in Odessa.

July 2014 I experienced the premiere of a dance performance with Javanese court dancers in Jakarta. I created this anti-war piece on Stravinsky's Soldier Story together with poet-activist Goenawan Mohamad. Shortly after the festive premiere, I was shocked to see images of the downed MH17 on CNN. A week before, I had landed in Kuala Lumpur with this plane. My favorite Boeing and stopover to Jakarta. I made many flights with this aircraft. For several years I had flown it to Southeast Asia. A part of the world where I have been active as a theatre maker since the fall of the Indonesian military regime.

MH17 flew over Ukraine as standard. On July 17, 2014, it performed its very last flight. A huge shock. An international investigation team later determined that a Moscovite anti-aircraft missile had violently ended this fixed scheduled civil aviation service. 283 victims.

A few years later, in addition to Southeast Asia, I increasingly travel and work through Eastern Europe and especially Ukraine. I used to bring Southeast Asian dance performances to Dutch theaters as a choreographer, with the start of a new impresariat, large productions from Ukraine have been added since 2016. To be continued.