Photo by Karijn Kakebeeke

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I first encountered the Croatian-born choreographer Ivana Müller in 2006 in New York, during the Springdance Dialogue, an international gathering of dance artists organized as part of the Netherlands festival. A year later at the festival itself, in Utrecht, I saw her work “While We Were Holding It Together.” It made immediate sense, connecting that intense and humorous meditation with the strong, fiercely articulate and political individual I had met the year before.

Recently, Ivana and I reconnected—this time over Skype—to talk about “While We Were,” which was made in 2006, and can be seen here in its entirety.

Q: How do you feel about “While We Were Holding It Together” five years after having made it?

A: Just this weekend we have been performing the piece in Frankfurt, the original cast; there are four different casts that perform the piece. It’s a little bit like “Cats” the musical (laughs) …No I’m just joking But this brought a lot of interesting reflection about the piece in itself. The text is so specific but then so open at the same time, it can be read differently in terms of time and the place where it’s performed. For example, there was a sentence about Japan in the piece when we made in 2006, somebody says “I imagine we are Barbarella and The Bandits. We are now in Japan. Hello Tokyo!” And then there is the sound of emergency vehicle. Today it has very different repercussions.

And that’s actually the strong point in this piece. It has this direct connection to what’s happening in the world—it’s almost a matrix, a kind of machine that can produce reflection or imagination in different contexts. It works like this almost with every show: if you have 100 people in the audience they will make 100 slightly different versions in the show. They relate to it according to their own experiences.


Read complete interview

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