On March 10th, Step x Step Europe was at the premiere of Elements Of Freestyle by ISH Collective, in Theater Meervaart Amsterdam.
The cast includes:
Luis Alkmim (Freerunning )
Michael van Beek (Freestyle basketbal)
Sven Boekhorst (Skate)
Jelle Briggeman (Skate )
Jörg Brinkmann (Cello)
Denden Karadeniz (Breakdance)
Thomas Krikken (Breakdance )
Bart van der Linden (Freerunning )
Dez Maarsen (BMX Flatland)
Ben Mathot (Viool)
Arnold Put (Breakdance )
Pim Wouters (Skateboard)
The show is being described as: going back to where it all began for ISH. Urban arts in the theater. For the record, that’s three years short of two decades ago, starting in the year 2000. A collective that is responsible for many successful creations. Including recent pieces like Narnia, Creatures, Jungle Book and Ignite, just to name a few.
After viewing many different (international) theater shows over the last six years, this performance gives you that street vibe.
A vibration that’s tricky (no pun intended), to describe if you’ve never been around it. Surely, what differentiates it from other sports in general is… SWAG. A word that has been abused by the youth to no end but still has no good synonym to exemplify the unmistakable nonchalance while in this instant, performing dangerous moves.
That is the way to recognize you are dealing with urban art. Well, that and the encouragement the cast-mates show by hollering at each other on stage. Or perhaps, it’s due to the fly bomber jacks the guys are strutting after the show. Designed by none other than Arnold Put, one of the bboys, who set up his own fashion line called Maison de Tout. He tells SXSTV: “It is so nice to be in Elements of Freestyle. I’ve been dancing in a lot shows by ISH but in this one I can just be myself. It’s freedom, I’m a bboy expressing myself on stage the way I would normally do.”
It will never get old to take a seat in a theater and support the authentic chemistry from the streets on a stage, the way ISH portrays and lives it. All the way.
There is a freedom in street styles. It always breathes with the potential to shape the identity of a young individual by adding to their body, mind and spirit. Mix that with the live cello and violin (or is it?) and the music tips it’s hat to the elements by permeating the piece with different earthy, and towards the end straight up rock sounds. The music hands the elements an interesting foundation to seal the literal connection the elements have with the floor.
Somewhere in there you will also come across a beat by Rick Ronner, so ‘nasty’, that you tend to forget the etiquette of the theater and have to be careful not to let an inappropriate growl slip out.
Amicable character, Luis from Brazil who has been a Freerunner since 2007, let’s us in on the process. “The directors just told us where to move to. You have to be here, here and here. How will you accomplish that?” Signifying the freedom the cast had in co-creating the show. “There is no ego amongst us, we are a really strong team.”
Were there some flaws during the show? Perhaps some minor ones that were nearly unnoticeable. Not everything goes flawless on the street so why would it be any different on stage since part of the charm of this collective is the raw mix and unpredictability of their risky tricks, that make your heart skip a beat, guaranteed.
Naturally, SXSTV is most familiar with break. However, is no stranger to the other elements. It didn’t take very long to catch on to the fact that it all seems to require the same level of skill in both momentum & energy.
Something that Mrs. Briggeman, mother to Dutch 22 year old skater Jelle, can surely appreciate like no other. She was so proud of her boy that the twinkle in her eyes was clearly visible in the dimmed light of the foyer.
You will love the simplistic sophistication of this production. A little smoke, clean and crisp lighting complimenting a quality performer is the ultimate formula for theater to create the best escapism.
Charismatic artists never hurt, of course. World Champ Freerunning Bart van der Linden, contributes a strong presence that would not go amiss in a J. R. R. Tolkien narrative. It also won’t take you very long to understand how he won that world title.
There is a moment that is bound to make you laugh if you have any familiarity with the scene. A very pure and innocent re-enactment that turns explosive and scary in just a few seconds. Quite often that’s exactly where new moves come from. Fooling around or messing up, thus creating something new. When telling director Marco Gerris that might be the favorite moment in the performance, he laughs and states: “Yes, that was great indeed. This whole project was a party for us. We work hard but it really was so much fun! I asked all of them personally to join ISH, I reckon the entire cast is top notch caliber and can show wise compete internationally, easily.”
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Our appreciation goes out to Miss de Brock, Marco Gerris and the entire cast of artists.