Chunky Move’s Artistic Director, Anouk van Dijk is a choreographer, dancer, artistic director and the creator behind the movement system, Countertechnique.
Having graduated from the Rotterdam Dance Academy in 1985, Van Dijk spent the next ten years as a lead soloist for Rotterdam Dance Company and Amanda Miller’s Pretty Ugly Dance Company. From early in her career she was attracted to the creation of performance and from 1996 committed herself exclusively to the conception, construction and performance of her own work.
In 1998, Van Dijk formed anoukvandijk dc, her own – Amsterdam based – company dedicated to creating work that sought to provide an insight into the many facets of the human experience through the lens of contemporary dance. The company has since gone on to produce twenty full-length works that have toured the globe, attracting broad audiences and critical acclaim. In 2012 Van Dijk was awarded the Golden Swan (Gouden Zwaan) – the Netherlands’ most prestigious dance accolade – in recognition of her outstanding artistic and academic contribution to dance in her home country.
Hallmarked by their distinctive unpredictability, Van Dijk’s work has been performed at the worlds leading festivals and venues including Festival d’Avignon, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Opera House, MASS MoCA, Perth International Arts Festival, Dance Triennale Tokyo, American Dance Festival and Festival TransAmériques. Defined by a pronounced physical language, the work itself ranges from technically adept and abstract dance productions, to raw and concrete theatrical encounters, very often exploring the audience’s relationship to the dancers.
Van Dijk has created a number of works with a diverse range of individual artists and companies. Between 2004 and 2006 she produced several international reincarnations of her lauded production STAU, including – amongst others – collaborating with physical theatre company, Zuhe Niao and Shanghai Dance Academy. Continuing her association with China, Van Dijk’s company co-produced with Beijing Modern Dance Company the double bill Women of the World in 2007.
Van Dijk has shared a long collaborative association with German writer and director, Falk Richter, a relationship that has seen the creation of productions Nothing Hurts (1999), a co-production with Kampnagel Hamburg and Springdance Festival (Netherlands); TRUST (2009) and PROTECT ME (2010) in co-production with the Schaubühne Berlin; Rausch (2012), a co-production with Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus; and most recently Complexity of Belonging (2014), a co-production between Chunky Move, Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Festival, Brisbane Festival and Théâtre National de Chaillot. TRUST, PROTECT ME and Rausch have been performed extensively in Europe and internationally, with Rausch being performed at the prestigious 2013 Festival d’Avignon. Complexity of Belonging will tour to Europe in 2015.
Increasingly, Van Dijk has become interested in creating site-specific work. In doing so, she has been able to research the influence and effect environment has on individual’s behaviour and interpretation of dance; through its social, political or cultural heritage and its influence on physical and personal space. These explorations have resulted in SHOT (2006) and DESEO (2009), two works reflecting on dance in the context of Vaudeville, for the touring tent festival De Parade (NL); and the outdoor, site-specific work, Mensch (2011), the first in an ongoing series of the same name, for the Festival Oerol on the island of Terschelling (NL), which then relocated (and reincarnated) to the sheds of the former Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company in Amsterdam for the Festival Over het IJ.
Central to the foundation of Anouk van Dijk’s work and the training of her dancers has been Countertechnique, the movement system Van Dijk developed to provide dancers with applied tools for contemporary dance practice. Countertechnique is a movement system that helps dancers to think about the dancing body – focusing on the process of incorporating information into action. In 2008, Van Dijk implemented the Countertechnique Teachers Training (CTTT) program, resulting in an increasing number of dance practitioners teaching the method worldwide.
Countertechnique occupies a prominent place in the publication Dance Techniques 2010 – a book that, for the first time, critically analyses modern, post-modern and contemporary dance techniques in comparison to one another. Complimenting this publication, the official Countertechnique website was launched in April 2013. The site acts as an online hub and resource for those interested and involved in the technique.
In October 2012, Van Dijk premiered her debut work, An Act of Now, for Chunky Move, the third production in her ongoing Mensch series. The production went on to win The Age Critics’ Award for best new Australian work in the Melbourne Festival. For the Company she has since premiered 247 Days and Embodiment 1:1:1 in 2013, gentle is the power and Complexity of Belonging in 2014 and Depth of Field in 2015.