Martin Luther King award presentation at the Heineken Music Hall - April 2009
The organisation Dutch Versity is the only Dutch foundation, which is an official partner of the King Centre in Atlanta, U.S.A. Dutch Versity endeavours to remove prejudices from all types of people and to cultivate respect for one's fellow man.
This organisation approached me to present the opening act. The idea was to use dance to convey the theme of the evening to the public. This was a tremendous challenge and definitely because I wanted to support this organisation in their final objective.
I immediately got to work to recruit dancers for this project. To do this I went to the dancing school from which I graduated four years ago. The school liked the idea a lot and decided to collaborate with me. By means of an audition, a selection was made and this group got its first opportunity to appear in a large show.
The music mix I used to make the choreography consisted of different fragments, which corresponded to the theme of the show. Each fragment had a specific message and this message was reinforced by film spots shown on a large screen in the background. Thus for each fragment the choreography needed to portray a different atmosphere. By including street dance, hip hop, break dance, and jazz in this choreography, the message was clear for each fragment.
With the group we trained two months to create this choreography as perfectly as possible for the show because as the opening act you have to rock!!!
The day of the show started at 2:30 PM with a dress rehearsal in the Heineken Music Hall; this was extremely tense because it would be the first time that we would be on the actual stage. However, the group listened fantastically to all instructions and were super motivated and concentrated, and through that the dress rehearsal progressed like a charm. After this rehearsal we still had an evaluation and afterwards the dancers had some free time to relax. At 17:00 a delicious buffet was served for all artists of the show and we ate together. After the dinner the tension started to rise tangibly and the dancers went to makeup; then the clothing was checked structurally and laid out for the show.
After all dancers were dressed completely in their outfit for the show there was still a final pep talk and then it was time to be ready for the show.
A few minutes before the performance the hall was still filling up with people, before that the dancers were trying to close themselves off and to focus on that one moment. The final word came that we were allowed on stage and then we gave our all.
It was fantastic; we captured the public's attention and everywhere there were cameras and photographers who were trying to record the most beautiful moments. The applause was overwhelming and the message was understood.
Still full of adrenaline the dancers are leaving the stage, still having absolutely no idea of what they had ultimately achieved. However, in the dressing room the emotions and happiness are shared.
This is what you are doing it for and this you'll take with you in your heart and it shall remain an experience for the rest of your life.