Act #2: into the faun

In act #2 on March 24, 2009 at 14:46


March 27-28-29 there will be presentations of Maaike van Dijk en Annika Pannitto at Dansateliers Rotterdam. I will use the opportunity to also show something again, a new step in my process of the Iron John Project. I hope to meet you there…

I want to continue with the “beggar” figure. I had a really good time playing around with it. And I feel I can take it even further. I definitely like the theatrical setting that I came up with to give the beggar form. It feels I can use this spatial frame as a foundation for representing this project. It can become a signature. Sometimes I can still decide to move away from it. But at the same time I shouldn’t be afraid to stick with a certain structure where I feel good in and that gives me space to play.

I am also very interested of adding a new element. I want to play around with the figure of the faun. Fauns in Roman culture were the wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Bacchus. You can also find them with the Greeks as satyrs, connected to the god Dionysus. It is a figure that comes back in a lot of other cultures. In Celtic culture they talk of Cernussos. We have another Greek god that’s closely related, the god Pan. But also the devil figure in Christian culture is based on the same archetype. All these figures embody the same qualities: animal instinct, masculine sexuality, connected to the nature and the woodslands. They follow their instinct and desires. They are impulsive and unpredictable. Sometimes we talk about the wild man. Figures that can let go of everything and just follow their impulses. They are emotional and passionate. They love physicality, intimate physicality and play. They live an orgiastic life, feeding themselves with moments of extatic bliss.

Why am I so interested in this figure? When I started with this project one and a half year ago, I was trying to find a way that I could create a self-portrait of myself. How do I want to portrait myself? How do I want to show myself to the audience? I discovered that I am very much intrigued in these mythological figures as the faun. I can feel that I want to be more like that myself. But at the same time I can notice a lot of resistance to surrender myself to this archetype of lust and desire. Because of that I decided it would be quite a challenge to bring this character into a solo. I want to use this creative process as an opportunity to play around with this archetype and discover how I can start to make it my own. Am I really going to be able to embody this personality with joy and ease? And how will this character follow me outside of the studio into my daily routines? Will this project bring me to a personal transformation? I think as an audience it is very special to be able to witness a cultural event where you can feel that the participant is challenged on a personal level. It is as if somebody would read out of his or her personal diary. How heart warming such an experience can be.

When you think of a faun in dance history, you automatically think of Nijinsky’s performance “L’apres midi d’un faune”. We think of the two-dimensional body language, the tights with cow patterns, the consternation of the famous ‘masturbation’ scene. Why not use this classic choreography as a starting point to give form to my personal faun. This will be the research subject for the three performances I will give coming weekend.

I want to remind you. Please look at the performances as ‘open rehearsals’. I am not presenting finished products. I want to create visibility for the Iron John Project. I want the audience to be able to follow up every stage of the project from close by.  Feedback, comments and encouragement are always welcome.


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