Ton Wiggers shows three memorable relics

In fifty years, as a dance company tends to collect some mementos. Ton Wiggers, co-founder and general director of Introdans, knows all about this. For our anniversary, he shows us three memorable relics.

Text Bregtje Schudel | Photo Janita Sassen

Bronze statuette of a ballerina at the barre in front of the mirror, 1970s

“I thought this statue of a ballerina at the barre in front of the mirror would be nice to start with. Hans Focking, with whom I started Introdans in 1971 – then Studio LP – and I received it as a gift from the management of the BASF, a large multinational chemical company based in Arnhem. They were our very first sponsor. They liked this so much that they had this statue made especially for us. They were, I believe, even more nervous than we were! also a bit easier than today. Today you first have to visit three secretaries before you reach the board. The then director of BASF, Mr Mylanus, was very interested in art. BASF has also been a very pleasant, loyal sponsor for many years The statue has always been in my office. After my farewell it will get a nice place in the trophy cabinet at Introdans.”

Plaster statue Roel Voorintholt, circa 1987

“This is a plaster statue of artistic director Roel Voorintholt, when he was still working as a dancer at Introdans. One of my sisters is a sculptor. She is self-taught. She wanted to make a sculpture and was looking for inspiration. I gave her a photo of Roel from Cellen, one of my own dance pieces from 1987. You can see that it is a first attempt at sculpting. The raised leg is not quite right anatomically, but besides that, the statue looks good. My sister wanted to start all over again, but I stopped her. Making mistakes is part of every development. You learn from that.
I also think it’s a nice memento of Roel, who has been associated with the company since 1982. His history at Introdans goes back almost as far as mine. It is a very fragile statue. It seems very heavy and solid, but in reality it is very brittle. I don’t think it will survive a big move. Actually, I hope Roel wants to adopt it when I stop as ageneral director.”

“This piece of wall will soon return home to the Van Lawick van Pabststraat. This way, the two former dance locations still come together.”

Piece of (dance) wall in frame, 1985

“Introdans started in my living room at Van Lawick van Pabstraat in Arnhem. It was called Studio LP, as a reference to the street. When it became too small for our growing group, the municipality allowed us to use a community center with a tiny stage on the Scheldestraat in Presikhaaf. We had to get out at five o’clock. We sometimes cheated with that. We then called the caretaker: ‘Stay home, we’ll close!’ we continued for a little longer. We stayed there from 1980 to 1985, until we moved to our current location on the Vijfzinnenstraat. When we moved, Kees Tjebbes, our technician, arrived with this: two pieces of the wall of the community center in a frame. Tjebbes started with us as a technical employee, then he worked for NDT for many years. He is now Jiří Kylián’s private lighting designer. I still see him quite regularly, because Introdans also has a good number of Kylián pieces on our repertoire. The community center itself no longer exists, it had to make way for new construction. But this piece of wall will soon be returned home to the Van Lawick van Pabststraat. This is how the two former dance locations still come together.”

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