Arno Schuitemaker


30 appearances out of darkness

Regardless of what we associate with it, darkness can be disorienting, and even threatening: the unknown, the obscure, the void. But there is not always an escape from it. What if darkness can be turned into potential through a change of perspective? “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be,” Virginia Woolf once wrote.

With 30 appearances out of darkness, Arno Schuitemaker creates an experience where a new dimension opens from the dark. Barely lit images emerge in a pitch-black space, sometimes on the threshold of perception. Assumptions we make of what we see are being challenged, while a group of performers moves across the stage. Not everyone is visible at the same time, but their presence is always felt. This world has its own kind of gravity and absorbs each and everyone, gradually transforming into a place of protection, hope, and conquest.

Arno Schuitemaker: “Maybe it is proof that I am getting older, but I feel that I am less and less resisting the vulnerability of life. When I was reading Derek Jarman’s book Chroma some of his words strongly resonated with me: ‘Is black hopeless? Doesn’t every dark thundercloud have a silver lining? In black lies the possibility of hope.’ It led me to reflect on the significance of this paradox, and how it can benefit and shape us. Maybe we can find enlightenment by disappearing in darkness, if only to be able to come out on the other side.”

"A masterly all-enveloping crescendo in dance, light and sound that fascinates right until the redeeming finale." 30 appearances out of darkness was ranked in the top 5 best performances of the season by de Volkskrant.

Find more reactions in the press, performance dates, and the credits below.

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens

Photo: Bart Grietens


Hopefulness is risky, since after all it is a form of trust,
trust in the unknown and possible.

Hope in the Dark — Rebecca Solnit


Top 5 best performances of the season - de Volkskrant
Between black velvet pillars, the contours of naked bodies emerge one by one. (...) Schuitemaker gradually creates a space for a redeeming finale in this all-absorbing game of disappearing and appearing. It is an impressive feeling to realize that afterward your head is glowing. — Annette Embrechts, de Volkskrant ★★★★

In pitch darkness, you look to emerging then fading dancers, barely lit yet fully present, sometimes only with a silver outline of their bodies (…) Must-see of the year. — Alexander Hiskemuller, Scenes

Movement, light, and sound engage in a perfect dialogue (...) The pivotal moment of the performance is when a voice breaks through the instrumental score. The intense humanness of a voice and a body is very touching. — Heleen Westerik, Cultuurpers

Both the dancers and the audience journey from stillness and darkness to light and movement, from one extreme to the other (...) It is a hallucinatory experience. — Kester Freriks, Theaterkrant

Arno Schuitemaker meticulously builds his choreography of 30 appearances out of darkness in a magnificent, disorienting light design by Jean Kalman. — Francine van der Wiel, NRC


Creation: Arno Schuitemaker
Performers: Ivan Ugrin, Ahmed El Gendy, Emilia Saavedra, Frederik Kaijser, Rex Collins, Clotilde Cappelletti, Jim Buskens, and Paolo Yao
Dramaturgy: Guy Cools
Music: Aart Strootman
Lighting design: Jean Kalman
Set design: Jean Kalman, Arno Schuitemaker

30 appearances out of darkness is a production of SHARP/ArnoSchuitemaker in coproduction with La Place de la Danse – Centre de Développement Chorégraphique National / Toulouse-Occitanie and POLE-SUD - Centre de Développement Chorégraphique National Strasbourg. Supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten, Amsterdams voor de Kunst, Fonds 21 and Zabawas. Many thanks to the Holland Festival.

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