Jan Martens

2013 – 2014

© DansBrabant - Renate Beense

© DansBrabant – Renate Beense

Jan Martens
has made an impressive transition in the last four years, from performer to choreographer. After his study at the Fontys Dance Academy in Tilburg, he graduated in 2006 at Artesis Academy in Antwerp and performed in shows by Koen De Preter, United-C, Mor Shani and Ann Van den Broek. In 2009 Jan shifted his focus to choreography. His debut ‘I can ride a horse whilst juggling so marry me’, made by him at United-C in Eindhoven, and in which he painted a portrait of a generation of young women, dominated by social media, was an eye-catcher due to its theatrical simplicity. After this debut he composed two duets in which he explored the clichés involving man-women relationships: ‘a small guide on how to treat your lifetime companion’ and ‘sweat baby sweat’. He then continued by composing a group performance with Conny Janssen’s dancers, called ‘Pretty Perfect’, and a series of solo performances; ‘BIS’ for dancer Truus Bronkhorst, ‘La Bête’ for Joke Emmers, and a duet for a man and a boy called ‘Viktor’. Within a very short period, Jan Martens succeeded in stealing the hearts of professionals, the press and audiences alike. In 2013 he received the Noord Brabant Prins Bernard Culture Fund Dance award.

Jan strives towards perfect balance and symbiosis between story telling and conceptualism. He is not out to create a new form or ‘language’ of dancing, but instead recycles and creates established idioms, placing them in a new context and thus creating a new, layered definition. Rather than focussing on excelling in choreographic complexity and bodily virtuosity, he plays with the beauty of human imperfection. His themes are recognisable and contemporary, with a strong connection to pop culture.

In 2011 Frascati Amsterdam started producing Jan Martens’ performances. Following his United-C debut, Productiehuis Brabant presented Jan’s work at all the ‘Ruige Mest | Verse Dans’ editions. Festival CEMENT has also been involved in his work right from the very beginning. While planning the new organisational structure of DansBrabant in 2011, it was decided to help jump-start Jan Martens’ career. A carefully constructed course of action, supported by several different partners, offers Martens a new, strong perspective in the longer term and also enables him to work for a much larger audience. http://hildeelbers.worldpress.com/

From 2013 – 2014 Jan Martens is artist in residence at ICK Amsterdam and his work is supported by DansBrabant as well as Frascati Amsterdam. By 2015 Martens’ work will be financially supported for a span of two years by Tanz NRW. Go to: www.grip.house