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Depuis saison 1973/74Mitglied des Ensembles
Avant saison 1977/78Mitglied des Ensembles


Tjitske Boersma

Dutch dancer Tjitske Broersma was born in 1946 in Soemobito, Indonesia. She completed her dance education in the Netherlands between 1966 and 1969, studying classical ballet, modern dance and dance pedagogy at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie (now Codarts University of the Arts). During this time she also attended workshops led by Yuriko Kikuchi, Mary Hinkson, Betty Jones, Hans van Manen, Dorle Hoffman, Martha Eddy, Ciel Wertz and Fran Parker, and worked with choreographers Lucas Hoving, Bianca van Dillen, Lynn Simonson, Kurt Jooss, Gerhard Bohner and
Gigi-Gheorghe Caciuléanu as well as with Agnes de Mille’s assistant, Vernon Lusby. After graduating, she performed with the Rotterdams Danscentrum, under the direction of Ineke Sluiter, from 1969 to 1971. This is where she was spotted by Pina Bausch, who invited her to join the Folkwang Ballet (1971–73) and took her with her to become part of Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1973.

From modern dance to dance theatre

Being one of the original members of Tanztheater Wuppertal, Tjitske Broersma contributed to the genesis of this new form – dance theatre. She performed in the premieres of Fritz, the Gluck operas Iphigenie auf Tauris and Orpheus und Eurydike, the Stravinsky triple bill, the double bill Die Sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins), Blaubart. Beim Anhören einer Tonbandaufnahme von Béla Bartóks Oper “Herzog Blaubarts Burg” (Bluebeard. While Listening to a Tape Recording of Béla Bartók’s Opera “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle”), Komm tanz mit mir and Renate wandert aus. She saw her work with Pina Bausch not as a job but as a passion, and considered her time there extraordinarily inspiring, both personally and professionally. Key elements that she brought to her later work include absolute integrity in one’s work, and attention to every detail of a choreography. Broersma left Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1978, although she retained her links as a guest performer for a further two years. In Rotterdam, she worked as a dancer and choreographer with Penta Theater, a collective that questioned current dance conventions and introduced other disciplines into its performances. With Penta Theater, she toured to France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Sweden and Singapore.

Inspirational teacher

In 1986 Broersma gave up her active dance career and became artistic director (until 1990) of Danscentrum Utrecht, which quickly became one of the most important amateur dance schools in the Netherlands. She encouraged her students to develop their own pieces and, with her own choreography, Two Lips (1991), set new standards for working with amateurs in a professional setting. From the early 1990s on, Broersma intensified her studies of choreography and dance theory, taking courses in Laban Movement Analysis at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie and studying choreology with Valerie Preston-Dunlop in London. In addition, she was a member of the funding commission for amateur productions at the National Centre for Amateur Dance (LCA), has sat on dance festival juries, written choreography analyses, collaborated with choreography colleagues, and been a guest lecturer and speaker. At the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, she supervised the internships of trainee dance teachers, and she was guest teacher with several Dutch dance companies. She has also lectured at schools of art in Amsterdam, Arnhem, Utrecht, and at the Academia Superior de Artes in Bogotá, Columbia. Her work as a teacher of dance and choreography is aimed as much at professional as at amateur dancers. Apart from creating her own choreographies, Tjitske Broersma has also worked on many theatre productions. With her varied interests and broad educational background, she has made a name for herself as an innovative and inspiring force whose main aim is to create as broad a base and as wide an audience for dance as possible. Because dance is more than a profession for Broersma – it is also a passion, part of life intensely lived.

Text: Norbert Servos
Translation: Rachel McNicholl


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