The Re-invention of Ellen Edinoff



A tribute to the radical, performative work of Ellen Edinoff and her partner Koert Stuyf who in the 1970’s completely blew up dance conventions in the Netherlands. That which moved Edinoff’s spectators at the time, is incorporated by Beutler into a text for dancer Hillary Blake Firestone. Simultaniously a medium and a muse, she stands there proud and naked, in heels and wrapped in a transparent robe. She speaks, describes, repeats and transforms. Increasingly wild and increasingly free. As she plays with a pink feather headdress, Blake Firestone quotes sentences from reviews and newspaper clippings about Edinoff’s work: “There is no such thing as lost time.” Through delicate veils we catch glimpses of what has been. An evocation of the past in a ‘cut-and-paste’ fashion that graduately produces fiery poetry.

Re-invention: is a kind of deconstruction of a work from the past, worked out through an anlysis of primary sources […]. This deconstruction does not aim at reproducting the work from the past in the present, but works towards the creation of a new work, and mediates in a reconsideration of historical sources through the practice of choreography. (Maaike Bleeker, (Un)Covering Artistic Thought Unfolding, 2013)

Ellen Edinoff & Koert Stuyf: an artist couple whose utterly unconventional dance pieces redrew the boundaries of dance in the 1970’s. Originally from New York, Edinoff studied under Martha Graham and accompanied Dutch ‘spacial artist’ Koert Stuyf to Amsterdam where in 1962 they founded the Stichting Eigentijdse Dans (Contamporary Dance Foundation). Their stage works were ‘Gesamtkunstwerken’ that were eagerly attended by art-minded Amsterdammers and rapturous critics. Funding problems meant they disappeared off the radar –ensuring they gained an almost mythical status. In 2012 Edinoff performed a one-off solo at the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam. She died soon afterwards.

5: ECHO: On her journey through the history of dance, Nicole Beutler has re-interpreted choreographies by Michel Fokine and Lucinda Childs in her performances Les Sylphides (2007) and 2: Dialogue with Lucinda (2010). For the piece 5: ECHO she ventured into Dutch dance history and based her choreographies on the the works of Ellen Edinoff / Koert Stuyf and on the magical circle dance "Vermiljoen" (1977) by Bianca van Dillen. The piece consists of 3 parts. During Polyphonic Songs the first part is shown. 5: ECHO was made in collaboration with ICKamsterdam and premiered in 2014.

  • © Helle Lyshøj
  • ©Helle Lyshøj
  • © Helle Lyshøj

Cast & Credits

Concept, direction, choreography, text composition: Nicole Beutler
Inspired by the work of: Ellen Edinoff & Koert Stuyf
Performance: Hillary Blake Firestone
Choreography created in collaboration with: Kelly Hirina
Music: Gary Shepherd
Costume: Jessica Helbach
Dramaturgical advice: Bojana Mladenovic, Felix Ritter
Production: Nicole Beutler Projects
Thanks to: ICKamsterdam