Last Friday, during the Nederlandse Dansdagen Gala, at Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht, soloist Giorgi Potskhishvili was presented with the ‘Zwaan’ award for ‘Most impressive dance achievement’. He received the award for his interpretation of the role of Death in Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table, which was performed by Dutch National Ballet in the programme Shadows in September 2022.
In the category ‘Most impressive dance achievement’, Potskhishvili was competing against Patricia van Deutekom, who was nominated for her role in La Despedida by LAVA Collective, and Liam McCall, nominated for his role in Dorian, a co-production by Dutch National Ballet and ISH Dance Collective. It is the second time this season that Potskhishvili has received a prominent dance award, as in September he was already presented with the Alexandra Radius Prize, which is awarded by the Friends of Dutch National Ballet.
‘Eye of the storm’
The jury described Potskhishvili’s performance as Death as follows: “As if by a magnet, the jury’s eye was drawn to Giorgi Potskhishvili’s interpretation of Death in Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table (…) In this dark and expressive anti-war ballet from 1932, Potskhishvili imbues his role with a powerful earthiness. His stamping rhythms echo throughout the space with great urgency and every thud makes you aware of the here and now. In this way, he conveys a sense of the vulnerability of life, which is certainly relevant to today as well. In the chaos of war, Potskhishvili’s Death forms the eye of the storm.”
The ‘Zwaan’ awards
The ‘Zwaan’ awards are dance prizes awarded by the Dutch Association of Theatre and Concert Hall Directors (VSCD). These ‘Oscars of Dutch Dance’ have been awarded annually since 1983 to acknowledge outstanding achievements by companies, choreographers and dancers over the past season. Since 2003, they have been linked to the Nederlandse Dansdagen. Alongside the ‘Zwaan’ awards for ‘Most impressive dance achievement’ and ‘Most impressive dance production’, ‘Jonge Zwaan’ awards have also been presented in both categories since 2022, in recognition of the quality and innovative power of youth dance. ‘Zwaan’ winners receive a bronze statue created by choreographer and visual artist Toer van Schayk.
This year, the ‘Zwaan’ for ‘Most impressive dance production’ was awarded to Avatāra van Shailesh Bahoran, created by Duda Paiva Company in collaboration with IRC. The ‘Jonge Zwaan’ for ‘Most impressive youth dance production’ went to Als het anders loopt by Elien van den Hoek, Andreas Denk and Adam Peterson (Het Houten Huis/plan d- /Club Guy & Roni), and Yeli Beurskens was awarded the ‘Jonge Zwaan’ for ‘Most impressive youth dance achievement’ for her role in Hold Your Horses by De Dansers.
Prizes from the Nederlandse Dansdagen
In addition to the ‘Zwaan’ awards, the Nederlandse Dansdagen Gala is also the occasion for the presentation of the annual Innovation Prize Nederlandse Dansdagen Maastricht, and the Dance Pin, a token of recognition for major contributions to the dance sector in the Netherlands. This year, Junadry Leocaria was the winner of the Innovation Prize. She received a sum of 25,000 Euros for the creation of a new work, which will be premiered at the Nederlandse Dansdagen 2024. The Dance Pin went to Nita Liem, for her contribution to the hiphop culture in the Netherlands.