Festival & History

The Dutch Dance Festival
The Dutch Dance Festival celebrates, stimulates and boosts current developments in Dutch dance and opens up these developments to a broad audience. Every first weekend of October, the festival presents remarkable performances from up-and-coming choreographers as well as from established dance companies in the city of Maastricht. From classical ballet to urban dance, from avant-garde to modern dance. In prestigieus venues but also on exciting new locations. Get a taste of the festival in 2016 with this aftermovie.

Yearly, the festival curators select about 10 performances that together express the developments in Dutch dance. In this selection process, the versitality of Dutch dance as well of its potential visitors is taken into account. Dance in all definitions is taking part, because we are thoroughly convinced of the power of dance to offer unforgettable experiences to a broad range of audiences. During the festival the most important dance awards in the Netherlands, the Swans, are handed out as well as other awards. 

With partners in the Netherlands and abroad, the Dutch Dance Festival challenges dance makers to create performances within an exciting context. For example with other disciplines, around urgent social questions and / or within an unusual time set or location. Many of these performances premiere at the festival but can also be seen on other stages throughout the year. Coproductions were made within the frame of Pivot Dance (2015-2017), Distinguished  Dreams (2014-heden), Performing Gender (2014) and (OLD)Fashion(ed) (2014).

Throughout the year
The Dutch Dance Festival is becoming more and more visible during the year on (inter)national conferences, on other festivals and in the houses our partners like Theater aan het Vrijthof, Jan van Eyck Academy and the Bonnefantenmuseum. One week prior to the festival you can find little 'foretastes' of the festival (for example in the big shopping mall the Bijenkorf in Maastricht) as well as in-depth programmes like Moving Meetings and Dutch Dance Dialogues. 

The festival was established in 1998 by the Theater aan het Vrijthof, the NTR (then NPS) public broadcaster and all of the Dutch dance companies and they remain important partners of the organisation to this day. Apart from offering the public a unique opportunity to see the most successful productions of the previous season, the Dutch Dance Festival also has become a place where you can see a glimpse of the future of dance. It actively stimulates this future by projects like Act Your Age, Performing Gender, (OLD)Fashion(ed)Distinguished Dreams and Pivot Dance. Bringing dance to the attention of a broad public is still the main motivation behind these activities. 

Festival heart
Theater aan het Vrijthof is the lively heart of the festival which you can visit for refreshment, stimulating productions and, of course, the famous Saturday night party where dancers, choreographers and visitors mingle with each other and dance until late into the night. The Dutch Dance Festival offers the dance fan a unique opportunity to luxuriate in Dutch dance in the beautiful city of Maastricht.

If you would like to get a taste of previous editions, please click one of the dates
20162015/ 201420132012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 20072006/ 2005

Festival curators 2017-2018

Rob van Steen – director Theaters Tilburg
Ronald Wintjens (redactievoorzitter) – director Dutch Dance Festival 
Jasper Weck - head audience development and publicity & assistent programmer Theater de Veste
Liesbeth Wildschut – lecturer Theatre and Dance Studies University of Utrecht
Swantje Schaeuble – former dancer
Brigitte De Goeij – director Theatergroep Kwatta
Violien Vocks – programmer Parkstad Limburg
Leo Spreksel – director Korzo
Iselle Claassens – dance programmer Parktheater Eindhoven & reviewer We Are Public
Judith Blankenberg – programmer Grand Theatre

EFFE Label
The Dutch Dance Festival has the EFFE Label. This label recognises festivals that have a strong relationship with the arts, society and Europe. It was initiated by the European Festivals Association, a new international festival platform that connects various European festivals with each other.