Young Dreams Grégoire Verbeke

Young Dreams @ NEXT Festival -- Opinion


I always thought nostalgia was very personal.

It felt like something which only I could experience in one way and everybody else could experience it in their own way but we would never be able to truly communicate the way each one of us experiences it .

Through the years I learned that people around me have this collective trauma which they carry, I had it and inherited it, my friends, family, neighbours, they all had it. We all shared a collective trauma, a collective sense of guilt and a collective regret and it didn’t need explaining or mentioning, it was there and that’s all there was to it. Since that’s a thing rather specific for my country, I didn’t think much of it. It did however make me think of the things which I did have or feel which felt unique to me and I got to nostalgia. I could never fully explain to anyone how I felt about the past and eventually I just stopped trying. Tonight I realized nostalgia could be communicated, maybe not through the methodes which I use but certainly through dance and music.

On the 16th of November in the Art Centre Budascoop as part of the Next festival there was a performance of the dance and musical act ‘’Young Dreams’’ by the Egyptian dancer and choreographer Amina Abouelghar together with Swiss-Iraqi musician Laure Betris.

The play explores the feeling of nostalgia through songs and specific images. It examines the collective memory that people around them carry that have been passed on from generation to generation. They ask all of us what does nostalgia even mean, does the act of remembering have a purpose, can the act of remembering be a sign of defiance in a suppressed community and finally and maybe even most importantly, how often do our memories match with the reality which we actually lived through ?

The play manages to make you feel as if you are a part of that collective memory, as if you are a part of that community despite you having no idea what that could be like. The performers bring this sense of connection without ever speaking to us as the audience, without even looking at us. It’s as honest and as connecting as a play without words could be.

However, that’s perhaps the biggest issue it has. It leaves you longing for more, for more connection and more honesty which we all knew could be accomplished through speaking to us, through directly acknowledging our presence in their collective memory .

Whenever we saw the actresses walking away or towards each other, we all internally screamed for them to scream themselves, to scream everything in them which they need to say. And there was so much left to say, so many things left unsaid, I feel that without even experiencing them, that’s how clear the feeling of longing and something missing there was.

And that’s how it felt afterwards, it almost could have been so honest that it left you broken, it was however just honest enough to leave you wanting more, for better or worse.

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