Baby dont hurt me

This work originated in the honest attempts by each performer to express an intimate story. ‘Baby don’t hurt me’ explores how their personal experiences and perspectives become part of their performing roles. Themes of identity, sexuality, love and gender are truthfully delved into and given shape.

But how, when departing from an intimate question, can we express something that considers us all?  Can the personal become universal? 

Wearing your heart on your sleeve holds the risk of being painfully judged or misunderstood. This vulnerability is one of the things we all have in common. How much can we share? What is love?

‘With Imre and Marne, we have been able to weave our personal stories with our dancing bodies. The body holds a rich narrative, one which has its implications onto society. These implications come from political and societal structures, which are being questioned and deconstructed more than ever in our current world. As a dancing body twists and bends, the political body is also present, demanding that its origins and its facets are seen and heard. To be related to, to question one’s perspective of humanity. Working with both Imre and Marne, we have been gifted the opportunity to bring our whole selves to a process. To work towards befriending vulnerability in the hopes that our hearts can be limitless, that our stories are shared as much as they are reconciled with. That our questions can be asked through dance making.’ – Isla Clarke (cast member)


Choreography / Concept / Direction: Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal

Music: Amos Ben-Tal

Dramaturgy: Fabienne Vegt

Set Design: Tom Visser, Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal

Costume Design: Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal

Light Design: Tom Visser

Performers: Chloé Albaret, Nicole Ishimaru, Isla Clarke, Lydia Bustinduy, Boston Gallacher, Donnie Duncan, Scott Fowler. 

Duration: 38 minutes

Premiere: Nederlands Dans Theater 1, 2021

More about Nederlands Dans Theater…


“These two young creators, who have had a dance career at the dance company in The Hague themselves, asked seven dancers about their battle with gender, identity and sexuality. Together with dramaturge Fabienne Vegt, they created a very strong choreography about these topics. All this on a subtly edited soundtrack by Amos Ben-Tal. He alternates relaxed plucking on bass strings with energetic drum roll, which chases the group across a green, velvet floor.’ – de Volkskrant ★★★★★