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Choreographic work                                                                                                                                 Merel Roozen explores making dances and choreographies as it being a paradoxical, tricky, troublesome, controversial, but promising form of expression. By emphasizing the materiality of all the elements that are part of a choreography, by working with dance in a somewhat applied way, by exploring the contemporary potential of the body in movement for reflection, storytelling and expression, and by embracing the interest in the form of dance of today as hybrid and explorative and as a form in constant juxtaposition, the works endeavour the processing of personal and social issues, linger over questions the making process raises and enjoy the marvellous, unique quality that dance has to offer.                                                                                                                                      

“I try to insist not being original. All the ideas and materials with which I work are not mine; they are shared and common one could say.”                                                                                                        

Her approach to dance, choreography and theatre has always been somewhat experimental. This is not so much for the sake of experimentation itself, but for her interest in exploring a meaningful dramaturgy and in exploring expression — whatever dance dances the dance.                                        The choreographies that she has developed until now are made with minimal material means; this somewhat trivial fact has greatly impacted her approach to dancing, to making artistic work, and has influenced the aesthetic.                                                                                                               

Below are details and descriptions of a collection of choreographies developed in the frame of Merel Roozen’s Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, or developed independently, as well as of related research projects.                                                                                                                                          

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Der Raum singt: TANZ (2021)

(The space sings: DANCE)

With the kind support of the Hessische Kulturstiftung 

Rehearsed @ Z (Zentrum für Proben und Forschung Frankfurt)



Gefördert im Rahmen des „Kulturpaket II: Perspektiven öffnen, Vielfalt sichern“

Fragments (of rehearsals) 

Der Raum singt — Scanning Dance (2021)

Research project

Scanning Dance is a movement research in which the body and movement are explored using three practical approaches or themes: Scanning the Body, Scanning Movements and Scanning Memory. The first is the literal approach of Scanning the Body; that is, learning about and exploring its anatomy, and also paying attention to the sensations we feel and the things we sense and the perceptions we have of our own body. It may be a mixture of studying/examining the body and noticing how we perceive and feel the body. The second approach is to scan motion, Scanning Movements, which is closely associated with drawing in space. This approach aims to explore the body by focusing on directions and figures in space. The third approach is aimed at evoking memories of what the body has already learned and done, and possibly following ideas and the body. The aim is not to shy away from any technique or form that one has learned, but neither to feel restricted by it. It can be understood as scanning ones memory, Scanning Memory. Simple guidelines support the approaches or themes and encourages to dance and develop movements and sequences in order to explore possibilities for movements. This research reinforces the interest in subjective movement development. This means that the interest and the skills and possibilities of the dancer should be pursued. Also, this research underlines the interest in the form of dance of today as hybrid and explorative. The focus of this approach is on research; from which a choreography could be build. 

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media


Rehearsed @ Z (Zentrum für Proben und Forschung Frankfurt)


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Drawings/interpretations/impressions while watching dance sequences

Der Tag ist schön – The day is beautiful (2019)

Der Tag ist schön – The day is beautiful is a choreography that draws inspiration from music and visual art. It explores the contemporary potential of the body in movement for reflection, storytelling and expression. It is a reflection on the living in a metropolis.

- It is in fact a play with materials -

The work supports and stimulates a free and personal interpretation. However the work follows motives such as: history, identity, professional life, protection, artists, foreigner, foreign, power structures, loss, peace.

In the beginning of the performance three piles of papers are presented to the audience. On the first three papers three names are written: Rozalie, Raisa, Rose. These names are chosen to introduce Rose as being understood as a person. On the second pile of papers a part of the poem Sacred Emily by Getrude Stein is written: Rose; which is extended: is a rose; which is then repeated: is a rose, is a rose, is a rose, etc. After about ten papers the words change into: Theatre, is theatre, is theatre, is theatre, etc; which is chosen to on the one hand relate the name Rose to the person on stage, and to on the other hand suggest that the work that one is about to see is theatre; which is a reality on its own. Also, later in the performance, one could start to wonder if many situations we are involved in, living in a metropolis, is a theatre. The third pile of papers presents the title of the work, multiple dates (1942, 1946, 1952, 1810, 1985, 2011, 2017, 1967, 1992, 1994, 1837), and names of several countries and cities (Moskva, New York, Den Haag, Frankfurt, Leipzig, U.S.A., Nederland, Deutschland, Deutschland, Nederland, Deutschland). The dates are birth dates of the musicians/composers and the two performers, and the year the music was made or recorded. The cities and countries are where the music was made or recorded, and where the musicians/ composers and the two performers are born.

Direction/Choreography: Merel Roozen

Light: Niels Wehr, Merel Roozen

Stage design, costume: Merel Roozen

Dance: Tara Misimi, Merel Roozen

Music: Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Gilius van Bergeijk – Een Lied Van Schijn En Weezen, Heiner Goebbels – Suite for Sampler and Orchestra (from Surrogate Cities) : Chaconne / Kantorloops, Menuet / L'Ingenieur, Gavotte / N-touch remix, and Air /, Robert Schumann –Fantasiestücke, Op. 12: Des Abends

Funded by Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main

With the kind support of Hessische Theaterakademie, Frankfurt LAB, Z - ID_Frankfurt, Gallus Theater



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Der Raum singt (2017)

“Passionate tempers have greatly this advantage of the unpassionate variety”; Gertrude Stein, “The Making of Americans, Being a History of a Family’s Progress”


Choreography and dance: Merel Roozen

Music: Walter Fähndrich – Viola IV

Light: Merel Roozen


This short choreographic work of about 15 minutes was developed in the scenic 

project The Making of the Making of Americans (ATW, JLU Gießen), where the work of Gertrude Stein, in particular her book The Making of Americans, Being a History of a Families Progress, and her approach to writing and view on theatre was studied.

Merel was interested exploring possibilities for narration in choreography. She was interested in using texts visually, and in relating text to space and to the body. And she was interested in exploring duration. 

The music she used is a composition from Walter Fähndrich: Viola IV. The title of this work, Der Raum singt, is a quote of Walter Fähndrich. 

In the first part the dancer enters the stage from sitting in the audience. As she arrives on stage she turns to the audience and begins presenting, with closed eyes, pieces of paper which she, one after another, lets fall out of her hands in a stable rhythm. The papers make sounds as they fall and hit the floor. The first pile of papers are transparent papers and rather thick, which reflect the lights regularly while she moves these papers. On each paper something is written which is repeated after the second paper: The first paper: Rose, second: is a rose, third: is a rose, fourth: is a rose; etc. (This text is a part of several works written by Gertrude Stein. The first ‘Rose’ here is a part of the poem Sacred Emily, where ‘Rose’ refers to a person). Then after about ten papers the words change, but the same procedure is followed: Theatre, is theatre, is theatre, is theatre, etc. The last transparent papers are without words written on them. The second pile of papers are grey and left blanc. The first ten papers are darker grey than the last ten. 

In the second part of the choreography the dancer begins turning in space, initiated by her hands that she has on her hips/pelvis. She follows a four-count/step rhythm, and makes a kind of sketchy floor pattern over the course of ten minutes. The directions she turns to and the floor pattern she makes aren’t completely set beforehand, therefor she has to constantly ‘choose’ her directions while performing. As well she is guided to somehow ‘solve’ what happens or seems unexpected or to go ‘wrong’, while consistently continue the four step turn. In this part the music comes in, and her relation to the music, the rhythm or cadence of the music and her rhythm, and the way they interact for the viewer become important. 

The lights are developed in relation to the shape of the papers, the walls and the floor. 

Shattered Days/ The Big Sleep (2016)


Frankfurt Lab, Frankfurt am Main 

Direction/Choreography: Merel Roozen

Music: Gilius van Bergeijk – Een Lied van Schijn en Wezen, Gustav Mahler – Kindertotenlieder - 4th Movement, Robert Schumann – Des Abends, In der Nacht

Piano: Jacob Bussmann

Dance: Merel Roozen

Light: Gregor Glogowski

Funded by Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Supported by Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Hessische Theaterakademie, Zzentrum, and Frankfurt Lab


This 40 minute choreography was developed from three interviews Merel held on movement in everyday life. The work was structured into three parts (inspired by a triptych), and each part was developed from one interview. Merel explored how she could approach the interviews as a material. She wrote down the interviews, and tried to look for structures in the texts, and sentences and remarks that seemed characteristic or particular. From there, based on the interviews, she explored how with music, lighting, and movement material, where she worked rather literal with, she could evoke a story like dramaturgy. Nevertheless the performance remained rather minimal, as she as well explored to minimize the input given to the audience, while still producing material where the audience can respond to and become involved with. 

As well a way to understand how this choreography functioned,  was performed, and was made is to understand that all the materials (the dance/movement material, the light, and the music) were cut into and/or treated as pieces, and then put together. Also, in several ways, Merel tried to reveal or make transparent that it is in fact a play with materials.

Der Tag ist schön (2016)


Choreography and dance: Merel Roozen

Music: Gilius van Bergeijk – Een lied van schijn en wezen, and Gustav Mahler – Kindertotenlieder, 4th Movement

Light: Merel Roozen


This short choreography of about 15 minutes Merel made during the scenic project Maßtab und Vorstellung (Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, JLU Gießen), where the use of the themes scale and imagination, mostly in theatre and visual art, were studied.

The movement material Merel developed in this project came from another longer choreography she was working on at that time, called Shattered Days/The Big Sleep (funded by Kulturamt Frankfurt am Main in 2016). This movement material is depicted from an interview she held on movements in everyday life. The base of the phrase was developed from a sentence that was said in one of the interviews: “a very slow transition from sleep to being a public person”.

The dancer walks, from being aside the audience on the right, on stage and begins, as she arrives on the left front stage, to repetitively turn toward and away from the audience, with some variations in the rhythm and amount of steps she makes. After a while she lies down, to get up again and walk to the back of the stage where she takes off her t-shirt and puts on another t-shirt. Then she turns to the audience again and walks upstage to start again turning toward and away from the audience. This phrase is repeated three times. In the section where she lies down, and where she takes off her t-shirt she holds still several times, making the scene seem as if it freezes. One could say that, when one works with movement, a freeze is an expansion of a moment in time. The freezes, or stills, in this work were meant to highlight and enlarge moments, and meant to emphasize on what one sees. The repetitions applied stem from the idea or problem, that one cannot show or represent a ‘slow transition’. As a ‘slow transition’ in this context seems to refer to the process of change or changing factors, which cannot be represented. But possibly it can be suggested. In this case tried out with a formal sequence that repeats but with variation. That is, by repeating referring back to what has been done and to the same thing. And each time it is repeated it is presented with a variation, which possibly suggests us addition and change. Which in turn can suggest us a process. Repeating also can suggest a ‘slow’ quality.

In the scenic project Merel explored the use of cloth and clothes to investigate ‘scale and imagination’ in movements, and in the way one looks at the person on stage. She used three different kinds of t-shirts: one usual sized, one oversized with a different color, but with the same shape, and one with a different color and shape. For the third time when the dancer turns away and toward the audience she added a thin black transparent cloth that extended and varied the movement. This piece of cloth the dancer was ‘putting on’ as if it was a coat or cape, and ‘putting off’ to let it fall on the ground; which she kept repeating while turning toward and away from the audience. 

The choreography is completely choreographed one could say. But space is left free for the dancer to interpret it in the moment. And she is rather guided to follow several tasks and to pay attention to certain things, than to perform an exact score of movements.

The music used was Een Lied van Schijn en Wezen, a composition by Gilius van Bergeijk (an adaptation of the fourth movement of Gustav Mahler’s song cycle for voice and orchestra Kindertotenlieder, which is based on a collection of poems by Friedrich Rückert. The recording Gilius van Bergeijk used is sung by Kathleen Ferrier). With shifting repetition and added electronics van Bergeijk completely changed the scale, and changed the way one listens and becomes familiar with that classical song by Mahler. As well the original version of Mahler was played during the end of the performance. 

The dance and the music function independently, but there is an interesting relation, and often it seems as if the dancer deliberately works with, or against the music. 

Georges Aperghis: Faux Mouvement (2016)

- a staged concert with the IEMA Ensemble and ATW, a project of HTA


Frankfurt Lab, Frankfurt am Main 

IEMA Ensemble 2015/16

Violin: Jessica Ling

Viola: Paul Beckett

Cello: Michele Marco Rossi

Direction/Choreography: Merel Roozen

Light/Visuals: Niels Wehr

Dance: Merel Roozen

Music: Georges Aperghis – Faux Mouvement


This choreography was an attempt in letting the dance material function as a ‘serving’ element (letting it function as one of the multiple elements, that carries forward motives and expressions of the total choreography). Together with Niels Wehr she developed visual elements for the work, with red light and fog. 

Merel explored how each element could have an independent kind of existence and quality or presence on stage, and she explored how they could interact with or relate to one another for the audience.

A duet by ANDi (2015) 


Rough Proposals, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt am Main 

Choreography: Merel Roozen

Dance: Émilia Giudicelli, Merel Roozen

Music: Walter Fähndrich - Viola II


This short work for two dancers was an experiment on the aesthetics of movements, and on how time is perceived by the audience.

The work as well dealt with motives such as anticipation, suspense and ambivalence.


The dance material used for this work was of the solo study RAYS, with some additional new movement material. Merel wanted to explore how to avoid the audience following fluent movements, and the direct way an audience becomes familiar with dance movements and the performer executing them. She made a rule for the performers, which was that the dancers were not ‘allowed’ to ‘just’ do the movements, instead they always had to consider the option to hold still (freeze), change the speed or quality, reverse, and repeat the movements. As well the dancers had the task to visualize the movements in space, which they could do by literally looking at where their movements were going or what they had just done. In this way, with the option to hold still and suspend their decisions, they were able to make decisions to what they would do next and how. The two dancers had their individual phrases, but they were very similar, and the dancers performed their phrases in their own tempo. When a dancer was done with her phrases, she started again from the start, only changing her starting position 90 degrees in space. The one dancer changed her starting position always clockwise, the other counter clockwise.


The music that played was Viola II, a composition by Walter Fähndrich, which was put on by one of the dancers at the beginning of the performance, and as the music was finishing the dancers stopped with what they were doing and left the stage.


By means of the tasks, as well a certain literal view on the dancer moving, and her being occupied with that, was intended. And the dancer's occupation provoked a high tension and concentration.

RAYS (2012-14)

Solo? Form, and the performers effort


WUK, Vienna


This solo study had several versions, and explored several choreographic themes; for instance: solo dancing, abstract movements and their aesthetic, phrasing, repetition, dramaturgy of abstract movements, perception of space, effort of the dancer.

No title (2010)


Choreography: Merel Roozen

Dance: Gesa Piper, Merel Roozen

Music: Meike Aukes, Oscar Jan Hoogland


This choreography was developed and performed in a small studio in Amsterdam where Merel was working at that time. Merel wanted to explore further how she could develop a practice in movement research, the development of a concept, and the organization of a whole process towards a performance independently.

For this choreography she explored motives such as femininity, intimacy, and privacy in dance.

On the bird (2010)


One Nights Dance, Dansateliers Rotterdam 

Choreography: Merel Roozen

Video: Merel Roozen

Dance: Gesa Piper, Merel Roozen


For this short study Merel explored how to make a choreography with video and dance. And she explored possibilities for a dramaturgy that functions without it being decided beforehand by the maker of the work - she explored structuring a chance composition.

The young man feeling no pain (2009)

Ba of Dance, ArtEZ University of the Arts

Choreography: Merel Roozen

Dance: Gesa Piper, Merel Roozen

Music: Miriam Moszko

Stage design, light: Merel Roozen


This choreography was Merel's Bachelor graduation work. Merel was interested in making a choreography that functions somewhat like theatre does or films do, by structuring phrases as if they are scenes. 

No title (2008)


Ba of Dance, ArtEZ University of the Arts

Choreography: Merel Roozen

Dance: Eilit Marom, Alekszander Szivkov, Jasper van Luijk, Einav Eshel, Ella Asderban, Danilo Tesi, Merel Roozen

Music: Gilius van Bergeijk - You are my Fairy Queen Dearest

Stage design and light: Merel Roozen

© Jim Versteeg

All here now (2008)


Ba of Dance, ArtEZ University of the Arts

All here now was performed at the Korzo theatre in den Haag, and at the Brakke Grond, for the ITS Festival, in Amsterdam (NL)

Choreography: Merel Roozen

Dance: Gesa Piper, Karin Pauer, Merel Roozen

Music: György Ligeti - Nouvelles Aventures

Stage design and light: Merel Roozen


This choreography Merel made during her Bachelor’s degree and was one of her first attempts making a choreography where she experimented with dance movements and the way they are executed and set, and with choreography and the way it is structured. 

“Maybe the best way to describe how this work was made is that it was sketched; the choreography was, and the movements were, and the dancers had to fill it in and interpret it in real time during the performance. And mostly this effort that the dancers had to do was practiced during the rehearsals”.

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