The Waste Land Online

Amsterdam Sinfonietta & ISH Dance Collective

A century ago, T.S. Eliot wrote his revolutionary poem The Waste Land, which depicts a world full of hopelessness, on the brink of total devastation.

In 2022 we are once again facing a great crisis. Marco Gerris (choreographer of ISH Dance Collective) and Candida Thompson (artistic director of Amsterdam Sinfonietta) see this crisis as being characterised by a lack of connection with oneself, with each other and with the world around us. How can we keep our heads above water when the sense of loneliness and desolation drags us steadily downwards?

From the deepest depths the only way is upwards, since in an eternal cycle everything always starts all over again. In The Waste Land, performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta and ISH Dance Collective, the audience experiences the universal theme of decline and regeneration and in the end The Waste Land leaves the audience with a strong sense of hope.

Three dancers from ISH, three acrobats from Bencha Theater and the strings of Amsterdam Sinfonietta find each other and move from darkness towards the light. The performers – quite literally – run into a wall, fall down and drag themselves upright again. The musical work “Lexolalia Descenticum” by the Iranian composer Farokhzad Layegh was the inspiration for this production. It opens with T.S. Eliot’s authentic voice, and acts as a unifying theme, running through the performance. There is also music by Igor Stravinsky, Alban Berg, Fazil Say, Valentyn Sylvestrov and Rik Ronner. The Waste Land sharpens all the senses with its incandescent music for strings, acrobatic dance, mysterious visuals and unexpected twists.

“A breathtaking journey”

– Het Parool

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Watch the introductory film to The Waste Land here

“The Waste Land titillates the senses and provokes thought.”

– De Nieuwe Muze


  • Pieces by Layegh, Stravinsky, Berg, Džajkovski, Nyman, Dessner, Avison, Ronner, Karaindrou, Casals, Pärt, Say & Sylvestrov


  • Marco Gerris & Candida Thompson concept
  • Marco Gerris stage direction
  • Candida Thompson musical direction & violin
  • Marco Gerris choreography (in collaboration with dancers)
  • Rachel Melief choreography aerial acrobatics
  • Titus Tiel Groenestege dramaturg-adviser
  • Amsterdam Sinfonietta orchestra
  • Herrold Anakotta, Tamara Robledo, Lars de Vos dancers
  • Bencha Theater (Micha Karlsson, Sarah Kooij, Kenneth Gérard) aerial acrobats
  • Mike den Ottolander light design
  • Rob van der Meijs sound design
  • Mirjam Manusama costumes

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