Jan Martens (b. Belgium, 1984) studied at the Fontys Dance Academy in Tilburg and is a dance graduate of the Artesis Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. He has performed with Mor Shani, Tuur Marinus, Ann Van den Broek and more. In 2009, he began his own choreographic work. He has been hosted in this capacity by Frascati, ICKamsterdam, CAMPO and DansBrabant. In 2014, together with business leader Klaartje Oerlemans, he founded GRIP in Antwerp/Rotterdam, from where they organize and distribute his work. From September 2014 through June 2016, Martens was artist in residence at the Tanzhaus NRW in Düsseldorf. In between summer 2016 and summer 2018 he will be Artist Associé at the CDC Le Gymnase in Roubaix, Nord Pas de Calais and at the same time Jan Martens is Creative Associate at deSingel International Arts Campus til 2021.
Jan Martens’ works are fresh, as well as hard-core, but most importantly communicate directly. He does not attempt to create his own language of movement, but forms and reuses existing idioms, placing them in different contexts so that new ideas arise. The human being is central to his work.
His first major work was I CAN RIDE A HORSE WHILST JUGGLING SO MARRY ME (United-C, 2010), which portrayed a generation of young women in a society dominated by social networks. New creations regularly followed, winning awards and attracting consistently larger audiences.
A SMALL GUIDE ON HOW TO TREAT YOUR COMPANION was selected for Aerowaves in 2011. SWEAT BABY SWEAT was chosen for the 2012 Nederlandse Dansdagen and Circuit X 2013, and is now performing around the world. Martens then produced three works about unconventional beauty, for performers whose bodies are not what one would expect in a contemporary dance context: BIS for the 62-year-old Truus Bronkhorst, LA BETE for the young actress Joke Emmers, and VICTOR, a duet for a boy and a mature man, which Martens created together with director Peter Seynaeve.
In 2014, Martens created the group performance, THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER, which was selected for Het Theaterfestival Vlaanderen. This performance was also presented at the Nederlandse Dansdagen, as was his solo work ODE TO THE ATTEMPT (2014). His new work, THE COMMON PEOPLE, premiered in May 2016. Jan Martens also regularly does guest performances and coaches young creators in their own work.
Jan Martens was awarded the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Noord-Brabant Prize in 2014, and the prestigious Charlotte Köhlerprijs in 2015. His work is regularly performed in Flanders, the Netherlands, France and Germany, and can also be seen farther afield at festivals and theaters, including Dampfzentrale Bern, Théâtre De La Ville Paris, Dance Umbrella London, Tanz Im August, Tanzquartier Vienna, Usine-C Montréal, Dansenshus Stockholm and Dansehallerne Copenhagen.