Heart Drive

A gripping new creation by in-demand Dutch choreographers Imre and Marne van Opstal. An exploration of love, connection and pleasure, as well as the stigmas and moral taboos that exist within. Heart Drive was co-commissioned by Vancouver-based Ballet BC and Tero Saarinen Company.

This international co-production premiered in Canada on November 2022 .The European premiere, restaged for eight stunning TSC dancers, took place at Dance House Helsinki on 9–16 June as a part of Tero Saarinen Company’s new double bill, together with Jyrki Karttunen‘s Digital Duende.

Choreographers' note

”Through multiple stages, Heart Drive invites you to reflect, unburden, and accept instincts and impulses. Where the physical experience of the body and sensations can exist without boundaries, and the acknowledgement of our nature is present. By exploring the primal drive we carry to love, hold, and connect. 

Our sexual nature is a fundamental energy we possess to create, nurture and shape the world. It enables us to create bonds by entertaining our fantasies of love, commitment, and sense of pleasure while forming our experience, social status and desirability. These notions are often shamed, boxed in or even taken advantage of, yet they ultimately ensure our very survival.”

– Imre and Marne van Opstal

“Heart Drive is the most overt exploration of sexuality, investigating our inner, animal forces in noncliched and open-minded ways –– movement language is distinct and a bit surreal –– partnering is an innovative highlight –– Haunting and dreamlike –– alluring taste of the European vanguard“

- Stir, Canada | Heart Drive (2022)

“The spectator is mesmerized by the dancers' openness, virtuosity and unbroken connection. – – Heart Drive exhales sexual energy and primal instincts but it avoids evident pitfalls. The core is the interpretation of love and connection.“

- Helsingin Sanomat (Finland) | Heart Drive

“The visuals, sound, technically challenging movement language and the dancers were all stunningly perfect.“

- Demokraatti (Finland) | Heart Drive

“Stunning – absolutely un-ignorable – yells in your face with sexiness and power”

- The Vancouver Arts Review, Canada | Heart Drive (2022)

“[The Van Opstals] not only brought what is “en vogue” in international dance [...] they also showed that they can be the future.“

- Die Reinpfalz | The little man (2022)

Imre van Opstal and Marne van Opstal are Dutch choreographers, renowned performing artists and siblings, who form a creative duo. Both artists had prominent careers as dancers before focusing their creativity on choreography. In recent years, they have created works for Nederlands Dans Theater and Rambert Dance Company among others. The collaborative nature of their work often speaks to the human condition, limits and possibilities of the body and mind. Their work is known to be multi-layered and surrealistic, with a strong and outspoken dance language known for its eclecticism, theatricality and partnering elements.

Read about the choreographers

I’m thrilled to present Imre & Marne’s work in Tero Saarinen Company’s repertoire! Heart Drive plays with highly interesting opposites – it’s animalistic, ritualistic and at the same time futuristic. The choreography delves into unsaid and untalked frequencies of sexuality yet does it with style and grace. The movement language is highly challenging with a feverish tempo, but it still manages to convey depth and strong emotion instead of simply showcasing the dancers’ virtuosity. 

All in all, our new double bill, presented at Dance House Helsinki in June 2023, is a very interesting take on passion, longing, desire and inner fire. While Jyrki Karttunen’s Digital Duende takes a slightly more sensitive and subtle approach, the Van Opstals attack with fierce energy.” says TSC Artistic Director Tero Saarinen.


Choreography Imre Van Opstal & Marne Van Opstal
Music / Composition Amos Ben-Tal
Light Design Tom Visser
Set Design Tom Visser, Imre Van Opstal & Marne Van Opstal
Costume Design Imre Van Opstal & Marne Van Opstal in consultation with Kate Burrows
Assistant to the Choreographers Chloé Albaret
Rehearsal Director David Scarantino

Dance | TSC Chloé Albaret, Amie-Blaire Chartier, Anni Koskinen, Oskari Kymäläinen, Joni Österlund, Katerina Torp, Jack Traylen, Gaya Yemini Understudy Samuli Emery, Anette Toiviainen

32 minutes
Ballet BC, World Premiere: 3 November, 2022, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Canada | Tero Saarinen Company: 9 June, 2023, Dance House Helsinki, Finland
A Co-Production of Ballet BC and Tero Saarinen Company

Stage videos ©Ballet BC by Michael Slobodian with Ballet BC artists
Stage photos ©Kai Kuusisto & Tom Visser
TSC studio trailer ©Petrus Koskinen