Square One Tall Tales Company

Everything can be reduced to mathematical codes. Artificial intelligence is hot business and therefore the source codes of human actions are being diligently sought. Rotterdam's Tall Tales Company started working with this data. In Square One they collaborate with visual artist Don SatijnSquare One is about capturing emotion, form and content in arithmetic models.

Square One is a site specific performance in which the audience follows a predetermined route along a number of juggled scenes. The places where these scenes take place have an important role in the performance and determine the overall experience of the audience.

FREE entrance for UT students and staff!

Order your ticket with your utwente e-mail address and bring your UT pass with you on the day of the performance.


Modern technology is passing us by. Artificial intelligence is taking over more and more tasks from us, Facebook knows us better than our own partner and Google is eavesdropping on our conversations. Codes and algorithms are increasingly dominating our private sphere, making our physical and digital world more and more one. In Square One , three jugglers show how emotion, shape and content can be captured in mathematical codes. Based on the art objects of Rotterdam artist Don Satijn, Tall Tales examines how codes can be the basis of juggling and movement. The decor of Square One is the Vrijhof, where the work of Don Satijn can be seen in the large exhibition room from 5 to 25 November. In this special setting, a route is mapped out in which juggling patterns are represented in abstract works, and static art comes to life in slowly transforming, living sculptures.

Square One is the prelude to the performance Square Two, which will premiere in 2020.


Square TWO is an artistic experiment at the intersection of circus and visual arts. It’s a collaboration between Tall Tales Company and visual artist Don Satijn. In Square TWO, the artistic team investigates the underlying codes in its own art forms. Juggling patterns are very often created from Siteswap, a language made up of mathematical series of numbers. The abstract geometric works of Satijn are also full of codes, magical squares and hidden messages.

While corporate business and scientists are busy reducing our lives to algorithms and codes, Tall Tales Company is taking the opposite route. New movement material is created from codes in order to come alive in a match with architecture, public space and our emotional life.


Tall Tales Company creates visual circus performances in which object manipulation and acrobatics are used to tell stories. With a fascination for human nature, the company presents accessible performances with multiple layers: magical, with risk and a touch of humor.

Tall Tales was founded in 2012 by Harm van der Laan and Maartje Bonarius. Their collaboration already originated at the circus school Codarts Rotterdam where they specialized themselves in aerial works (Maartje) object manipulation (Harm) and partner acrobatics (together). After a brief additional study in Toulouse, the duo decided to return to Rotterdam, their hometown. From this base they want the Netherlands to get acquainted with circus as an art form. Under the leadership of theatre maker / dramatist Luc van Esch, they created Weg (2012), an acrobatic and poetic theatre performance about a couple trapped in a relationship. After this experience, they acquired a taste for creating performances and, together with Luc van Esch, they created Solo (2013), a piece about the (im)possibilities of romantic love and Langs (2017) a theatre performance about loneliness with juggling, (air) acrobatics, magic, dance and theatre. In between, Harm and Maartje created together the performance Turbulentie (2015) a family piece about a pilot and a stewardess who are going to fly without an airplane.

In One of these Days (2018), the makers duo opted for a more choreographic approach. Together with Thomas Falk, they created a performance in which, for the first time, they also enter the stage with four performers. In 2019, Bonarius and Van der Laan were the second circus theatre makers ever in Dutch history selected for the ‘new makers arrangement’ of the Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts. Square TWO (2020) is the first show to be created and played entirely by Tall Tales Company. A site specific performance in which juggling patterns and visual art merge.


Musician, composer and visual artist Don Satijn studied at both the Academy of Visual Arts and the Rotterdam Conservatory (currently known as Willem de Kooning Academy and Codarts). As a visual artist he works with concrete, wood and steel, in a geometrically abstract style. He adds meaning to the works by incorporating codes and messages through mathematical structures, reliefs or perforations. Common themes in the artworks of Satijn are the multitude of codes that are intrinsically hidden in the world, our private life and the codification of society. His oeuvre covers more than 30 years of work and a multitude of forms and shapes, from portraits made up of social security numbers, bank account numbers and customer numbers to a series representing thousands of variations of a simple cube. Especially for Square TWO, Satijn made a number of new artworks which are inspired by the similarities in code languages which can be found both in juggling and digital communication. The jugglers find themselves engaging in a physical interaction with these works in Square TWO.


Maartje was raised with a huge love for circus. As a child she already performed throughout France with her parents, brother and dog in the tiny family circus ‘Circus Bonarius'. Maartje graduated from Codarts Rotterdam in 2012, where she specialized in aerial work and partner acrobatics. In addition to creating and performing for Tall Tales Company, Maartje also played in performances which toured nationally and internationally of, among others, Cirque Mustache, Arlette Hanson and Gandini Juggling.


From an early age, Harm could be found every week at the Rotterdam youth circus. After obtaining his degree in clinical psychology, he followed his heart and in 2012 he graduated from Codarts Rotterdam with a specialization in object manipulation and partner acrobatics (together with Maartje). In addition to creating and performing for Tall Tales Company, Harm traveled the world with the renowned British company Gandini Juggling, and worked for Arlette Hanson and STIP / Laura van Hal, among others. When he is not performing, Harm teaches circus history at the circus school in Rotterdam.


Joris started a study as a visual artist at the Willem de Kooning Academy, but eventually opted for the circus. After graduating from Codarts Rotterdam in 2010, he caused a stir with the Canadian companies 7fingers and Cirque Eloize, with which he traveled around the world for years. He also played a leading role in The Great Bean of the Scapino Ballet and played at the Holland Opera and with Ulrike Quade.


Students€ 0,00
Employees University of Twente€ 0,00
Others€ 5,00
Square One Tall Tales Company