The Green Table – Tricia Durdey
When Hedda Brandt and other members of Kurt Jooss’s dance company flee Germany for Holland in 1933, Hedda imagines she is going to a place free from the prejudice and threats that have overtaken her country. There they perform the celebrated anti-war piece ‘The Green Table’. Staying behind to teach dance when Jooss and other members leave the Netherlands for England, Hedda encounters Katje, a girl who has seen and been enthralled by the performance and wants to learn to dance. But these are dangerous times and as Nazi Occupation changes all their lives, Katje watches her brother being drawn into Nazi sympathies fuelled by his admiration for his German piano teacher, Erik Weiss, a difficult man who also poses questions for Hedda. Determined to defy new regulations that demand dance should conform to rigid ideology, Hedda is drawn towards resistance, but with her life more and more at risk, matters are only complicated by the prospect of love with a much younger man, Kai Hoffman, whose family have befriended Hedda. Against a background of oppression, disappearances and terror, Hedda and Katje assert the power of dance, resistance and life in this gripping debut novel that takes real events and characters as its starting point. Poignant, sometimes harrowing, and exquisitely written, this is an extraordinary story from a convincing writer.
Follow the story in the next generation with The Dancer at World’s End, Tricia’s latest novel.
Tricia Durdey grew up in Chester and trained as a dancer and choreographer in London and Amsterdam, where she was involved with the experimental dance scene in 1970s, and drew a lifetime of inspiration from working with the forerunners of New Dance.
As well as dancing, she has always written, and her interest in the partnership between words and movement has led to making many text-based performances. She began writing fiction during a hiatus in her dance career and has been published by Chester University Press, Myslexia, Cinnamon Press, Shoestring Press and the Radio 3 website for The Verb.
During her year dancing in Amsterdam she lived in a Dutch merchant’s house opposite Anne Frank’s secret annexe. The memory of this, and her preoccupation with the history of WW2 and its legacy, led her to write The Green Table, published in 2015, and The Dancer at World’s End, 2021. In these novels she aspires to get into the skin of both the collaborators and the heroes of Nazi occupation.
Upside Down in a Hoop, a memoir about her parents, her childhood in dance, and selling the family house of 60 years in Chester, will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2022. She is currently working on a text-based aerial and dance performance to be launched alongside the memoir.
Tricia writes in a room in Haarlem Mill Arts Space in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, with two other writers, many visual artists and several dogs. As a challenge ,she is learning aerial skills and hoop at Tuyo Circus Arts in Nottingham, and studying the German language with Duolingo.
Visit her web site/blog: www.movingthemind.co.uk