Swarm Rehearsals

Swarm_Rehearsals_Feb2021-vimeo from toolsforaction on Vimeo.

Dear all!

We would like to invite you to our 2nd Swarm Rehearsal, happening on Sunday 28th of February between 3:00 and 4:30 pm at NDSM in Amsterdam. Swarm Rehearsal is a proposal for an alternative form of assembly during COVID-19, taking it´s starting point from the flocking of birds. Swarm Rehearsal is a way of moving forward. In these collective movements there is no center; no hierarchy; the movement emerges from the interaction between the individuals.



For politics to take place, the body must appear.

– Judith Butler

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, public space has been retracted, which is essential for the organising of social movements. How do you come together without contaminating each other? Unlike the movements of birds and fish, human swarm constellations are not pregiven. We can consciously increase and decrease the distance from 5, 10 or 15 meters to each other, according the specific circumstances of the COVID-19 virus. Does a swarm of people still count as an assembly if the mutual distance to each other is 15 meters? Swarm Rehearsal touches a pain point of the COVID-19 measures, because they should be about physical distance, not about social distance from each other.

Swarm Rehearsals are also an end in itself. We are rehearsing swarm mentality, a form of interconnectedness at a distance. Experience reveals that in the very first rehearsals a ́culture of the loudest` prevails. These dynamics mirror our culture, in which the loudest, often from some dominant ´alpha` personalities get most attention. Gradually, the group develops a more refined sense of moving together.  ́Following` is a form of taking responsibility, amplifying a sound, changing, enriching. Swarming is not just about being flawless with each other, but also about multiple initiatives, splitting off and coming back together, a constant negotiation of group dynamics. Swarm Rehearsal is thus a physical meditation in prefigurative politics: How do we relate to each other? How do we enact in this very moment the future society we want to see? And how is this swarm of people part of the ecology of the city?


On Sunday 28th of February we will meet at 3:00 pm at the NDSM in Amsterdam.  Upon arrival, you will receive instructions via jit.si. After a 15 minute introduction and a short Q&A, we will swarm for about 45 minutes. Afterwards you are invited to discuss and share your reflections online.



Swarm Rehearsal is an outdoor rehearsal. According to the guidelines of the Dutch government for amateur art, outdoor rehearsals are permitted:

“(Rehearsal) is permitted in outdoor public places. Persons up to and including seventeen years of age and their supervisors may also participate in organized youth activities in public places and outdoors. There is no maximum number of persons for this. But here, too, the advice is to limit contact moments, group formation and travel movements as much as possible.” 

The following measures will be adopted with utmost care to make this rehearsal COVID-19 proof. Be aware that this is a living document, we adapt our proposal according the events unfolding:

Physical distance:

  • We urge everyone to keep a minimum distance of 5 meters at all times.
  • Instructions will be online, we form the swarm step by step.
  • There is no wardrobe/toilet, meaning there is less place to clutter.
  • We invite local people in Amsterdam to participate in order to reduce travel.
  • We suggest everyone to avoid public transport.


  • Four professional performers from the Amsterdam Mime School will be supervising from within the swarm and take extra care for keeping distance. From their performance background, they have a strong sense of spatial awareness.
  • The choreographer Floor van Leeuwen will act as a distance supervisor from the outside.

Emergency Signals:

  • Emergency signals will be collectively communicated prior to the rehearsal via jit.si. You can step out the rehearsal any time you feel unsafe.

Individual Responsibility:

  • Don´t come when you feel any of the Covid-19 symptoms, or if you got in contact with someone who tested positive, or got tested positive yourself.



Swarm Rehearsals will take place on a monthly basis. The first are:


24.01.2021 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm

28.02.2021 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm

28.03.2021 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm

25.04.2021 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm

30.05.2021 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm

27.06.2021 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm



If you would like to join send a text or signal-app to FLOOR (0618740441) and receive the practical info and location one day before the rehearsal. For other enquiries, please send an email to info(at)toolsforaction.net.



Swarm Rehearsal is initiated by TOOLS FOR ACTION + FLOOR. Floor van Leeuwen is a choreographer specialised in collective movement. TOOLS FOR ACTION is a collaborative platform for art and activism, founded by Artúr van Balen. Every Swarm Rehearsal is co-organised by a decentralised network of Swarm Catalysts (people who will take more organising tasks on themselves). Our intention is that over the course of the year, we will grow as a queer – ecological network of artists, activists, performers and everyone who wants to join.

We hope to see you this very sunday,



Floor, Artúr, Matteo, Agri, Bodine, Alidtcha, Koen, Hidde, Marie, Charles, Roberto

TEL: 0618740441