A vibrant and varied programme of dance is set to be staged in Newcastle next week when one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary dance companies, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 performs at the Theatre Royal from Tue 26 – Wed 27 Apr 16 as part of a country-wide tour with Dance Consortium UK.
Last seen in the UK in 2012, NDT2 brings vibrant mixed bills to the UK in performances complemented by visual art, music composition, innovative lighting, set and costume designs.
NDT2 will perform I New Then, by Swedish choreographer Johan Inger, which sees four girls and five boys taken to great heights on songs by Van Morrison. Not a group in unison, but sprouting individuals who rebel against it. Inger’s work breathes humour: it’s fresh and optimistic, ranging from comic and theatrical to earthy and organic. Inger made his breakthrough as a choreographer in 1995 after a successful dancing career with NDT. His choreographies have won numerous prestigious awards. Inger, who was an associate choreographer with NDT between 2009 and 2015, created I New Then in 2012.
A UK Premiere of Romanian choreographer Edward Clug’s mutual comfort marks his NDT2 debut. The choreography is detailed, sharply defined and at times features a twitchiness where the bodies flick and jerk so extremely and frequently that it can be interpreted as punctuation; a certain acknowledgment of the beat. Clug is interested in highlighting the dancers’ individual stories in his work. mutual comfort emphasizes personal experience that arises from the process of creation that is led by illuminating human contradictions and imparting surprising moments of beauty and spontaneous irony.
Award-winning choreographer Hans van Manen created Solo for NDT2 in 1997. This seven minute, fast-paced ballet is set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s violin partita. Solo is an athletic tour-de-force for three male dancers who portray a single man re-examining his place in the world. Since the choreography is exceptionally fast requiring extraordinary timing, the ballet can only be performed by the dancers taking turns. Van Manen, NDT’s resident choreographer from 1988 – 2003, has created more than 120 ballets (62 of which for NDT), all bearing his unmistakable signature.
In 2010 Swedish-born choreographer Alexander Ekman created the international hit Cacti for NDT2. Ekman calls himself a ‘rhythm freak’ as one of his trademarks is designing contemporary soundscapes. Cacti, for which Ekman uses classical music, resulted in a new arrangement of Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen, created with Het Balletorkest (formerly known as Holland Symphonia). In Cacti sixteen dancers become the instruments of the orchestra as Ekman challenges the audience to reflect on the way in which art is perceived. Cacti was nominated for a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award (Best Modern Choreography) and an Olivier Award (Best New Dance Production) in 2012.
Under the artistic directorship of British-born Paul Lightfoot, Nederlands Dans Theater is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. Since its foundation in 1959, this pioneering company has built a rich repertoire of more than 600 ballets by master choreographers Jiří Kylián and Hans van Manen, renowned house choreographers Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, associate choreographers Crystal Pite and Marco Goecke and high-profiled guests such as Gabriela Carrizo, Hofesh Shechter, Johan Inger, Alexander Ekman and Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar.
In 1978, NDT founded NDT2, its junior division specifically focussing on talent development for dancers aged 18 – 23. Over a three year period NDT2 prepares 16 classically trained dancers (plus two apprentice dancers for the UK tour) from around the world for NDT2. One of the objectives of NDT2 is to acquaint the dancers with a lexicon of dance languages. Working with young and more established choreographers, the dancers perfect a range of styles and genres in which technique is a means to achieving their artistic core as world class performers.
NDT2 comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 26 – Wednesday 27 April. Tickets are from £16 and can be purchased atwww.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).