Established in 1959, Dutch dance company Nederlands Dans Theatre strove to break away from the expectations and traditions of ballet. Less than 20 years later, junior division
When it's impossible to see where choreography stops and dancer begins these bold young dancers will definitely provoke.
Split into four pieces and three acts this latest appearance showcased the explosive and, at times indignant, energetic new talent that NDT's base in The Hague has to offer. Uncompromising in their style and content, and fresh and new in their approach, these young dancers made this stylish, modern and abstract piece of modern dance breathe life in to a bare and minimal stage.
From the the stylistic opening pas de deux and duets of PostScript, which coupled almost electrically static sharp movements with floating-on-air release and smoothness, into the the mannequin like Sara which seemed to encapsulate a perfect use of deliberate flaw and angle, you could easily forget they are the younger members of the company.
Special praise has to go to the second dance piece of the programme Shutters Shut, which was a short and humorous take on Gertrude Stein's If I Told Him: A completed Portrait of Picasso. Set along to a soundtrack of Gertrude Stein herself reading the poem aloud, the movements were bold choices, delivered with almost comical energy, and yet the pair carried off a lightness of touch without making it seem at all flippant. At only four minutes long this particular segment was the shortest of the four, and had little time to make a striking impression–and yet did so with ease.
The final piece I New Then, an ensemble number set exclusively to the sounds of a Van Morrison soundtrack, brought a vivacious energy into telling the story of a cohabiting group of young people. This section aims to show the confident expression and unique growth of individuals within a group, and how appropriate an end to this show it is, given the brave individualisation that's so clear throughout this performance.
These pieces were in the most part choreographed specifically for the group, and that makes the energy a perfect fit. This isn't choreography that is going to do the work for you. The narrative is abstract and capricious, and at time it's the audience who must draw their own feelings from it. But when it's impossible to see where choreography stops and dancer begins these bold young dancers will definitely provoke.