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Helma Klooss
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Den Haag (The Hague), OT (Netherlands)
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Nederlands Dans Theater 2's Settle For More Hugely Varied and Very Lovely

by Helma Klooss
April 17, 2019
Houtrustweg 505
Den Haag (The Hague), OT (Netherlands) 2583 WB
+31(0)70 88 00 333
Helma Klooss is a Netherlands-based dance writer and festival organizer. More about her dance festivals can be found at www.danskaravaan.nl, www.danskaravaan-educatief.nl and www.stranddans.nl
After their tour to New York and Boston in 2018, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 created two premieres and performed two existing ballets of Hans van Manen and Marco Goecke at the Hague's Zuiderstrandtheater for their program Settle For More. Of the two world premieres "The Whys and Wherefores are Elusive" by Felix Landerer proved the most appealing ballet.

For the March 7 performance of the work, the stage was bare. The scenery consisted of moving fluorescent tubes above the dancers.

A soloist slowly breathed in and out and moved in delayed, unusually strange postures. A group of five dancers joined him and moved with angular steps to electronic sounds composed by Christof Littmann.

They connected and danced in beautiful synchronous line dances as well as very attentively stood still and seemed to ponder something before moving on. The dancers then crossed the entire stage, touched the ground for a moment, rose up, changed directions and then continued on.

Now seven, the dancers, moved in a chain, smoothly and quietly - again they stopped for a moment, then splintered into a duet or trio. The dance looked very fresh, innovative and quite suitable for this young company. In the last duet, dancers Boston Gallacher and Ève-Marie Dalcourt sniffed at each before gliding over the floor together in an ecstasy of desire. The composition was made up of changing rhythms, which were closely followed by these elegant dancers, who were strongly longing for connection.

In "Epoch", choreographed by Bryan Arias, the dancers were comic book blow-ups of reality that alienated and unsettled. They were dressed in colorful suits, some with eye-masks, some with a blue face-mask. Halfway through the work there was a costume party. The dance movements were seldom fluent, directions were suddenly aborted and bent and there was a continuous pushing and pulling of one another in which were revealed isolations of the limbs and contractions. The ballet was set on different songs and ended with the pop ballad "What A Wonderful World".

Choreographer Bryan Arias showed us a totally different world, far from wonderful. This was understandable, but tension was missing. The tempo was high, but a change of pace and mood could have made the piece more transparent.

In the program notes he says: "Epoch" is by definition an event or a time marked by the beginning of a new period or development. While completing on our global political and climate concerns, the work attempts to interrogate power while reflecting on contemporary anxieties. By visualizing superheroes in an abstracted "real world" it aims to deconstruct the hero concept and questions our trust in those power. ‘Epoch’ therefore, is about the cyclical nature of history and raises concerns about those who trust in heroes and leaders to guard the world’s fate.

To these ballets were added Hans van Manen's "Simple Things" and "Midnight Raga" by Marco Goecke, both successful ballets and well danced by these NDT 2's versatile dancers.
NDT2 in 'The Whys and Wherefores are Elusive' by Felix Landerer.

NDT2 in "The Whys and Wherefores are Elusive" by Felix Landerer.

Photo © & courtesy of Joris Jan Bos

NDT2 in 'The Whys and Wherefores are Elusive' by Felix Landerer.

NDT2 in "The Whys and Wherefores are Elusive" by Felix Landerer.

Photo © & courtesy of Joris Jan Bos

NDT2 in 'Epoch' by Bryan Arias.

NDT2 in "Epoch" by Bryan Arias.

Photo © & courtesy of Joris Jan Bos

NDT2 in 'Simple Things' by Hans van Manen.

NDT2 in "Simple Things" by Hans van Manen.

Photo © & courtesy of Joris Jan Bos

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