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Nederlands Dans Theater Program at City Center to Show Company's Brilliance

by Helma Klooss
October 30, 2016
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
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
Last in New York in 2010, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) returns with a company of twenty-eight dancers to New York City Center November 16-19, 2016 with two U.S. premieres by artistic leader Paul Lightfoot, which he co-created with partner Sol Léon, a work Marco Goecke and one by Canadian choreographer and NDT associate choreographer Crystal Pite.

As a Netherlands-based dance writer and having seen all of the works on the City Center program, here is a sampling of what audiences can expect:

Can you turn the annoyances of office life into art? Crystal Pite does it in her work "The Statement" (2016), based on a script by playwright Jonathan Young.

Se to a new composition by Owen Belton that includes an a recorded audio script of Young's text about two men and two women dealing with a conflict in a boardroom setting.

A necessary evil, states the text we hear of the conflict. The piece also includes some very funny moments when two outstanding dance couples mirrored the spoken text in fluent, speedy moves above, around, and under a shiny oval conference table.

Musicality and NDT's dancers' mastery of it comes into play in two demanding works by Léon/Lightfoot set to music by Bach and Richter respectively. To date, the choreographic duo has made over forty ballets for NDT.

In their "Safe As Houses" (2001), inspired by the Chinese Book of Changes I Tjing, the work reflects on our reliance on the physical environment and ultimately on the survivability of the soul. A rotating white wall causes moments of separation and disappearance during a string of aesthetically pleasing duets and trios. With a 13-foot high wall rotating around the stage, the dancers' performance space constantly shifts.

The work's eleven dancers in black and white costumes appear and disappear as the wall rotates. The atmosphere is one of extreme beauty thanks to the performer's perfect timing in their group formations and their constant changes in speed.

Lightfoot then slows the pace of the choreography to allow the individuality of the dancers to come out in virtuous expressions.

In contrast, Lightfoot and Léon’s "Stop-Motion" (2014) danced to music by Max Richter has a melancholy tone to it supporting the theme of transformation and farewell the work's eight dancers represent. The dancers fade in and out against strong, beautiful video images projected on large screens including some of Leon and Lightfoot’s daughter Saura.

Choreographer Marco Goecke'"Woke up Blind" (2016) represented a huge challenge for its seven dancers. Set to the songs "You and I" and "The Way Young Lovers Do" by late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley, the work is characterized by frantic movement. Held alongside their bodies or making angular shapes, the dancers move their arms with vibrancy and pace. They interact with one another while keeping their distance. Up to the task, NDT' dancers perform Goecke’s up-tempo admirably with their astonishing technique.

NDT's dancers have performed all the demanding ballets they are bringing to City Center brilliantly, New York audiences can expect more of the same. Don’t miss it!
NDT dancers in 'Stop-Motion' by Lightfoot/Leon.

NDT dancers in "Stop-Motion" by Lightfoot/Leon.

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani

NDT dancers in 'Safe as Houses' by Lightfoot/Leon.

NDT dancers in "Safe as Houses" by Lightfoot/Leon.

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani

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