The Nederlands Dans Theater and Cacti . Pictures: Johan Persson


Birmingham Hippodrome


TO a Dancer, I suspect, The Nederlands Dans Theater offer an abundance to learn from. Non-dancers alike would find it hard not to take inspiration from the company’s artistic dedication with an interactive performance reacting to the natural world.

As one of the most acclaimed dance companies in the world, NDT2 offers a night consisting of four ground-breaking pieces, including a UK premier, with each performance being widely different, but equally impressive.

The first showcase we see is New Then, a work by choreographer Johan Inger. It is a marvellous insight to the artistic prowess of the company.

As the nine dancers perform to a compilation of songs by Van Morrison, the nine performers set a strong foundation as they use each other’s energy to exude a dynamic and perhaps sensual performance of high energy and impressive movement.

Edward Clung and Hans Van Manen take a different approach with their choreography in the second and third performances. They are both heavily influenced by ballet. Both pieces are a reaction to the physical and intense relationships between two people.

Through the dancers, it is clear that the choreographers aim to discover the consequences of physical interaction. Both performances are made beautiful by sincere portrayals through each dancer and show an emotional journey with the music of Beethoven and Schubert to give a gravitas to the tender choreography.

The company of NDT2 is made up of sixteen international dancers. Each piece of tNew Thenhe night gives credit to the dancer’s outstanding talent and athleticism. Even though some choreographed performances were livelier, and indeed sometimes a little more interpretive than others, all dancers had their moment to show the audience their ability.

It is inspiring to see all the hard work unfolding and each dancer has a fluidity that makes the their slick and meticulous sequences appear the most natural of movements.

NDT with New Then

NDT2 are a company of strong individual dancers with backgrounds of perhaps lifetimes of training and a devotion, and when these commendable traits are put together, it is amazing what can be achieved when they create art together.

It happened with Cacti, a beautiful piece as the finale by choreographer Alexander Ekman.

A mind-blowing performance is seen as the whole company are involved in Ekman’s fast paced and impressive story and the skill of the dancers alone is enough to inspire.

The piece starts with a stylised sequence where the dancers make drumming rhythms using their hands. The strong beats lead to a beautiful show of synchronicity as we see powerful music being played before us. The overall performance is fantastic to watch. All sixteen dancers are one with each other, creating a story to show the importance of the natural living world.

The addition of the deep and dark stage of the Hippodrome enhances the scale of the performance and the excellent lighting design drives the stories beautifully.

NDT2 is a unique piece of Dance Theatre. Each choreographed performance is an individual account and invites the audience to think of our relationships and connection to not only each other, but the natural world around us. To 04-05-16

Elizabeth Halpin


International Dance Festival Birmingham Programme 


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