Nederlands Dans Theater NTD2

‘27”52’’, ‘Dream Play’, ‘Shutters Shut’, ‘Subject to Change’

by Petra Tschiene

May 28, 2003 -- Sadler's Wells/ London

This week NTD2 is back in town. The company consisting of 14 young dancers aged between 17 and 22 is the ‘junior’ wing of NTD and gives its members a chance to mature as artists through a varied repertory and new creations by both well established as well as up and coming choreographers. I had never seen NTD2 before and was very impressed by the technical ability, expressiveness and the enthusiasm I saw on Wednesday night.

The opening piece ‘Dream Play’ by Johan Unger who will be appointed artistic director of the Culberg Ballet in Stockholm was more inspiring to me. A chance encounter with a woman in the street leads a man to drift into a powerful erotic daydream. Set to a part of Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ the choreography reflects the savage undertones of the score very well and I was a surprised when we suddenly found ourselves back on the street and in reality at the end.

I greatly enjoyed the middle section of the programme consisting of 2 works by the choreographer due Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon. ‘Shutters Shut’ is set to
a reading of Gertrude Stein’s poem ‘If I told him: A complete portrait of Picasso’.
A speedy serious of staccato movements, skilfully executed by Parvaneh Scharafali and Fernando Hernando Magadan reflects in part the text and in part the rhythm of the reading. The stunning speed left you feeling quite exhausted from just watching for 4 minutes. The second offering by Lightfoot and Leon, ‘Subject to Change’ created to Franz Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’, shows Marthe Krummenacher and Medhi Walerski as the lead couple mostly dancing on a red carpet that had been ceremonially unrolled by the supporting corps of 4 men who also often manipulate this prop at its corners. Although the girl struggling with fate is clearly at the centre of the work Lightfoot and Leon have managed to show off the male dancers without having them overshadow Krummenacher’s haunting performance. For me this was the highpoint of the evening.

According to the programme notes it took 441,875 hours to make the production of ‘27”52’’, the only Kylian piece of the evening. Considering this tremendous effort I felt disappointed with the result. The cast of 6 whirls through a serious of duets and group dances linked by their preoccupation with the loose strips of floor covering, but after a while I became distracted by the constant pulling, lifting, wrapping into and peaking underneath. Despite some interesting moments, the work left me feeling all at sea and puzzled.

Overall it was a very enjoyable evening of dance interpreted by fabulous dancers.
The audience was clearly taken by the company’s buzzing energy. All I can say is:
“Please visit us again soon.”

Edited by Stuart Sweeney

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