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Dutch dance world back on stage in September with these performances

From small dance schools to big dance companies, the Dutch dance world is daring to expose itself on a stage again. Dance lovers can get back into the studios or theatres, or both, thanks to protocols, and bookings are being made enthusiastically as many performances are already sold out. After all, nothing beats the art of dance in the flesh. 

To speak with dance dramatist Jochem Naafs speaking: 'When you are in the audience, you are forced to watch, to concentrate on the performance. Moreover, you hear the dancers, you feel the atmosphere and the air along your cheeks, you see the moment when the dance is created. You know that the dancer also notices and acknowledges you. Dance is an exchange - when you dance yourself with others and when you go to watch.'

Therefore, here is a brief overview of some premieres with added significance. 

Endlessly Free

It was a while before NDT why the first programme after the departure of artistic director Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, Endlessly Free hot, but here is the dance company's response:

'The title of the programme Endlessly Free state completely unrelated to the departure of Sol and Paul. The title of the programme was created in consultation with Emily Molnar and Medhi Walerski and comes from the music Medhi uses in his ballet SOON. Namely, from 'Then I'd heard a bachelor's cry' By Benjamin Clementine. Medhi felt strongly about the title Endlessly Free because this would also tie in with the new work he is currently creating with two dancers from NDT 1. 'Almost all the titles of the programmes, as originally conceived for season 2020-2021, are derived from lyrics from the music used in the planned ballets.'

In the programme no work by Kylián (returning yet), nor by Lightfoot and León (not returning for now). We do have work by Medhi Walerski (world premiere and SOON) and by one of the Hague dance company's most stable quality factors: Crystal Pite (The Other You). You will see a triptych with a small, safe cast of 2 or 4 dancers per choreography. 

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Introdans in the Eubebius

If you want a large cast of dancers, you have to go to the Eusebius, a church in Arnhem. For many people, Roman Catholic churches are just cultural buildings where you can light a candle for a fee. Because of church emptying, church buildings now form even more of a cultural function, including for dance. Choreographers usually show reverence for the church (dance itself is almost religiously practised), see for example recent work by Kenzo Kusuda, and Dutch choreographer Regina van Berkel put in this 'sacred' space under the title sustained resonance a dance installation for as many as 33 dancers from Introdans, accompanied by live music from the Van Dingstee quartet.

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DAT relationship

An impressive array of works by various choreographers can be admired, after a long absence from the theatre of the country's largest company, in Dancing Apart Together: no fewer than three new choreographies by artistic director Ted Brandsen, and work ranging from Sedrig Verwoert (won the BNG Bank Dance Prize 2019, the Leo Spreksel Award and he collaborated on Beyoncé's Black is King), to crowd favourite Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Extra interestingly, the legendary Live by Hans van Manen can be seen in September with five performances. 

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If you legally want to go to a nightclub with a hundred people and enjoy music by The Ballet Orchestra, you can go to NACHTRAVEN, a "performance that could only happen in this time of corona". In Westergas' Transformatorhuis, you will undergo a fusion of hip-hop, breakdance and classical music, from Stravinsky to Lauryn Hill. Marco Gerris, the ambitious artistic director of ISH Dance Collective who creates all kinds of cultural cross-connections: "In these bizarre times, the world is choreography in itself".

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Champagne at the Silence

In 2019, the Culture Council recommended the integral inclusion of youth performing arts in the Netherlands in the Basic Infrastructure. This led, among other things, to the announcement in June this year that Breda-based youth dance company de Stilte will be back in the BIS in 2021. On 12 September, de Stilte will also celebrate its 25th anniversary with two free performances.

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In conclusion

Please bear in mind that after a long time dancers were isolated to the lame in front of a camera in living rooms, they are now entering the virgin territory of a stage, as it were, new. Also note that special ground rules apply to seeing dance in theatres. This may mean that only visitors from one household are allowed to sit next to each other, that catering facilities are open in the theatre, that there is a health check (questionnaire) on entry, use of 'cough screens', or as one theatre emphasises: be nice to each other. 

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Ruben Brugman

writing ex-dancerView Author posts

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