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The Dutch Masters of Dance

by our Editors in Theatre, Art & Expo , 30 oktober 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
Length: 6 minutes

“Thank God for NDTdance,” Dutch actress Carice van Houten noted on Twitter. And no, the “Game of Thrones” star was not referring to our top DJs, but to the brilliant rebels of the Nederlands Dans Theater (Dutch Dance Theatre; NDT). Their performances get jubilant reviews, both at home and abroad, and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.

This autumn, they are travelling the country with two shows: “Saisonnier” by NDT 1 and “Significant Moments” by NDT 2, with the surprising debut of Phillip “PacMan” Chbeeb.

The Washington Post calls them “the Dutch masters of dance.” According to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, NDT shows how wonderfully exciting contemporary dance can be: “Staggering metaphors, stunning world-class dancers and choreography.” The Guardian speaks of “a superb group of dancers,” and according to Le Figaro the company is “one of the seven wonders in the world of dance.”

The New York Times describes it the most eloquently: “If the world’s dance companies occupied the shelves or a bar, NDT would sit comfortably on the top like a fine liquor - smooth, complex, potent.” The international press cannot praise the qualities of the NDT enough and audiences around the world are queueing for a ticket to the show. These upcoming months, NDT travels from Berlin to Singapore, Seoul, Istanbul, New York, Athens and Bordeaux. Almost all the shows are already sold out.

In their own country, NDT guarantees five-star reviews and has a large fan base. For those not yet familiar with this dance company, a short introduction. The NDT was founded sixty years ago. Eighteen dancers of the National Ballet decided to adopt a new, progressive path and exchanged Amsterdam for The Hague. With an irresistible blend of modern dance and traditional ballet, the rebels quickly become renowned world-wide. Keywords were and are non-conformist, avant-garde and always surprising.

Choreographers and artistic leaders, such as Hans van Manen, Ji?í Kylián and Nacho Duato brought the company to a higher level. Top talent from around the world came to The Hague and became leading, world-class dancers and choreographers. Energetic, virtuoso and elegant, with perfect body control.

Two of them are Paul Lightfoot and Sol León. They started as dancers at the company and are now resident choreographers since 2002. Lightfoot also works as artistic director since 2011, León as artistic advisor since 2012. The productive choreographer duo is not only responsible for dozens of award-winning works. By securing international top choreographers and talents, from Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal to associate choreographers Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite, they are also continuously renewing, refreshing and surprising.

Forty years ago, the idea was formed to split the dance company into two branches. NDT 2 was originally focused on talent development, but has become a fully independent company, with a diverse repertoire with works by renowned choreographers. NDT 1, which consists of twenty-eight international top performers who are distinguished by their unique qualities, provides the opportunity for the more mature dancers to further develop their artistic personalities.

They are world famous for their virtuosity, incredible technique and unparalleled expression. The awards given to, among others, Jorge Nozal, Imre van Opstal and current guest choreographer Medhi Walerski underline the high level in both groups.

This autumn, both NDT 1 and NDT 2 are touring the country with a tantalizing triple bill. NDT 1 dances in the musical program “Saisonnier” - world premières of associate choreographer Marco Goecke and of the Israeli choreographer and composer Hofesh Shechter. The third choreography is “Singulière Odyssée” from 2017 by León & Lightfoot. Especially for this masterpiece, Max Richter composed the moving “Exiles.” Broadway World, after the première in Washington: “The audience couldn’t leap to their feet fast enough at the number’s end.”

In the program “Significant Moments,” NDT 2 also brings a top choreography by León & Lightfoot. The expressive and virtuoso, flashy and elegant “Signing Off,” from Philip Glass’ “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra,” was awarded the prestigious Benois de la Danse in 2003.

The other two works in “Significant Moments” are world premières. These are by the Swede Alexander Ekman, who has a unique dynamic approach and sense of humour in his group choreographies, and by perhaps the biggest surprise of the dance season, the American world star Phillip - PacMan - Chbeeb. A debut to look forward to. To quote a well-known actress: “Thank God for @NDTdance.”

Phillip ‘PacMan’ Chbeeb

For the past eleven years, the twenty-nine-year-old American Phillip - PacMan - Chbeeb has grown from a freestyle dancer and choreographer into an international phenomenon. He performed with and for many celebrities and is a welcome guest in TV shows all over the world. Phillip was only sixteen years old when he founded the famous Marvelous Motion Studio in his home town Houston with friends. His big breakthrough came in the third season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” With his pliable body and his original, musical and technically perfect hip hop style, he made his debut in the popular American TV show.

Twice he was asked back, as top act in the finale of Season Four and as star dancer for the official tour of the fifth season. It was the beginning of a fast-paced career. At MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” Phillip guided the Texan hip-hop crew I.aM.mE to victory, and, with the same international team, featured in Paramount’s “League of Extraordinary Dancers.”

The film and theatre world were now convinced of his unique talents. Phillip made his Hollywood debut as a dancer in “Step Up 4 Revolution,” while Cirque du Soleil contracted him as a choreographer for their “MJ Immortal Tour.” In 2012, Bruce Ikanji, the founder of Juste Debout, selected him for Red Bull Beat It, and in 2013 Phillip appeared in Microsoft, Virgin America and Puma commercials. The past few years were equally productive. Phillip was the choreographer and one of the dancers of the movie “Step Up All In,” danced in Ed Sheeran’s video for his hit “Don’t” and produced music videos for Elliott Moss, Narrow Pools and Camila Cabello.

This year, he acted as creative producer of China’s largest TV dance show, “Street Dancer of China.” In November, PacMan makes his choreography debut at the NDT with the world première of “Significant Moments” by NDT 2. A winning combination that should not be missed.

 From September 27 to December 21, “Saisonnier” by NDT 1 is programmed in The Hague, Amsterdam, Leeuwarden, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

NDT 2’s “Significant Moments” can be seen from November 15 to December 20 in The Hague, Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Arnhem, Haarlem, Tilburg, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Breda, Enschede, Groningen, Zwolle and Maastricht.


foto’s NDT © Rahi Rezvani



published Jan 2017       

published Jul 2015        Length: 4 minutes


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