NDT1 at Sadler’s Wells

One of the world’s most innovative contemporary dance companies, Nederlands Dans Theater 1, known for combining virtuoso classical technique with intriguing visual sets and challenging, contemporary themes, will return in June to Sadler’s Wells, for the first time since 2014, bringing two works which delighted the Edinburgh International Festival last summer, and two which won acclaim in Berlin and New York.

The company was founded nearly sixty years ago as a break-away group from the Dutch National Ballet. Under artistic director Jiri Kyliàn the company established itself with its avant-garde aesthetic and nonconformist, progressive productions. Sol León and Paul Lightfoot -who originally danced with the company- created their first work for it in 1989. They have been house choreographers of the Nederlands Dans Theater since 2002.

This programme at Sadler’s Wells will feature two very different works by León and Lightfoot, both of which were so well received last summer in Edinburgh: ‘Shoot the Moon’, an exploration of hidden emotions, to a score by Philip Glass, and ‘Stop-Motion’, an attempt to capture the past, set to Max Richter’s haunting music. In addition, there will be a work by Marco Goecke, Associate Choreographer, called ‘Woke up Blind’ and ‘The Statement’, a piece by Crystal Pite, Associate Choreograper and Sadler’s Well’s Associate Artist.

‘Shoot the Moon’, set to Philip Glass’s Tirol Concerto, for piano and orchestra, allows glimpses of the love life of three different couples. Revolving walls covered in black-and-white wallpaper create three separate rooms, each containing its own love story. It won the ‘De Zwaan’ award for best dance production in 2006: you will see why!

In ‘Stop-Motion’, also choreographed by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, a process of farewell and transformation is depicted, danced to a compilation of melancholic music by Max Richter. As ephemeral as the dust, which occasionally envelops them, they grace the stage like ghosts or spirits, lighting up and fading out.

The songs ‘You and I’ and ‘The Way Young Lovers do’, by Jeff Buckley, form the background to Marco Goecke’s choreography for ‘Woke up Blind’. The two female and five male dancers are drawn into an acoustic world in which they seem in contest with Buckley’s vocal power and his frenetic guitar songs.

The fourth piece is the work, ‘The Statement’, created by Crystal Pite, who is one of the most talented choreographers of her generation, and who is hugely in demand for commissions by the world’s greatest dance companies (including, last year, ‘Flight Pattern’, for the Royal Ballet). ‘The Statement’ is about a battle for control, based on a script written by playwright Jonathon Young, with whom Pite collaborated so successfully on the searingly poignant ‘Betroffenheit’, in 2016. In ‘The Statement’ four dancers share a heated conversation around a conference table, symbolising a corporate environment. Themes of control, moral conflict, responsibility and the inability to escape make this a gripping piece, boldly using dance as polemic.

This promises to be an extraordinary evening of contemporary dance. Please join the Anglo-Netherlands Society -together with Neerlandia- for this unique experience.