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Den Haag (The Hague), OT (Netherlands)
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REVIEW: NDT 2 Shines in 'Standalone'

by Helma Klooss
March 14, 2020
Zuiderstrandtheater
Houtrustweg 505
Den Haag (The Hague), OT (Netherlands) 2583 WB
+31(0)70 88 00 333
Helma Klooss is a Netherlands-based dance writer and festival organizer. More about her dance festivals can be found at www.danskaravaan.nl, www.danskaravaan-educatief.nl and www.stranddans.nl
Before the Covid-19 pandemic swept over the globe and ground dance performances to a halt, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (NDT 2) presented its production Standalone, February 28 at Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague (the program's tour was subsequently cancelled).

The mixed repertory program featured a world premiere by choreographer Johan Inger, two works by Ohad Naharin along with company directors Sol León and Paul Lightfoot's "Postscript". A review of each work follows:

Postscript (2005)

"Postscript", choreographed by León and Lightfoot for NDT 1, is one of their most pure and elegant ballets. Philip Glass composed the score "Metamorphoses" for violin and piano on folded music paper. This score is framed and mounted on the left wall. Violist Hebe Mensinga walked along the score while playing from it live. In the first part of the choreography, Kyle Robinson stood still as a statue in a walking pose. Two male and one female dancer, all dressed in long white pants and bare upper body, dance in unison. With elegant dance phrases they moved over the stage in huge steps, turns and arabesques. Large bent arm movements made them look like birds on the smooth rhythm of the violin. Pianist Jan Schouten then took over the music, seated on the right side of the stage. While Robinson stayed put, the tall Auguste Palayer danced an intimate duet with petite Mikaela Kelly. He lifted her far above his head and turned her lovingly around in his arms. Their difference in height added an extra intimacy. "Postscript" was a premiere for these youngsters of 18-23 and danced full of sensitivity.

George & Zalman (2006)

Ohad Naharin choreographed "George & Zalman" on music by Arvo Pärt, Für Alina, and added lyrics of Charles Bukowski.
It is a wonderful piece for five women in black short dresses, who are performing as a group. The movements matched the spoken text of Bukowski’s poem and consecutively one dancer broke out from the quintet of women, did her individual moves and rejoined the group again. From the start the group repeated their movements and added new ones. Their hands went frantic when the word "spider" was heard, they beat their stomachs at the words "belly full of beans". The text continued with: "pay your bills, make money, but don’t work too hard, drink to relax, fuck and if you cannot, copulate, etc. etc."
This ballet was hilariously funny and tightly danced by NDT 2's beauties!

Black Milk (1985)

Choreographer Ohad Naharin created "Black Milk" for five male dancers wearing only skirts. Again four dancers stayed together while one broke out. On the sound of marimbas, the dancers jumped and ran around full of energy. A soloist stayed with a bucket full of mud and rubbed his face and naked torso with the grey stuff. The others joined in, all rubbing themselves and rinsed themselves a moment later. This ballet, an initiation ritual, burst with energy and was completely different in content, form and implementation, from "George & Zalman" which makes these creations of Naharin so valuable.

Impasse (World Premiere)

Swedish choreographer Johan Inger created "Impasse" with an urgent message. "Our world today feels defined by a situation in which no progress seems possible…human behavior is rooted in peer pressure and a loss of self, determined by a seduction of unending streams of newness."

On the attractive jazzy piano compositions of Ibrahim Maaloof, the ballet starts out as in an idyllic world. Happy hopping dancers get out of a house and dance around as big children. Their dreamlike attitude becomes more serious when a man and woman in black join them and a stylized group dance follows. Thereafter, a colorful trio joins in with folklore dancing on swinging, jazzy symphonic music. More and more carnival types join in and it completely gets out of hand in a burlesque and vaudeville feast. Madness all around however the work's serious message didn’t come across. Nonetheless NDT 2's dancers were excellent.
Sol León and Paul Lightfoot's 'Postscript'.

Sol León and Paul Lightfoot's "Postscript".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


Sol León and Paul Lightfoot's 'Postscript'.

Sol León and Paul Lightfoot's "Postscript".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


Ohad Naharin's 'George & Zalman'.

Ohad Naharin's "George & Zalman".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


Ohad Naharin's 'George & Zalman'.

Ohad Naharin's "George & Zalman".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


Ohad Naharin's 'Black Milk'.

Ohad Naharin's "Black Milk".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani

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