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Debut Works are a Triumph in NDT2's 'The play between'

by Helma Klooss
November 26, 2021
Amare
The Hague, OT (Netherlands)
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
Two choreographers new to working with Nederlands Dans Theater's second company were invited to create new works for NDT2's young dancers, ages 18-22. Both provided surprising results that received standing ovations.

Israeli Nadav Zelner, who has created works for Batsheva Dance Company and Gauthier Dance Company among others, led off NDT2's program, The play between on November 4 with the premiere of "Bedtime Story".

On an empty stage, dancer Annika Verplancke lay stretching, bending, twisting, moving her limbs in all directions. Her angular and peculiar movement followed the Andre Hajj & Ensemble's folk music with its stirring rhythm. Costumed like a schoolgirl in a white blouse, short dark skirt and long knee socks, her body appeared elastic in Zelner's choreography.

More dancers, in black nightwear, joined Verplancke in synchronous movements. The tight-knit group of nine became more energetic and speedy in their movements as the music switched to Al Ajaleh's Bat Sheva Music with its delightful rhythms.

Halfway through the work, the music calmed and the dancing became more sensual. Duets formed with the intertwining of arms and legs. One with two men in panties under a long coat looked very seductive. By work's end, Verplancke was once again isolated from the group and her performance showed she was not only the star of "Bedtime Story," but of the entire program.

Spanish choreographer Marcos Morau's Folkâ came next. Morau, who is versed in photography as well as dance and theater, had his own ensemble La Veronal for ten years. Those experiences informed his choreography and scenic design for the work.

Morau said previously of his tight connection with folklore in the making of Folkâ: "It is the expression of the customs and traditions of the people, it is the celebration of life and the honor of death through music, dance, symbols, legends or superstitions. We are part of an endless cycle. 'Folkå' is a song of life, a night of offering and celebration."

Indeed, it was a tribal dance and one to remember.

It began with NDT2's ensemble sitting in a circle on the floor. Both male and female dancers were costumed in long and wide black pleated skirts with black suspenders, high-necked printed blouses as on an Alpine meadow. In the stirring music for the work, we hear the sound of cow bells along with the other instruments.

The dancers then got down on their knees, arms stretched out in all directions in constant synchronous motion. After standing, they put their hands on each other's backs.
The group remained a closed bastion, constantly changing poses until dispersing in synchronous movements only to form a circle once again as one dancer was carried away.

Also, included in the work was a clear reference to Bronislava Nijinska's "Les Noces" (1923), in which NDT2's dancers rested their heads one on top of the other.

As the piece wound down, the ensemble pointed upwards, as we heard the music of a choir. One dancer then rose from the group, wobbly as if in a trance, and then collapsed. A stage curtain then rose to show a starry sky and the dancers all separated from each other to indulge in a whirling dervish-like dance.
NDT2 in Nadav Zelner's 'Bedtime Stories'.

NDT2 in Nadav Zelner's "Bedtime Stories".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


NDT2's Annika Verplancke in Nadav Zelner's 'Bedtime Stories'.

NDT2's Annika Verplancke in Nadav Zelner's "Bedtime Stories".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


NDT2 in Nadav Zelner's 'Bedtime Stories'.

NDT2 in Nadav Zelner's "Bedtime Stories".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


NDT2 in Marcos Morau's 'Folkâ'.

NDT2 in Marcos Morau's "Folkâ".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


NDT2 in Marcos Morau's 'Folkâ'.

NDT2 in Marcos Morau's "Folkâ".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani


NDT2 in Marcos Morau's 'Folkâ'.

NDT2 in Marcos Morau's "Folkâ".

Photo © & courtesy of Rahi Rezvani

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