Nederlands Dans Theater

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Hans Van Manen (b. 1932)

Jiří Kylián (b. 1947)

Ohad Naharin (b. 1952)


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One of the most successful dance companies in the world, it was founded in 1959 by a group of breakaway dancers from Sonia Gaskell's Netherlands Ballet. They based their new company in The Hague, where it remains today, housed in superb purpose-built facilities. In 1960 Hans van Manen became the company's co-artistic director (with Benjamin Harkarvy) and chief choreographer. From the beginning the company eschewed the classics and the hierarchy of classical ballet and built up a repertoire of new Dutch work. Much influenced by the American modern dance scene, it became the first company in Europe to give its members classes in modern dance technique. American choreographers such as Butler, Sokolow, and Tetley worked with NDT and influenced its style. Important works of the 1960s and early 1970s include Butler's Carmina Burana, Tetley's Pierrot Lunaire, Mythical Hunters, Circles, Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain, van Manen's Symphony in Three Movements, Five Sketches, and Grosse Fuge. When Harkarvy, one of NDT's founders, resigned as co-artistic director in 1969, van Manen and Tetley assumed joint direction. Van Manen left in 1970 (although he returned in 1988 as resident choreographer) and the company's creativity suffered, but it was revitalized by the arrival in 1975 of the Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián. As artistic director he not only rewrote the repertory in his own image, creating the majority of its works, he also led the company to international success. Kylián's numerous works for NDT included Transfigured Night (1975), Symphony in D (1976), Symphony of Psalms (1978), Sinfonietta (1978), Glagolitic Mass (1979), Field Mass (1980), Forgotten Land (1981), Falling Angels (1989), Petite mort (1991), Bella Figura (1995), and Wings of Wax (1997). So successful was Kylián's leadership that he was able to create two smaller offshoot companies: NDT2, for junior dancers, and NDT3, for dancers aged 40 and over (although financial issues led to the effective disbanding of the latter in 2006). In 1995 Kylián celebrated his twenty years with NDT by staging Arcimboldo, which brought together all three NDT companies. In 1999 he stepped down as artistic director and was succeeded by Marian Sarstädt, followed by Anders Hellström (from 2005), and Jim Vincent (from 2009). Kylián remained with NDT until 2009, however, as artistic adviser and choreographer, making several works including Click-Pause-Silence (2001). In 2002 he was succeeded as resident choreographer by the husband and wife partnership of Paul Lightfoot and Sol León whose works for NDT have included Shutters Shut (2003) and Postscript (2005). Other choreographers to create recent work for the company include Jacopo Godani, Alexander Ekman, Crystal Pite, Tero Saarinen, and Naharin.

http://www.ndt.nl Website for NDT

Subjects: Dance.

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