Nederlands Dans Theatre 2 – Bord Gáis Energy Theatre – Review
02 – 03 May 2022
NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER 2 – Produced by Dance Consortium
Nederlands Dans Theater is one of the foremost dance theatre companies in the world. NDTI (Nederland Dans Theater I) was founded in 1959 and has 30 dancers. Nearly twenty years later, NDTII was founded in 1978 for 16 dancers. The piece performed in the Bord Gais Theatre involves three separate works by celebrated choreographers Marco Goecke (Germany), Hans van Manen (The Netherlands) and Johan Inger (Sweden). The three pieces are broken up by two 20-minute intervals.
The Big Crying by Marco Goecke was the first work on the night and it is set to a series of songs by Tori Amos, including Death Lullaby, Blood Roses and a loose cover version of the REM classic Losing by Religion. It is the most intense of the three works and was written shortly after the death of the choreographer’s father. It starts with a lone dancer on stage with a flame burning above his head before he is slowly joined by the rest of the ensemble. At one point, the dancers laugh as they leave the stage before the laughs slowly turn into sobs. At other times, the dancers let out blood-curdling screams, echoing the pain of loss. The lighting is suitably moody, with the performers lurking in the half-light, barely visible at the edge of the stage.
The middle piece was Simple Things and it is the oldest of the three works, created for NDT 2 in 2001. It is a piece for two couples (two men and two women) who perform in various groupings. The music includes a piano piece (Haydn’s Piano Trio No 28 in E major) as well as a modern jaunty piece for piano and accordion. The movement explores the relationships between the couples. The title of the piece gives you an impression of the aim, with its choreographer (Hans van Manen) providing “a master class in simplicity”.
IMPASSE was the final piece of the night, and possibly the most successful. It features the music of French-Lebanese jazz trumpeter and composer, Ibrahim Maalouf (including Lily Will Soon Be A Woman and Never Serious). As the music slowly changes, the performance varies in terms of the number of dancers, as well as costumes and arrangements. At the end of the set, the dancers perform as the curtain slowly descends upon them, like they are fighting for the final moments of our attention. The piece is by Swedish choreographer Johan Inger and is said to “celebrate the strength of togetherness over isolation in our world today”.
There is no clear connection between the three pieces and it is interesting to see three works that are so different in tone over the course of the evening. The audience is brought on quite a journey and the final piece IMPASSE is the perfect ending.
It is fair to say the Irish viewing public is somewhat reticent to embrace the art of dance. Our culture is more interested in the written word with our proud tradition of writers but with the obvious exception of the Dublin Dance Festival (17th – 29th May) it is rare to see Dance of this quality on our shores. This is a chance to see some of the finest practitioners of this art form. The piece spans a range of emotions and will leave you in awe of the skill of the performers.