NDT2’s Young Dancers Perform in Different Dance


Various composers: NDT2, Dance Consortium, Sadler’s Wells, London, 17.5.2016. (J.O’D)


NDT2’s Cacti with Katarina van den Wouwer & Gregory Lau
(c) Johan Persson


Choreographers: Sol León and Paul Lightfoot
Dancers: Katarina van den Wouwer, Alexander Anderson

Sad Case

Choreographers: Sol León and Paul Lightfoot
Dancers: Alice Godfrey, Gregory Lau, Rachel McNamee, Miguel Duarte, Guido Dutilh

Some Other Time

Choreographers: Sol León and Paul Lightfoot
Dancers: Madoka Kariya, Gregory Lau, Xanthe van Opstal, Paxton Ricketts, Fay van Baar, Grace Lyell, Aya Misaki, Ster Slijkhuis, Alexander Cyr Bezuijen, Graham Kaplan, Hélias Tur-Dorvault, Benjamin Behrends

mutual comfort

Choreographer: Edward Clug
Dancers: Alice Godfrey, Alexander Anderson, Katarina van den Wouwer, Gregory Lau


Choreographer: Hans van Manen
Dancers: Gregory Lau, Hélias Tur-Dorvault, Miguel Duarte


Choreographer: Alexander Ekman
Dancers: Fay van Baar, Alice Godfrey, Madoka Kariya, Grace Lyell, Rachel McNamee, Aya Misaki, Xanthe van Opstal, Katarina van den Wouwer, Alexander Anderson, Alexander Cyr Bezuijen, Miguel Duarte, Guido Dutilh, Graham Kaplan, Gregory Lau, Paxton Ricketts, Hélias Tur-Dorvault

Founded by the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1978, NDT2 aims to develop classically-trained dancers between the ages of 18 and 23 in a variety of ‘dance languages’. Over a three-year period, a programme note explains, ‘the dancers perfect a range of styles and genres in which technique is a means to achieving their artistic core as world class performers’. Cut-and-pasted photographs on the programme’s cover show some of the dancers flying through the air, or suspended in it, like unitarded superheroes and superheroines of dance.

The focus on technique is clear in the opening work by ‘house choreographers’ Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. Hips, bottoms, necks, shoulders, spines; there is not a part of their bodies that the dancers do not move in expert and unexpected ways. They might ‘give the hand gracefully’, like the ballet dancers they are. They might shove their partner with a shoulder, or kick out a foot. There’s no way of telling which it will be.

Two pieces from 2014 and one from 1998 put together as a triple bill, this is a sprawling and incoherent start. Successful as a display of the dancers’ talents, it taxes the audience. The frequently changing, recorded music does not help. In its final section, though, is a duet to which Madoka Kariya and Paxton Ricketts bring something that is not technique.

The evening could have ended after that. (For some people in the audience it did.) Having set out its wares so exhaustively, there was little left for the company to do. Yet there were three more dance pieces, with their recorded music, to come.

Edward Clug’s shorter and more contained mutual comfort (2015) was striking for the way one of its dancers, lying face down on the floor, sent a slow wave of movement from her legs to her fingertips. In Solo (1997) by Hans van Manen, three men compete not to dance to the music of a Bach partita for violin, but to turn their fast-moving bodies into the music. Gregory Lau was especially adept, and the audience cheered. But the travelling spins that the men perform, first towards the back of the stage, then towards the audience, made me think of the so much more lyrical way this was done in The Royal Ballet’s La Bayadère three years ago.

Alexander Ekman’s Cacti (2010) is another display piece, divided like the opening work into seemingly unrelated sections. On low pedestals, the sixteen dancers run on the spot and shimmy to feverish arrangements of music by Schubert, Haydn and Beethoven as if taking part in an opening ceremony for the Olympic Games. Two of them then perform a duet to the sound of two dancers talking archly about the movement as it is performed. Finally, all the other dancers return holding models of potted cacti as the voice of a ‘creator’ (prefiguring that of choreographer Hofesch Shechter in his later works?) muses on the significance of these. I’m sure it was all very clever, and all very good. But what I will remember most about the evening is Madoka Kariya and Paxton Ricketts, in their duet.

John O’Dwyer


Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Hampstead Garden Opera Bring The Enchanted Pig to Highgate in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • NEW! Svetlana Zakharova and Bolshoi Stars Bring Amore to the London Coliseum in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Tom Green and Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife Premieres on 15 October in Cardiff __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Autumn/Winter Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H