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Nederlands Dans Theater 1 – León & Lightfoot / Pite / Goecke

STOP-MOTION Rahi Rezvani
STOP-MOTION Rahi Rezvani

Nederlands Dans Theater 1 at Sadler’s Wells from 26th to 29th June is performing a substantial and enjoyable production of contemporary dance in four tonally varied and highly skilled pieces. Created by choreographers Sol Leon & Paul Lightfoot, Crystal Pite and Marco Goecke they combine together well.

Shoot the Moon is filmic in stage style as well as the projections overhead. Being used to minimalistic staging in contemporary dance it was an almost radical reminding jolt of how effective the right scenery can be as an aid to the metaphor of dance. It’s performed in a revolving set of wallpapered rooms with windows and doors, the projections on the screens above showing a different perspective, from inside. Scenes of intimacy alternate with the claustrophobia of confinement all successfully communicated through the choreography as well as the complementary camera work. Set to Philip Glass’s Movement II from the Tirol Concerto the work (twenty-three minutes long ) was moving and engaging, setting a high standard for the evening from the beginning.

After a twenty-minute interval Woke Up Blind was performed, sounding so intriguing using the music of Jeff Buckley. Choreographed by Marco Goecke and performed at speed by seven dancers with projections the piece raised differing associations of nature, emotions and other places, in particular, the American South. See it and decide for yourself.

The Statement, choreographed by Crystal Pite, was premiered in February 2016. A 19-minute long political piece, written by Jonathon Young, it deals with the repressive, repetitive processes in a system in which individuality is suppressed in order to achieve compliance. The relevance of this piece is unmistakable, an Orwellian foretelling, in June 2018 with Trump’s America running amok.

The voice selected for the narrative and the staccato, taut dance movements used to communicate tension and menace were reminiscent of some sections of the award-winning Betroffenheit by the same duo. There was clever use of the different levels provided by a table in the choreography as well as the lovely interchangeability of bodies. Crystal Pite is a star choreographer.

After another interval, Stop-Motion started the final section of the evening. Thirty-four minutes long the audience loved the piece performed by eight dancers and choreographed by Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot. Performed to Max Richter’s music there were special effects created by lighting and much white powder as well as magical projections including one of a magical flying being across a night sky, in which I could have sworn I saw a star. This piece won the standing ovation of the night.

4 stars

Review by Marian Kennedy

The celebrated NDT returns with a revelatory programme featuring two works by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot: Shoot the Moon, an exploration of hidden emotions to a score by Philip Glass, and Stop-Motion, an attempt to capture the past, set to Max Richter’s haunting music.

There’s a battle for control in The Statement, created by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Crystal Pite with playwright Jonathon Young, the masterminds behind the Olivier Award-winning Betroffenheit. And Marco Goecke takes inspiration from the music of Jeff Buckley in the emotion-driven Woke up Blind.

Nederlands Dans Theater 1 — León & Lightfoot / Pite / Goecke
26 – 29 Jun 2018
Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R


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