NDT2 review – dancing clean enough to eat your dinner off | Stage


NDT2 is a company of incredible dancers. The younger sibling of Nederlands Dans Theater is made up of the best of international dance graduates (under new artistic director Emily Molnar). Maybe there’s something magic in the energy and ambition and discipline you take into your first big job, matched with precocious technique.

It shows in Hans van Manen’s Simple Things, from 2001, a quartet danced with immense finesse, the performers’ classical grounding evident in smooth-as-silk chainé turns and silent, springing jumps. The technical command and celerity of the dancers shows in an entirely different way in Marco Goecke’s new work The Big Crying, with its sharp, glitching angles, fast-forward speed and precise articulation. They nail its demanding complexity. Ricardo Hartley III is especially eye-catching, stretching into the most elastic backbend, his dancing so clean you could eat your dinner off it.

They nail its demanding complexity … NDT2 in Marco Goecke’s The Big Crying.
They nail its demanding complexity … NDT2 in Marco Goecke’s The Big Crying. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/the Guardian

Goecke made the piece after the death of his father (the tops the dancers wear are intended to look like the curtains of a hearse) but it has none of the cliches of grief – no gut-clutching despair, no collapse. His dancers’ world is full of angry jolts, like compulsive thoughts, and a sense of disconnect, from time or the world around them. There’s a striking moment where two dancers throw their chests together, repeatedly and robotically, as if trying to connect at the heart, but nothing yields – the thing is, with work as slick and stylised as this, there’s always the risk the audience feels that sense of distance, too. There’s an interestingly disjointed relationship with Goecke’s chosen soundtrack, songs by Tori Amos, the tumbling waves of piano and her breathy dream-voice up against the severe accents of the dance.

A final new piece, Impasse, by Johan Inger, gets us closer to the dancers’ youthful freedom. A trio, at first playfully carefree, are subsumed by encroaching tribes, first a black-clad clan doing sexy Latin hips, then wild, fancy-dressed party animals. The idea’s about the power of peer pressure, the ease with which we follow the crowd. I’m not sure how deeply the work explores its themes but as you can guarantee with NDT2, it has some fantastic dancing.

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