Dance Review: Nederlands Dans Theater – Arts Centre, Melbourne (22.06.16)

It’s not often you attend a show and leave feeling completely enamoured. Dance is such an expressive form of the human body and to see the physical and emotional commitment from every single dancer on the stage was spellbinding. We had a chat with Artistic Director Paul Lightfoot in the lead up to the Nederlands Dans Theater‘s (NDT) arrival in Melbourne, a perfect way to understand the mechanics of such an internationally renowned company.

The evening was a triptych of compelling art that featured works by Lightfoot and his partner Sol León, as well as Crystal Pite. The beauty of contemporary dance is its ability to be interpreted in many different ways, and these three stunning works took us on a journey of bewilderment and captivated our hearts in ways we never thought possible.

Lightfoot and León mesmerised us with their opening piece Sehnsucht as the dancers defied gravity in their own wistful way. The cubed set that rotated on its axis with dancers Parvaneh Scharafali and Medhi Walerski counterbalancing it was nothing short of electrifying, and showed how incredibly strong and trustworthy they are to each other. Soloist Prince Credell was outstanding as his athleticism and freedom of movement captivated us all. As the piece expanded into a company number, we were able to see just how beautiful the spirit of this company really is. Each dancer is deserving to be on the stage and what they give of themselves is more than we could ever imagine. Technique aside, they are masters at what they do.

Here is a company that prides itself on the calibre of dancers in it, but to actually see it come to life leaves goosebumps all over your body.

NDT SEHNSUCHT credit Rahi Rezvani

Pite’s piece Solo Echo had to be one of the most awe-inspiring pieces of the evening. Right from the onset, pocket rocket dancer Jon Bond impressed and set the tone for 19 minutes. As the ensemble of seven dancers flowed effortlessly between each other through fluid, controlled movement, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of other-worldliness, especially as the stage glimmered with snow-like speckles.

NDT's SOLO ECHO credit Rahi Rezvani

To complete the triptych was Stop-Motion, the second piece of work from Lightfoot and León. It is so hard to find the words that will give this piece justice, but the intricacies and finesse of each individual was brought to light through stunning choreography. Here is a company who moves with one breath, and is capable of hypnotising you into a state of euphoria. The overall staging and lighting design were impeccable, and complemented the emotional charge each dancer possessed.

If ever there was a way to truly understand the beauty and power of dance, then this right here is it. NDT is the real deal and its dancers are nothing short of inspiring. We cannot stress enough how valuable a company like this is – the pride and perfection it resonates must be experienced by all around the world.


Nederlands Dans Theater performed shows from June 22nd-25th at Melbourne’s Arts Centre.

The reviewer attended the show on opening night June 22nd.


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