Nederlands Dans Theater


From its home base in The Hague, Nederlands Dans Theater makes contemporary dance which every year tens of thousands of people from all over the world come to enjoy. The company is led by artistic director Paul Lightfoot and consists of two groups: Nederlands Dans Theater 1 and Nederlands Dans Theater 2, together good for 160 performances a year at home and abroad. Thanks to Nederlands Dans Theater’s quality, the dance company has been one of the most important figureheads of Dutch art abroad for years. 

NDT abroad

The story of NDT abroad starts with Jiří Kylián’s story about the creation process of his renowned ballet Sinfonietta in 1978. It was this ballet which made NDT famous worldwide. Sinfonietta marked the start of NDT’s reputation as a worldfamous dancecompany which the company still holds today. 

Sinfonietta is perhaps my most spontaneous work - not by aim, but because of the extremely limited time and conditions in which it was created. The company was floating and had no definite plans for the future. There was unrest among the dancers. During this time I received a telephone call from Joseph Wishy, then the director of the Charleston Festival, who had asked me whether I had ever heard of the composer named Janácek? I answered, that I always wanted to, but never had the guts to use his work, as the task seemed so filled with responsibility towards this music, which every visitor of our house was forced to listen to. My bones and reins were soaked in it. I was advised not to accept the offer to choreograph this work for the Charleston Festival, as the production time which was at our disposal, would be severely limited. Tickled by a sense of adventure and feeling that the time was right - I said yes. Walter Nobbe, the designer of this piece, held my hand when I took the decision to demonstrate his support. Sold to the devil - now we had to make it. Rehearsing whilst on tour in Israel, asking de dancers to work overtime and myself making impossible hours, we made it. And the result certainly reflects the spontaneity in which it was created, conditioned by the lack of time and the feeling of a balancing act. Nevertheless, the result was quite remarkable. The audience which was present at the premiere in Charleston had never heard of the music, because they already stood on top of their chairs cheering and throwing the programme books into the air. This was the moment that tore the company out of depression and this work where simplicity is one of the major characteristics, became a cornerstone of the repertoire of Nederlands Dans Theater, opening new possibilities for the company's future.(Jiří Kylián)

Ever since this breakthrough in 1978 NDT holds a firm position in the international field of dance. During the past decades the company has built a loyal audience from London, New York, Madrid to Singapore. Nowadays half of NDT’s 150 shows is presented in theatres outside of NDT’s homebase The Hague in The Netherlands.

The widely lauded group, which was here for the Singapore Arts Festival, has garnered quite a following among Singapore Audiences. (Singapore Times)