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NDT Summer Intensive 2016

Talent development

The NDT Summer Intensive 2016 has taken place in season 2015-2016.

From August 1 to August 13, 2016 the annual NDT Summer Intensive will take place. This edition is made possible by ABN AMRO, our partner in talent development. With the Summer Intensive, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) aims to stress the importance of talent development within our company, something which for artistic director Paul Lightfoot is of paramount importance: “What people should know when they enter these doors, is that NDT is about development.”

The NDT Summer Intensive offers an intensive course based on the artistic vision, methodology and repertoire of the company. The course takes place in NDT’s private studios in the Lucent Danstheater and concludes with the NDT Summer Intensive Presentation, also at the Lucent Dancetheater. Through this course participants get a comprehensive look behind the scenes and into the artistic heart of the company.

Besides the participants, the teachers will get the opportunity to develop themselves during the Summer Intensive as well, as they are NDT 1 dancers who in extension of their dancer’s careers can gain experience in coaching, teaching and choreographing. This year, the teachers are Lydia Bustinduy, Sarah Reynolds, Marne van Opstal, Myrthe van Opstal, Roger Van der Poel and Meng Ke Wu. They will rehearse repertoire by NDT house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot and associate choreographer Crystal Pite, among others.

During the course, students are divided into three age groups. The program reflects the daily schedule of NDT and includes morning ballet class, repertoire classes and working on new compositions. This year, the new compositions are created under the direction of choreographers Peter Chu, Menghan Lou and Lukáš Timulak.

The NDT Summer Intensive Presentation will conclude the course and takes place on Saturday, August 13 at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. This special evening is open to the public and will start at 7 pm. During this full evening program several open rehearsals from the of NDT repertoire and new compositions that were created during the course coexists.

NDT Summer Intensive is sponsored by ABN AMRO that generously support this project next to being one of NDT’s founding partners. ABN AMRO wants to encourage her talent program ‘Partner of the Future’ which supports ambitious individuals but also cultural, sports and educational institutions that aim to achieve something special.

Watch the photo’s of NDT Summer Intensive 2016.

Performance dates

Season 2015-2016 | August 1 until August 13, 2016
The Hague

It’s a massive honour and privilege working with these young talents. They are the future of dance. I am lucky to have the opportunity to share some of the knowledge I have gained over the course of my career with them. The Summer Intensive is a wonderfully juicy dose of the NDT repertory with a generous amount of passion, hard work and motivation. The modern traditions associated with the NDT style as we create every day in the studio are learnt from each other. I hope to be able to pass this on to our participants.”

Sarah Reynolds, teacher
about NDT Summer Intensive 2016


Peter Chu


Menghan Lou

Lukáš Timulak


It is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved to share and live this experience to the fullest. Time seems to be compressed for a little and therefore it is sort of a reminder to live ‘right now’ in the moment and make the best out of it.”

Lukáš Timulak, choreographer
about NDT Summer Intensive 2016

Interview: “I love being a part of their two-week ride in this great madness that is dance!”

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Roger Van der Poel.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Artistic Director: Paul Lightfoot.

NDT 1 dancer Roger Van der Poel (Portugal, 1983) has been a member of the company since 2006 and performed in numerous ballets by critically acclaimed choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Jiří Kylián, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, and Crystal Pite. Roger’s striving for perfection made him pay attention to choreographic details, which resulted in taking steps towards teaching. This year he will be part of the NDT Summer Intensive teaching staff for the sixth year in a row. NDT’s artistic director Paul Lightfoot sits down with Roger to talk about his participation in the Summer Intensive.

P I’m curious to know in what way teaching for NDT Summer Intensive added value to your career as a dancer?

R To me, being a good dancer isn’t only about how well you execute steps on stage. There is much more to it! Teaching for the Summer Intensive has made me see things through different perspectives and it has improved some of my skills as a dancer. When I became a teacher, I began relating to those who taught me in the past and those who still do. It made me more aware of what the position entails and that makes me value the people in that role much more. It reinforced my professionalism. My relationship with ballet masters and choreographers has always been one of respect, understanding and complicity, but teaching enhanced that for me. As for my dancing, I learn steps faster, achieve refinement and precision in movement more efficiently, make smarter choices on how to communicate and manage diverse work situations. Ultimately, it developed me artistically!

P And what is it like for you to work with young dancers, how do you connect with them?

R It requires having my senses be more awake. I need to be open and sensitive to the students, because everyone is different. I observe how they work, move, and deal with challenges and obstacles and how they relate to others in the group. Spotting strengths and weaknesses and using those to improve oneself is essential. Being a dancer or a teacher is much more than just relating to steps or movement, it is also (and very importantly) about work ethic. I believe communication, clarity, respect and motivation play a strong role in getting the best out of people. I ‘roll’ and ‘ride the wave’ with the students during our time together and see where it leads us. At the end of the day, the NDT Summer Intensive is all about the exchange, the overall experience.

P So during this exchange between teacher and student, where do you find challenges or what excites you?

R The overall challenge is to help each dancer reach the highest level of technicality and artistry within their potential: finding the best way to explain physically or verbally what it is you are aiming to see or feel from them, helping them spot the details that need attention, and when in big groups, giving everyone enough space and attention to develop themselves to the highest degree possible. What I find exciting is to see the results of our work together. Seeing their progression and fast development, watching them go through the stages of curiosity, doubt and frustration, all the way to their ‘eureka’ moments when things fall into place. I love being a part of their two-week ride in this great madness that is dance!

P And of course, you rehearse pieces with the participants that you performed in yourself. What is it like for you to pass on the repertoire to a younger generation?

R Since I know the repertoire quite well, it makes it easier for me to pass on the information, and give my personal tips and tricks. What is amazing is how much I get back from it! I learn new things myself by teaching it and by watching them. Every time I had to perform a piece after having taught it during the NDT Summer Intensive, I have performed it so much better. I feel it sinks deeper in me and the understanding of it becomes greater. Sometimes it is important to step out, see it from the outside, and then get back into it. The approach is usually different and that is useful.

I love passing it on to a younger generation. It is so fulfilling to see hungry young aspiring artists
experience, strive and thrive in something of this level of difficulty. I love to share something I experienced, that means so much to so many of them!

P So ultimately, what would you like to pass on to your students during the NDT Summer Intensive for their future career in dance?

R I want to inspire and motivate them, to share my experience and knowledge and, last but not least, make a positive mark that will make them remember our time together.


Sacha Grootjans has been dedicated to photography since 2009. Dance photography is one of his greatest passions and he has been creating images for NDT’s Talent Development & Education department since 2012. It is the third time Grootjans documented the NDT Summer Intensive. Tonight, the results of his unique visual registration are displayed in the photo exhibition and this programme booklet.

Sacha Grootjans

Sacha Grootjans: “What fascinates me in photography is the search. A search to improve, to evoke and to surprise. Directing or simply observing, finding the moments that move me and make me want to capture it at the same time. I’m fascinated by people in motion and their ability to master their body or craft to perfection.

In creating images for the NDT Summer Intensive 2016, I sought to capture two contrasting sides of the course. Anybody looking at these dancers, will immediately experience an overwhelming sense of positive energy, beauty and elegance. Participants who give their heart and soul to the movements, enjoying every minute of it. But this ‘light side’ inevitably comes with a ‘darker side’. Moments of struggle, fatigue, confrontation and frustration that are also a part of the experience. This duality fascinates me and resulted in opposing black and white images that testify to this contrast of struggle and relief.

Tonight, a photo exhibition with large size prints of my images invites the audience to truly get involved in the images and the emotion they evoke. Not as a bystander, but as a first hand experience.”


NDT Summer Intensive changed my life, it’s changing it now and I’m sure it will change it again and again.

Lua Mayenco Cardenal, Groep C
about NDT Summer Intensive 2016