Watch the pictures

Savoir Faire

Sol León & Paul Lightfoot Shut Eye
Marco Goecke Woke up Blind
Crystal Pite Partita for 8 Dancers

The performances in this programme have taken place in season 2017-2018. 

Savoir Faire unites NDT’s most prolific artistic voices in one evening; alongside a world premiere by associate choreographer Crystal Pite (Partita for 8 Dancers) the programme offers Shut Eye (2016) by house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot.

Crystal Pite’s gripping work is never afraid to explore the body’s full potential, and rarely escapes its relation to the group. Her latest piece, The Statement (2016) on scripted spoken word by Jonathon Young, had international audiences sitting on the edge of their seats. Pite has been an associate choreographer with the company since 2008.

I shut my eyes in order to see, a famous quote by painter Paul Gauguin, created the outline for Shut Eye. The work by NDT house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot fits in their oeuvre that spans over fifty ballets for the company, and is once again a reminder of the duo’s talent to capture poetry in modern dance, this time on the expressive music by composers Ólafur Arnalds and Bryce Dessner.

Watch the pictures of Savoir Faire.

Programme order

Shut Eye – Sol León & Paul Ligthfoot
Woke up Blind – Marco Goecke
Partita for 8 Dancers – Crystal Pite

Duration: 2 hours, including 1 intermission and 1 short intermission in the theatre hall

Performance dates

Season 2017-2018 | May 17 – June 9, 2018
The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Maastricht, Utrecht, Tilburg, Eindhoven

In this performance


I shut my eyes in order to see – Paul Gaugin

In Shut Eye, house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot have captured their innovative poetic approach towards contemporary dance once again. The piece expresses a world full of fantasy, that carries symbolic meanings behind the dynamic use of black and white, the respective light and shadow. Shut Eye offers the spectator a glimpse into a surrealistic world that asks the question: is what we see limited by our senses or is it conditioned by how we let our brain manipulate the image through our emotions? Shut Eye is dedicated to Georgi Milev.

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Shut Eye' by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot. Dancers: Marne van Opstal, Myrthe van Opstal.

Flashy, brilliant and with a large reservoir of melancholy.

on Shut Eye
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Woke up Blind' by Marco Goecke.

“The songs You and I and The way young lovers do by Jeff Buckley, who died tragically and young, deal with love in different ways: the first is slow, with very stretched-out vocals; the second has fast, almost hectic guitar accompaniment. Both songs form the basis for Marco Goecke’s choreography Woke up Blind. The two female and five male dancers are drawn into an acoustic world in which they excel in contesting with Buckley’s vocal power and his frenetic guitar sounds. Like young lovers, they throw themselves into the unknown regardless of the consequences, driven purely by longing. In Woke up Blind, Goecke has once again managed to reach the core of human emotions through pure, highly complex movement.” – Nadja Kadel

It is amazing to witness what the human body is capable of. The complexity of movement makes these dancers almost inhuman.

Leidsch Dagblad
on Woke up Blind

Partita is a simple piece. Born of a love of surface and structure, of the human voice, of dancing and tired ligaments, of music, and of our basic desire to draw a line from one point to another. – Caroline Shaw, composer, on Partita for 8 Voices

“What else could I do but respond with a dance? Partita for 8 Dancers is both an interpretation of Caroline’s piece and my way of expressing gratitude for it. During the creation process, her Partita was both a map and a mentor for me. It showed me the route and cheered me on as I followed it. There were times I felt as if Caroline drew a line right through me, connecting me to her, and onwards to you. Her music rings true in the way that geometry does, in the way that love does. There are infinite ways to render it visible… here is one of them.

I am grateful to the incredible dancers of NDT for their essential creative contributions to this work, and for their mastery and earnestness, which I find deeply moving. Thank-you to Renee Sigouin for helping me to remember and sort the source material, and to David Pay for connecting me to Caroline Shaw in the first place. Thank-you to my dear design team: Nancy, Tom and Jay, who never cease to amaze and inspire me. And thank you to NDT for giving me this precious opportunity to make something, and to share it with other humans in this, potent space.” – Crystal Pite

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Partita for 8 Dancers' by Crystal Pite. Dancers: Marne van Opstal, Myrthe van Opstal, Gregory Lau.

A dancer’s body can go from one point to the other in so many ways, making contact with others. That freedom within a given framework, and the awareness that other choices are possible, is exactly what makes Partita for 8 Dancers interesting.

NRC Handelsblad
on Partita for 8 Dancers

The dancers on 'Savoir Faire'

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Lydia Bustinduy.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Spencer Dickhaus.

“Marco always delights us with his humor during rehearsals while underneath the laughter it is clear to us the depth of his ideas. Bewildered by his quick movements one can unconsciously be overrun by repressed thoughts and find out that behind precision and correctness there is after all a romantic emotionalist.”


“Working with Crystal is a pleasure and an honour. Anyone who’s worked with her knows that’s wildly understated. She is simply wonderful. Her person, her patience, her belief, her generosity and vision, her determination and understanding all intersect to form the choreographer, and that’s what we get to work with. That’s the human, artist, captain at the front of the room, encompassing all of that, challenging us, asking of us, giving to us. And there’s the heart of the work: humanity; the joy, the grief, the pull and hold, the falling, the victory, the crumbling, the catching and then building. I am truly ecstatic to have had the privilege to develop, try and fail and try again, and to perform this work.”

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Prince Credell.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Carolina Mancuso.

Shut Eye was created about two years ago, and was originally dedicated to an amazing, former NDT dancer, Georgi Milev! Georgi has been an inspiration to both Paul and Sol, and his colleagues, including myself, throughout his career at the company.

In the early stages of the creation process, he helped inspire the various layered aspects of the work’s mood. Later in the process, the dancers were also given references to enhance their own character within the piece. One reference that really guided us in the coaching and construction of it was the artist Edward Gorey. His work is often stark, antique, and uncannily evokes the feeling of night. These cues helped us greatly to ‘set the stage’ for Shut Eye.”


“It is inspiring to be exposed to an artist that shares their way of being. A person that has the property of depth and (com) passion. Crystal jumps around when an idea emerges and shares her thoughts with smiles all the while remaining extremely aware of the time frame of each day. Her energy, determination and passion are contagious and I love to see these virtues in my colleagues. Throughout this journey she worked with both casts side by side while challenging her choreographic ideas, and continuing to work with us all on the quality of movement. I am proud to see my colleagues grow so much while taking these risks. It has been a pleasure to work with Crystal and I am excited to share the piece with the public.”

Programme booklet

Programme booklet (NDT 1 | Savoir Faire)