Watch the pictures

Smoke and Mirrors

Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal The Grey
Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar Sara
Marco Goecke Midnight Raga
Sol León & Paul Lightfoot SH-BOOM!

The performances in this programme have taken place in season 2016-2017.

The second programme for NDT 2 is an embarrassment of riches in contrasts. Smoke and Mirrors presents two world premieres by associate choreographer Marco Goecke (Midnight Raga), and up and coming choreographers Imre van Opstal and Marne van Opstal (The Grey), in addition to a revival of SH-BOOM! (2000) by house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. All five creators differ greatly in style, age, background and aesthetic, challenging the young dancers of the company to quickly adapt to the wide variety of works that has come to signify NDT’s outstanding quality.

Associate choreographer Marco Goecke reappears this season to create a new piece for the second company. This world class, top notch choreographer shares the stage with beginning choreographers Imre van Opstal and Marne van Opstal, that will make their first ever piece for the company Smoke and Mirrors is concluded with SH-BOOM! by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot and consists of a range of comical scenes from post-war songs from around the world.

Watch the pictures of Smoke and Mirrors.

Programme order

The Grey – Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal
Sara – Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar
Midnight Raga – Marco Goecke
SH-BOOM! -Sol León & Paul Lightfoot

Duration: 2 hours and 10 minutes, including 2 intermissions

Performance dates

Season 2016-2017 | March 30 – June 1, 2017
The Hague, Heerlen, Drachten, Amstelveen, Breda, Amsterdam, Gouda, Tiel, Dordrecht, Venlo, Rotterdam, Enschede, Den Bosch, Nijmegen

In this performance


“This work invites you into a story. From a desire to stop time, it explores ways to rethink or re-live a passage in life. A path made through choices and actions. Every choice potentially being a pivotal moment, with an array of different outcomes.

A lapse… This soundless stolen time allows us to wonder with growing questions. What has happened? Where do we go? What are the consequences? Are these matters of faith?

Like clouds hovering between the sky and earth, they convey the hiddenness as well as the manifestation of the divine. Will we ever truly know what was meant to be?

Like clouds, we are in constant state of creation… never black nor white. Whichever choice we make, we always find ourselves in between, in the grey.” – Imre van Opstal en Marne van Opstal

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'The Grey' van Imre by Opstal & Marne van Opstal.

Circulating movements become meetings, an individual is taken in by the group only to be spit out again. This is how an image of unending movement unfolds, flowing or scaccato, fast or delayed.

NRC Handelsblad
on The Grey
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Sara' by Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar.

Sara was created in 2013 and has been composed for NDT 2 especially. The choreography revolves around memories, dreams, emotions, inspiration, loneliness, sorrow, and sharing. “It springs from the subconscious, but is very humane at the same time”, says choreographer Sharon Eyal. The mysterious dream world originates fully from the creators’ feelings and intuitions.

Israeli choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar have been an innovative pair in the contemporary dance world for years. For this creation for NDT 2 they worked with long term collaborator and musician Ori Lichtik. In these multi-disciplinary efforts movement, sound and lighting stand side by side, creating pieces that exceed the borders of ‘traditional’ contemporary dance and turn all the elements into equal protagonists.

The piece is captivating until the very end, despite the minimalistic movements and a minimalistic use of space.

on Sara

“Goecke combines a deep midnight blue with his piece Midnight Raga, the title of which hearkens back to classical Indian music. Usually, Goecke does not begin a piece with music. This time it is different: the Indian music by Ravi Shankar is the starting point. The choreographer liked both the Indian mysticism and the “freaky” quality of the music. He was also excited by the idea of using Indian music without resorting to elements of Indian dance at all. “I have been fascinated by India for a long time now, because life there is so concentrated, intense, and seemingly immaterial yet at the same time many people die in the most bitter poverty. I also think the ritual cremations after death have a captivating and annihilating power.” Despite the Asian-Indian inspiration – also reflected in the heavy blue silks of the costumes –, one thing is unmistakable right from the start: the presence of Goecke’s very own, nervous movement language; tailor-made for these two dancers, who have internalized it in every fibre of their bodies.” – Nadja Kadel

Photo; Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Midnight Raga' by Marco Goecke.

Midnight Raga is intense and groteske. The dancers shake nervously, either solo or together.

on Midnight Raga
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'SH-BOOM!' by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot.

The dream of reason produces monsters. Imagination deserted by reason creates impossible, useless thoughts. United with reason imagination is the mother of all art and the source of all its beauty. – Francisco Goya

Sol León and Paul Lightfoot created SH-BOOM! in 1994 for the annual Dancers Choreography Workshop, now called Switch. The piece marks the beginning of their successful collaboration and is therefore of great importance for the choreographic duo, not in the least because León herself performed in the piece. The work combines humour with irony and expresses how people from different backgrounds conduct and relate to one another. Inspired by Francisco de Goya’s satirical black & white sketches, SH-BOOM! masterfully intertwines the dark side (irony) and the light side (humour).

In the finale the dancers become automatons: slinky figures able to slip in and out of one another’s arms with speedy efficiency.

New York Times

The dancers on 'Smoke and Mirrors'

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Alexander Anderson.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Aya Misaki.

“It has been so much fun working on this creation by Imre and Marne. The piece has evolved greatly since the beginning of the process when we started working with them, and I feel that the premiere will not necessarily mark an ending but a beginning for new growth within the work.

Imre and Marne’s movement language is quite complex and interweaved with multiple layers of textures and colors that fill the space. This creative process in particular has made me start to think more actively about how I approach work as a dancer, both as an individual as well as (part of) a collective, as we each carry something very special throughout every section of the work to convey its message.”


“During SH-BOOM!’s rehearsal I could not stop thinking about NDT’s history. At the time the piece was created in 1994, Sol León and Nancy Euverink were in the original cast. Since then many amazing dancers have performed this heartfelt and fun piece, which has always been warmly appreciated by both dancers and the audience.

It exemplifies how the work of NDT has surpassed its own time ever since the company was established in 1959. To me that is so beautiful and special. This is the first time that NDT 2 performs SH-Boom! I was very happy to work on it because once again I could feel the great weight and depth of this ballet and to be a dancer with NDT. I want to bring a new energy to the piece, that hopefully will make me become a little shiny part of NDT’s long and beautiful history.”

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Guido Dutilh.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Dancer: Rachel McNamee.

“This was a very intimate creation process. Hedda, Alex and I went to Stuttgart for a week to create with Marco where it would be just the four of us (and Gusty, his dog) rehearsing in the evenings. Creating with Marco is physically very intense and requires a lot of brainwork. The choreography takes shape movement by movement and he then lets you perform it as fast as possible.

Marco creates an interesting balance between being very demanding and challenging, whilst keeping the atmosphere positive and light. Often I would leave the studio in a better mood than I came in with. This creation feels very personal to me; Marco really created the work on and for us. I think I got to understand his work better by getting to know him, but also got to know him better through the work.”


“Exploring the vast and subtle world of Sara for me involves bringing to light and living in the tension of seemingly impossible questions.

How can I go deeper into my sensations and deeper still into my outward sensitivity of the space? How can I be precise and delicate and still allow each moment to be the first time I am experiencing it? How can I let an infinite journey live inside me and yet have only the most necessary motion manifest? How can I explode in my stillness? How can I silence physical chaos? How can I exist purely as I am in this moment and still in the same breath go beyond – extend out of my body, out of my mind, past the walls, carrying everything that has been?”

Programme booklet & Music

Programme booklet (NDT 2 | Smoke and Mirrors)