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Sol León & Paul Lightfoot

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

Spiritwalking (2014) is an exceptional and exclusive evening entirely devoted to the work of house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot.

This site-specific choreography will be performed on the Westergasfabriek terrain in Amsterdam and is shown in a newly developed version. Spiritwalking takes the audience out of the traditional theatre space and into the gashouder, a former gasworks in Amsterdam. The ballet is accompanied by music that was especially composed for this piece by Philip Glass, which will be performed live by the Ragazze Kwartet.

Watch the pictures of Spiritwalking.

Performance dates

Season 2016-2017 | December 8 – December 14, 2016

In this performance

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Spiritwalking' by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: 'Spiritwalking' by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot.

Spiritwalking is really about the space. We wanted to make a site specific piece, out of the traditional theatre. It was very important for us to have it performed in a space with history, where energies linger. Spiritwalking was first performed in the Spring of 2014 in the Food Center in Amsterdam where we created a lot of the choreography.

The simplicity of the aesthetic speaks for itself. Three pages, three colors. This trilogy is emphasized by two other elements as well: beside the dancers there is the figure of a maestro, played by Charles Mudry, and Stefan Żeromski. Charles is one of the biggest contemporary maestro’s. It doesn’t matter what he says or how he says it, it’s about how he believes in his sound. Stefan is a colleague, an ex NDT dancer and an incredible artist. We wanted to return him to the stage with this work. Stefan has danced in many of our ballets. His unique quality has been a great inspiration for us for many years.

This idea of the trilogy also echoes through the

music. Firstly, Philip Glass transposed a part of the music that we already used for other pieces, which wasn’t originally written for a string quartet. The second piece is called The Grid; a very difficult work for a string quartet to play. The final part is a totally new piece of music that Philip composed specifically for the ballet. We simply said: “Compose from the moment where you are now.” Philip is about to turn 80 years old, so for us it reached a level where we just want to listen to what he has to say. It’s been such a great honor to work with him. During the first performance the music was played by the Kronos Quartet who to our great pleasure advised us to work with Ragazze for the performance you’ll see tonight.

Spiritwalking is constantly evolving. It comes from the energy of the place, the dancers, the technicians who put in so much work as well, and the energy of you, our audience. The piece is very fragile, very transparent, very vulnerable and open. It doesn’t have a recipe. It’s spiritual. We create it together.” — Sol León & Paul Lightfoot

Dance quite comes to life on music by Glass (…) Bodies are reaching out then subsequently withdraw. Encounters lead to virtuoso partner work, where women lean on the backs and legs of men.

on Spiritwalking

“Ever since our studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, we regularly visit performances of Nederlands Dans Theater. The consistently high level and NDT’s interesting collaborations are a great inspiration to us. It is a huge honour for us that we are part of a performance by this renowned dance company. Even more so, because it’s Spiritwalking, with which we follow in the footsteps of our mentors and friends of the Kronos Quartet. In 2010 we took masterclasses with the Kronos at Carnegie Hall New York. We were recording the fifth quartet of Philip Glass, hence the reason we were invited. And because ‘Phil was in town’, the maestro himself stopped by as well! In June 2014 we saw Spiritwalking at the Holland Festival and we truly look forward to perform Philip Glass’ music ourselves this time.” – Ragazze Quartet

Ragazze Quartet

In an inimitable way León and Lightfoot show the wealth of possibilities that dance can find in Glass’ music. And those riches can only be shown with an ensemble at a level of NDT 1

on Spiritwalking
Philip Glass

American composer Philip Glass (1937) has become renowned for his musical style that has widely been dubbed ‘minimalism’. However, Glass himself never appreciated the term and gave preference to speak of himself as a composer of ‘music with repetitive structures’. In the past 25 years alone, Glass has composed more than twenty operas; ten symphonies; two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; string quartets; soundtracks to films, including Oscar winning The Hours, and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. His operas, symphonies, and compositions have been executed with a wide range of collaborators including artists such as chorographer Twyla Tharp, poet Allen Ginsberg, filmmaker Woody Allen, and musician David Bowie. It is safe to say that Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times and has reshaped the definition of modern classical music.

Involved artist on 'Spiritwalking'

Charles Mudry.
Photo: Percevale Perks. Dancer: Stefan Zeromski.

“For me, Spiritwalking was an unexpected comeback to the stage. It gave me the chance to write about a very private story, to be with the dancers, to inspire each other, to let my feelings go, to express the vibrations of my soul, to go deep inside my heart and share the happiness to be together, to create emotions, the magic of the theatre.”


“Dancing Spiritwalking is very special for me. It is like a resume of my time dancing and working with Sol and Paul. The piece was made after I already stopped dancing with NDT. I realized then how much I missed being part of the creative process as a dancer. It is a great way to revisit my life as a dancer and take stock of the past. Like a spirit caught between past, present and the future I wander the stage being part of everything, yet at the same time being free of the past. When I dance Spiritwalking I feel connected with Sol and Paul on a very intimate level.”

Programme booklet & Music

Programme book (NDT 1 | Spiritwalking)