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NDT Summer Intensive 2017

Talent development

NDT Summer Intensive 2017 has taken place in season 2016-2017

Every summer NDT organizes the world renowned NDT Summer Intensive. For this two week course, which takes place in the NDT studios, sixty talented dancers from all over the world are selected to participate. The programme reflects the daily schedule of NDT and includes ballet and repertoire classes as well as the creation of new compositions. In addition to the introduction of young talent to the artistic team, repertoire and methods of NDT, the project offers dancers and choreographers of NDT the opportunity to develop as a rehearsal director, teacher, and choreographer. The grand finale of the Summer Intensive is a presentation for an audience.

I am learning so much more than I expected. I was expecting to be taught. I was expecting to be told how to dance. Instead, I’ve been discovering, discovering what dance means to me, how I love to move and everything in between.

Tyson Powell (Group A)
on NDT Summer Intensive 2017

Sponsored by our partner in talent development:

Performance dates

Season 2016-2017 | July 24 – August 5, 2017
The Hague

Start NDT Summer Intensive 2017

NDT Summer Intensive has shown me that pushing yourself mentally and physically to what you think is your limit and then surpassing that, is the thrill of being an artist.

Javon Jones (Group B)
on NDT Summer Intensive 2017


During NDT Summer Intensive we sat down with the three choreographers who were in the midst of preparing for their new creation for this year’s edition of the course. Heidi Vierthaler, Lukáš Timulak, and Vaclav Kunes spoke about their expectations, the way they interact with the participants, and the unique nature of NDT Summer Intensive.

Photo: Eddi de Bie. Choreographer: Heidi Vierthaler, new composition Group C
Choreographer: Lukáš Timulak, new composition Group B.
Choreographer: Václav Kuneš, new composition Group A..

As a dancer, Heidi Vierthaler (Germany) has worked with some of the most prominent companies and choreographers throughout Europe and the US, including The Forsythe Company and The Gothenburg Danskompani. She teaches and creates works for companies, festivals, and universities worldwide, such as Cullberg Ballet, Carte Blanche, Skånes Danstheater Compania Nacional de danza, and Modafe Festival.

“The Summer Intensive period is a wonderful opportunity for the future generation of dancers to work closely with NDT, as well as other teachers and choreographers in the field. It offers a diverse range of training that makes the dancers aware of the importance of versatility in the dance field today. For this edition, I am creating a new work in collaboration with the young participants of the course. I enjoy seeing how they make their own creative choices, based on the improvisational tasks that are given. During the creative process I collaborate with the participants in building the material. Together, we take a look at it, shape it, and then reshape it, bringing in new dynamics. As soon as I start to feel what’s effective, I encourage the dancers to bring themselves into the choreography as well. I want them to feel empowered, to make choices and share their ideas. The movement of this creation is very functional and human. I incorporated a wide range of sensations by exploring the emotional body, spatiality, physical restrictions and simply how one might relate to another individual or group.

One of the strengths of NDT Summer Intensive is that it offers the element of creation. This allows the dancers to share and explore their own ideas, take risks and to collaborate with others. Since there has been a huge shift in the making of work today, in which many choreographers ask for collaboration, I feel it is important to challenge students to create movement in different contexts, explore it, and to adapt it to different movement styles and situations.”

Nederlands Dans Theater was a starting point for former NDT 1 dancer Lukáš Timulak (Slovakia) to choreograph. Since then he has made new works for companies such as the Slovak National Theater, the Swedish Gothenburg Ballet, the Nationaltheater Mannheim, as well as NDT. Recently, Lukáš co-founded the foundation Make Move Think together with designer Peter Bilak, focusing on multidisciplinary artistic collaborations.

“As a choreographer I like to discover the full potential of each opportunity. If it is to choreograph for stage, screen or even on a paper. Curiosity is the biggest drive for me to find out which dancers I have in front of me and how we bring all the work and thoughts together into a final idea or performance. I like to think of it as a magic world and try to approach it differently each time I create, in order to keep on searching. While making this piece, I try to create a serious but fun atmosphere in the studio. Each creation process is different, but I always keep my eyes and ears open and follow my intuition.

NDT Summer Intensive is a wonderful glimpse into the company and its working environment. It is a very demanding course and the participants have to devote themselves completely in order to enjoy the full potential of the experience. Focus, but playfulness as well, is on the everyday schedule in this highly challenging journey.

For this creation, there is just a short amount of time, many decisions and choices happen in the moment. This way of working is very important and interesting to me. It results in a wonderful way to learn from and trust each other.”

After a dance career of over 10 years with NDT, Václav Kuneš (Czech Republic) decided to solely focus on choreographing. In 2007 Václav founded his own dance company 420PEOPLE, together with former NDT dancer Nataša Novotná. The company is based in Prague and tours internationally.

“I always believe in the dancers I work with – everyone is unique and everyone has his or her own idea about what they can or cannot do. During this creation process I explore those ‘can/can’t’ states of mind in them. As well as in myself; it works both ways!

These two weeks I am creating a new work. The average level of the dancers I work with is high. On the other hand, they are quite young. That’s a challenge on both accounts, I feel that’s the exciting part of this work. During the creative process I rely on the dancers’ own creativity, on their involvement. The complexity of NDT Summer Intensive – classes as well as the creative process with different choreographers – is what makes the summer in Den Haag very, very special!”


Teacher: Jiří Pokorný.

“For me, the exchange is about constantly reflecting on each other”

Jiří Pokorný (Czech Republic) started his dance training at the pre-ballet school of the State Opera when he was only eight years old and continued his studies at the Prague National Dance Conservatory. After his graduation, Jiří started his dance career with Laterna Magika in Prague, and three years later he joined NDT. He has worked with many renowned choreographers

such as Jiří Kylián, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, and Ohad Naharin. After NDT, he danced with Kidd Pivot under the direction of Crystal Pite. Since his first choreography for NDT’s Switch, Jiří has created for NDT Summer Intensive and Up & Coming Choreographers. For the regular NDT 2 programme he created A Honeydew Hunt (2015) and Humpback Runner (2016). For this year’s edition of the Summer Intensive, Jiří teaches groups A and B.

What is your role during NDT Summer Intensive?

During this year’s course I teach partner work for groups A and B. Together with the participants I worked on the repertoire of Crystal Pite. My role as a teacher/choreographer is to find the right guidance for each participant. The young students who participate in the Summer Intensive are placed into groups of different age categories, but in all those groups we find unique individuals. I try to capture their talents and help them develop their skills as far as my capacity allows me to.

What makes NDT Summer Intensive unique in your opinion?

J NDT Summer Intensive is a special dance course not only because of its prestigious background but also because of its growth that has developed with a lot of care over the years. The team of NDT’s Talent Development & Education department is doing a fantastic job every year. They love what they do and that’s what is the most important.

How do you connect with the students when you teach and where do you find challenges or excitement?

J How you establish a connection between a teacher and a student differs from case to case. Personally I feel it is important to try to connect with every participant on a personal level. What excites me the most about the exchange between myself and the students is how much we can learn from each other during the working process. For me, the exchange is about constantly reflecting on each other and learning on every possible level.

How do you translate NDT’s work ethic and style of movement to these young dancers?

J I usually start with a breath introduction of the piece that we learn material from; its content and meaning, and core intentions of specific phrases so that the students get a better understanding of how to use their own physicality and evoke the right feeling. By giving them more and more information gradually, I pay attention to details and once I see progress, I let them dive into the material even deeper and give the responsibility and enough space for their own way of interpretation. In that sense they may not grow only technically but also, and most importantly, artistically.


In the summer of 2016 Lisa Horten Skilbrei (Norway) and Alexander Andison (Canada) participated in NDT’s Summer Intensive. This experience inspired them to audition for the course again in 2017.|

Also watch the interview with student Ariana Barr (Canada) on the right.


“After participating in last year’s Summer Intensive, I knew I wanted to come back. It is a unique experience to be welcomed in the space of a professional dance company like NDT and to get to know their work and faculty. During the days we learn from experienced teachers, share the studios with NDT’s dancers, and work closely with a choreographer. The opportunity to learn directly from the company’s artists is very valuable to me. Seeing how their experience reflects in their movement and hearing their personal thoughts behind it gives me new ideas to play with. At NDT Summer Intensive, a close community is created in a short time. It feels safe and challenging to be there, which I think is a great base for art to grow. The days are long and intense, consisting of a great variety of classes and collaborations between everyone participating. The studios are filled with curiosity, excitement, sharing and openness. It is amazing to be part of a group of people from all over the world, every one of us with a different story but with a lot in common as well. We are all eager to grow as artists and to share our passion for dance and movement. This sets a great atmosphere for the two weeks, and makes it easy to work together and exchange information through moving, experimenting, and reflecting. Last year’s Summer Intensive inspired me to travel more, to seek the unknown, to dive deeper into my own research, and to connect with new people.”


NDT Summer Intensive has informed my ambitions for a professional career in dance for a number of years now; the program continues to resonate strongly with my professional aspirations. The work that is being done at NDT is inspirational, motivational, and, without fail, compelling. I think the summer course at NDT is very unique for a couple of reasons, and each of them have left an impact on me. First, the Summer Intensive has given me the opportunity to be exposed to NDT’s work environment. I experienced firsthand the high caliber of working at NDT by learning repertoire from the company and engaging in new creations by NDT’s guest choreographers, such as Peter Chu and Jiří Pokorný. Secondly, the Summer Intensive draws participants from all over the globe, which is an invaluable way to connect with an international community of artists who share the goal of achieving excellence in dance. All of my experiences up to now have strengthened my long standing desire to engage in a significant way with NDT’s work. NDT combines a strong appreciation for tradition with work that is relevant and progressive. NDT has managed to strike this balance perfectly; it is an ideal that is at the heart of what is important to me, personally and professionally. I have been inspired by the community that makes up this wonderful dance company: the dancers, the choreographers, the artistic advisors, and the administration – all of them together build this exceptional environment. I am privileged and excited to be returning this summer.”

I am in love with this place!

Annika Verplancke (Group C)
on NDT Summer Intensive 2017