New at NDT 1

New at NDT 1

Column | Tess Voelker

Tess Voelker is new at NDT 1 – Five questions about her transition

Congratulations, a great step in your career! How do you look back on the period at NDT 2?
Thanks! I’m excited for this next chapter! Looking back, NDT 2 has been a rollercoaster. Waiting in line for the ride, you’re anxious seeing this 3 year ride made of whips and turns and peaks and free falls; yet you find yourself stepping aboard and strapping in. NDT 2 has left me breathless while ready for more.

What are you going to miss most of NDT 2?
My colleagues! Their magnetic energy, determined work ethic, and absurd skills make that company a particularly special one. It’s a company which dancers join knowing they have a finite amount of time there. This time restraint fuels the dancers’ gratitude; for both the work and for each other. The difference between friendship and duet partners is always a fine line, within NDT 2 that line rarely exists. The company is contagiously youthful and has given me lifelong friendships I’ll always be grateful for.

Tess in 'IMPASSE' by Johan Inger. Photo: Joris-Jan Bos

What are you really looking forward to now that you are going to dance with NDT 1?
More colleagues! The work, the choreographers, and the shows all come and go, while the dancers stay season round. We all approach our work with such personal dedication that it’s so easy to feel stuck. I see the choreography, I copy it. I see myself in the mirror, I fix it. “I, I, I”… once my focus only reflects inwards, it can easily turn deprecating. Being surrounded by such inspirational movers and welcoming hearts is what makes the company what it is. Dancing for NDT is not a one person job which is what makes the work sing so beautifully on stage. It’s the power of what a large group of accomplished artists can do together. This dynamic starts in the studio and I’m so eager to be a small fraction of it.

Dancing for NDT is not a one person job which is what makes the work sing so beautifully on stage

Tess Voelker

How do you expect to further develop yourself at NDT 1, both in the field of dance and personally?
I remember when I first joined NDT 2, the company was explained as a “toolbox”. A kit where you can keep adding tools (techniques, artistry, qualities, repertoire, etc) and trust that those very same tools will help you develop your career once you’ve left the company. I now find myself looking back into my “toolbox” and seeing loads of tools but in disarray. Looking forward, I see NDT 1 as a unique opportunity to not only get acquainted with these tools but also see how I can use them in a different, more personal way. An example of this would be stage presence. NDT 2 performs a whole lot. It’s given me the tool of comfort on stage. NDT 1 will allow me to use this within work I’m not as familiar with. Personally, I see joining NDT 1 as being thrown into a pool of dancers who know their “toolbox” inside and out. My colleagues continue to teach me the value of uniqueness. There’s the dancer and there’s the human in all of us, the trick is finding where those two parts meet.

Dancing at NDT is super intensive. What do you do beyond NDT to relax and get free from the daily routine?
Fortunately my partner lives in Amsterdam, so I spend a lot of time there. Sometimes it feels like I live two separate lives, but I’m grateful for the chance to really step out of my “dancer” self and decompress that way. Besides that, I love taking time to cook dinner while searching for new tunes on Spotify. However, no matter how long I try to “relax”, I always end up dancing around the kitchen.