Prize of Merit from Stichting Dansersfonds ’79 for NDT 1 dancer Lydia Bustinduy

13 November 2020

Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) is particularly proud to announce that the Stichting Dansersfonds ’79 has announced that the Prize of Merit 2020 will be awarded to NDT 1 dancer Lydia Bustinduy. The Dansersfonds Prizes were initiated in 1979 by his founders Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar and are the longest existing Dutch dance awards.

About Lydia


In 1997 the Spanish Bustinduy graduated from the Institut del Teatre & Dansa in Barcelona after which she became part of the IT Dansa (the dance company of the theatre school) and worked there for two years before she was accepted to join NDT 2 in The Hague in 1999. After only two years with the second company of NDT, Bustinduy moved on to the first company, NDT 1, where she still enjoys a sucessful career to this day. Bustinduy danced leading roles in works by Crystal Pite, Marco Goecke, Ohad Naharin, Gabriela Carrizo, Franck Chartier, Sol León & Paul Lightfoot and many others.

Lydia in 'The lost room' by Frank Chartier. Photo: Rahi Rezvani
Jury report

This year the jury of the Dansersfonds ’79 (Dancers’ Fund ’79) consisted of Han Ebbelaar, Alexandra Radius, Ine Rietstap, Marian Sarstädt and Karin Schnabel. About Bustinduy, the Dancers’ Fund jury says: “In recent years Lydia has worked with countless choreographers at Nederlands Dans Theater, and in all their choreographies, no matter how different, she has always been able to find the typical movement style of the choreographer without losing her individuality. She has thus become an indestructible pillar in the NDT structure and in every respect a true servant of Terpsichore”.

Dutch Ballet Gala

The prizes of Stichting Dansersfonds ´79 are awarded during the Nederlands Balletgala, the fund’s annual benefit performance. Originally, this award ceremony was to take place on Monday 16 November in the DeLaMar Theatre in Amsterdam, in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix. Due to the corona measures, the Gala, and therefore the award ceremony, was moved to Monday 25 January, 2021, and eventually unfortunately cancelled.

During the Dutch Ballet Gala Lydia Bustinduy and former NDT dancer Roger van der Poel will perform Get Out, a creation by American choreographer Peter Chu. The title of the work seems to refer to the end of a love affair, says Bustinduy, but the duet revolves around the relationship the woman has with herself: “The duet shows her physical reaction to an emotional event”. The man – Roger Van der Poel – depicts her ego. “She has to fight her ego, let go of things, find a way out of emotions, in order to further develop herself as a human being.

Robe undone

In NDT’s anniversary publication NDT | 60, Bustinduy looks back on her very first performance as a NDT dancer in 1999: “[…]There was no performance at all, just a genuine unexpected experience, like falling into a dream where there is no reasoning. My body was working as expected but my mind was out of control. Sailing between two currents, the conscious and the subconscious. Apparently my partner and I gave a very good performance. I could not be sure, for as long as it lasted I had travelled somewhere far. When the curtain went down, we were very much thanked by the audience with a great applause. We bowed and I went quickly to take the hand of the choreographer to invite him to bow too. In the moment I returned, I slipped, fell down and my robe opened. There I was, sitting on the floor, with an open robe and exposed breasts in front of a thousand people. At the time, I was so embarrassed, I could not look at Gerald Tibbs nor Jirí Kylián’s eyes when they greeted me in the wings. I just wanted to disappear.

With time I understood that the real magic of our profession is exactly that, the fragility of things. The fact that nothing lasts. Everything can crumble in seconds. Every moment is our last because it can never be repeated as it once was. Every performance, no matter how many times performed, is indeed unique. Twenty years later I still cherish that moment.”

Lydia in 'Garnet' by Shusaku Takeuchi. Photo: Joris-Jan Bos