‘Standby’ and ‘She Remembers’ by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León

Sol and Paul about the films

“In three small weeks within the studios at Lucent Danstheater, we have choreographed not one, but two world premieres and filmed them with top quality to be shown to the world for this coming month via our NDT website.

The first was guided by myself [Paul]. I have created a 40 minute work based on Knudåge Riisagers music called “Etudes”, which takes the audience through a cascade of exercises from our daily classical ballet technique. I have choreographed, along with the artists, an “NDT” take on Harold Landers classical ballet of how we incorporate the tools of our trade using all 42 members of the company.

The inspirational challenge was to do this using the protocols and limitations of social distancing. We marked the floor into squares of three metres to lay a base for the structure. Only people who were able to physically touch each other were the dancers who lived together in the same household.

Can we connect without touch? I felt we could!

The ballet is called Standby, the last words softly spoken onstage before the curtain rises on every single performance to mark the commencement of the show for the artists.

We filmed it on our home stage of Lucent Danstheater, the spot where nearly all our ballets have been premiered these 30 odd years. I stripped the space to see its bones and workings, as well as to use Standby as a homage to this most sacred and glorious space, so influential to the development of the company.

Still from 'Standby'

The dancers were reborn in this process, and motivated to achieve the best of themselves after this forced hibernation. I’d like to think that Standby might herald a new wonderful chapter for all of us, and I’m sure that you will be equally enchanted by their exquisite performances as I have been in my final moments.

Sol meanwhile has forged a poetic ode, specifically crafted on five incredible artists, whom are all ending their careers with NDT simultaneously with our own departure, together with a blink of an eye towards the parallel life of our daughter Saura.

Sol has called the piece She Remembers, and it is choreographed to the subliminal music of George Frederic Handel and Max Richter.

Still from 'She Remembers'

She has written this text about the work:

“I chose to use a symbolic piece of decor… a door.
A door, and not a window helped me express the beauty and the difficulty.
The ups and the downs.
The front and the back.
Facing each other in a seed of memory, and I realise that love is what made this stay together.

When seeing myself reflecting in a memory, I can also perceive that love is a choice.
This is a gift for them, to you and for myself.
It’s an honour to share this with you.

Entrances and exits… what an inspirational flow.
This poem is a short breath of truth.”

So we offer you this precious gift, not only on behalf of NDT, but also from our parts… we hope that even though we are unable to bid our farewells together face to face, that you can sense the enormous pleasure Sol & I have had connecting with you all throughout the years.

Enjoy the films now, and we hope you can revel as much as we have creating these new born beauties.”

– Paul Lightfoot and Sol León

Listen to the music