The Total Artwork: feeling movement

Music and NDT


Despite the wide array of choreographers Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) works with, music has always proven itself an essential protagonist in creating their stories. Music and dance are sometimes seen as separate disciplines, yet in reality they are in an ancient marriage, and in the world of contemporary dance they have shown to be essential to each other’s existence.

At NDT this has expressed itself in as many ways as there are creative ideas: Sometimes, surprisingly, music was added at the very last minute, which German choreographer Marco Goecke has been known of doing for some of his brilliant pieces. In some works, after weeks of compiling feverish movement phrases, Goecke assembled an unexpected collage of diverse songs and musical styles, that magically seemed to blanket the forms and shapes that were created during rehearsals in the weeks prior, as if they were always meant to come together in the first place.

Other times, music has provided the foundation of everything that followed. Take for  example Hofesh Shechter, who for both of his latest creations for NDT, Clowns (2016) and VLADIMIR (2018), composed the music himself. Here, the rhythm set the guideline, like a roadmap to a structure that as a choreographer Hofesh could decide to follow along or move away from. 

Then, there are the extensive and longstanding musical relations some of our choreographers have nurtured over time. Take for example, choreographic duo Paul Lightfoot and Sol León who for many of their creations worked with music by American composer Max Richter. For one of their latest pieces, Singulière Odyssée (2017) which they created for the first company, Richter composed the music especially for the choreography before any direction in movement was made by the duo itself.

Photo: Rahi Rezvani. Choreography: Sol León & Paul Lightfoot. Dancer: Roger Van der Poel

Music should not only be considered a steady rhythmical composition of notes and tones, but can also translate itself into soundscapes that dancers respond to or use as a tool to enhance their movement vocabulary. Good examples of works that have shown this brilliantly include Gabriele Carrizo’s The missing door (2013) and Hans van Manen’s historical masterpiece Situation from 1970, which was part of NDT’s 60th anniversary season in 2019-2020.

Lastly, NDT has a longstanding history of working with live music, either performed by the Dutch Ballet Orchestra that carried many performances such as the premiere of León and Lightfoot’s Shut Eye in 2016, or by soloists such as NDT’s very own pianist Jan Schouten. One of many examples includes the NDT 1 and NDT 2 performance Kunstkamer (2019), that opened the anniversary season in September 2019.

Music playlists

To celebrate the many musical styles the company has featured on stage, we have compiled an extensive list below with links to the music of some of NDT’s best creations. Because dance moves us, and music is what makes us move!

You can find NDT’s Spotify account here. 

Season 2019-2020

Season 2018-2019

season 2017-2018

season 2016-2017

season 2015-2016

season 2014-2015