28.4.09

Nederlands Dans Theater in Barcelona

Over the years, innovative and daring choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Glen Tetley and Anders Hellström have always managed to find groups of performers with sound technique able to articulate their ideas.

Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, resident choreographers of Nederlands Dance Theatre, are able to take advantage of their experience of working with this group for approximately 22 years.

Armed with this invaluable history within the company, this husband-and-wife team created the 45-minute work, Silent Screen, which, in general was somewhat monotonous. Taking the journey of life as the main idea, this piece was set to the usually repetitive and characteristically minimalist music of Philip Glass; on this occasion, however, the pieces selected were deeper and more sensitive.

Silent Screen contains ingenious theatrical effects, the most notable of which was the appearance of a female dancer on stage with her back to the audience trailing an costume with a long train taking up the complete width of the stage. The use of videos serving as the set enabled a show of video dance of the highest quality.

Created by the choreographic duo, the remaining costumes were simple but captivating. The dancers wore suits with simple lines and colour combinations, soft shoes for everyone, and naked torsos and legs revealing finely sculpted bodies.

The choreographic style of the piece is complex and sometimes hard, with repeated steps and pas de deux revealing a delicious symmetry among the performers. The aplomb of the main couple – Lightfoot and León – together with that of the other dancers was impeccable. With obvious training in classical ballet, Nederlands dancers are exceptionally plastic and dynamic, floating elegantly through the air.

The other work on the program, Tar and Feathers, is a pure Kylian ballet, with a striking set consisting mainly of a grand piano in the right hand corner of the stage, almost in the dark and perched on a three-metre platform. The pianist, also raised above the ground, plays a piece that at times comes close to Mozart’s beautiful piano concerto No9 only to give way, unfortunately, to her own completely uninspired improvisation. At the opposite end of the stage to the piano, partially darkened, we see an attractive and brilliant stone of light illuminating the white floor and dividing the stage in two. Undoubtedly, a striking effect.

The choreography is danced by six wonderful dancers performing intriguing and mysterious steps, with vertical movements that unexpectedly break into aggressive gestures that burst suddenly from a tiger’s roar. The piece is based on experimental and surrealist movement with the voice of Kylian himself reciting parts of Samuel Beckett’s last work, “What is the Word”.

All in all, a significant body of creation performed by one of the most important modern dance companies in the world that certainly satisfied many of its most faithful admirers. Undoubtedly an interesting evening.

Por Carolina de Pedro Pascual © 2009 Danza Ballet

 Silent Screen ©Jean Paul Lozouet

 Silent Screen ©Jean Paul Lozouet