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Nederlands Dans Theater I Returns to Melbourne

Melbourne audiences are in for a treat! The Arts Centre has scored an exclusive Australian season of contemporary dance featuring the legendary Nederlands Dans Theater I. After a 14 year absence, the doyennes of contemporary dance will showcase their distinctive style at the Arts Centre’s State Theatre with five performances from 13 – 17 July 2011.

Since its inception half a century ago, Nederlands Dans Theater has gone on to define dance and attract admiration the world over, and is now recognised as arguably the most innovative dance company in existence. The company has created a rich repertoire with works from master choreographers Jiří Kilián and Hans van Manen, as well as from resident choreographers Sol León & Paul Lightfoot and associate choreographers Crystal Pite and Johan Inger.

“It’s a real coup for us to be able to attract this great international company and dance lovers from around Australia will be eager to come to Melbourne for this exciting season”, said Judith Isherwood, Chief Executive of the Arts Centre. “The company has inspired many first-time visits to the theatre for a great display of modern dance and I have no doubt this 2011 season will provide a similar opportunity.”

“It’s an honour to be back in Australia. We look forward to sharing with the Melbourne audiences a programme which reflects the essence of who we are: fortunate to have a rich and creative dance history which provides us with brilliant signature works like Double You by choreographer Jiri Kylián, while at the same time presenting recent creations by an emerging generation of contemporary dance makers such as Sol León and Paul Lighfoot, and Crystal Pite”, said Nederlands Dans Theater Artistic Director Jim Vincent.

“These three uniquely dynamic productions, created by four diverse choreographic voices and performed by our ensemble of extraordinary dancers will make this programme a truly unforgettable experience” he added.

The Melbourne performances by Nederlands Dans Theater I will feature three works. Created by Jirí Kylián, Double You is an intimate solo which offers a window into a man’s soul as he grapples with life’s experiences.

In The Second Person, Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite creates a powerful atmosphere which draws the audience into a different world. Featuring 24 dancers on stage, they represent the exchange between the collective and the individual, searching for their own identities.

Inspired by the art of silent movies, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León explore the beauty of expression without words in Silent Screen. The highly acclaimed performance will feature large screens projecting luscious and fluid scenery for dancers to move through and beyond.

About Nederlands Dans Theater
Nederlands Dans Theater originated in 1959 when 22 people broke free from the Nederlands Ballet. These rebels were impassioned by dance and the desire to give it a style all their own. Under the direction of Carel Birnie and Benjamin Harkarvy, they steadily built a different repertoire to dance companies of modern dance. Fifty years later, Nederlands Dans Theater has become one of the leading dance companies in the world.

A rich repertoire has been built up with works from master choreographers Jiří Kilián and Hans van Manen, as well as from resident choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, associate choreographers Crystal Pite and Johan Inter and many other guest choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato and William Forsythe.

Through the years, but particularly in its heyday under former artistic director Jiří Kilián, Nederland Dans Theater has created pioneering works in contemporary dance. Ballets originally made for Nederlands Dans Theater are still performed all over the world. Numerous dancers and choreographers that once started with the company have set up their own dance companies world-wide, spreading Nederlands Dans Theater’s influence far and wide. A number of Australian dancers have worked with Nederlands Dans Theater, including Graeme Murphy, Gideon Obarzanek and Kirsty Martin (The Australian Ballet).

Nederlands Dans Theater has two companies, with two generations of dancers – Nederlands Dans Theater I and Nederlands Dans Theater II. Nederlands Dans Theater I is the first company, founded in 1959 and consists of thirty dancers. They vary in age from 23 to 42 and each one of them excels in their solo qualities. Nederlands Dans Theater II was founded in 1978 for young, upcoming talent with astonishing technique and endless energy. NDT II currently consists of sixteen dancers up to the age of 23. The second company is a revolutionary breeding ground for talented dancers and established choreographers who together create new work.

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