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 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 Kylián and Hans van Manen, as well as from resident choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, associate choreographers Alexander Ekman, Johan Inger and Crystal Pite and many other guest choreographers like Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato and William Forsythe. Under the direction of Artistic Director Paul Lightfoot Nederlands Dans Theater attracts full houses throughout the world.
Through the years, but particularly in its hey day under former Artistic Director Jiří Kylián, Nederlands Dans Theater did pioneering work in contemporary dance. Ballets originally made for Nederlands Dans Theater are still danced all over the world. Numerous dancers and choreographers that once started with the company have set up their own dance companies worldwide. This is how Nederlands Dans Theater’s influence spreads further and further.
Nederlands Dans Theater has two companies with two generations of dancers.
Nederlands Dans Theater 1
NDT1 was 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. These phenomenal dancers and their multifaceted repertoire is popular throughout Holland and internationally.
Nederlands Dans Theater 2
Nederlands Dans Theater 2 was founded in 1978. In more than 30 years of existence, it has developed into a top quality, internationally recognized company performing in theatres all over the world change from semi colon to colon Spain, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Turkey, USA, France, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the Dutch Antilles.
Nederlands Dans Theater 2 consists of 16 dancers between the age of 17 to 23, all of whom completed a classical ballet training. Dancers are recruited from all over the world. Start this para at the top of the second column.
The initial aim with Nederlands Dans Theater 2 was to feed the main company, Nederlands Dans Theater 1, with its young dancers. It served as a bridge-period to mature the freshly graduated dancers from the various classical conservatories and schools and prepare them for a professional dance career.
Today over 70% of the dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater 1 started their career in NDT2.
The repertoire of NDT2 is quite varied working with established choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen, Ohad Naharin, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot and Johan Inger. But also more importantly working with young and upcoming choreographers like rising star and associate choreographer Alexander Ekman.
Over the past few years Nederlands Dans Theater 2 has developed into a company of today. Working closely with young choreographers and confronted by different choreographic styles and techniques has given these young dancers the opportunity to react to contemporary developments in music and art. These talented young dancers are able to mirror the realities of today and incorporate these elements into new productions as a kind of Zeitgeist of the 21st century. Nederlands Dans Theater 2 especially aims to interest and excite young audiences for today’s dance.
ROBERT VAN LEER
Managing Director of Nederlands Dans Theater
Robert van Leer (aged 47) has Dutch nationality, but spent most of his childhood in the United States.
Van Leer has acquired extensive experience in the international world of art and culture. He has held a number of corporate and management positions during his career spanning nearly twenty years, including a position at the world famous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
He served as Head of Music & Arts Projects at The Barbican Centre in London from 1996. Under his leadership, The Barbican succeeded in presenting concerts by internationally acclaimed orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and in securing funding from Arts Council England. This funding made it possible for The Barbican to set up BLAZE, a large international summer festival held in East London. The third edition of this event was presented in summer 2011. Robert left the Barbican and joined Nederlands Dans Theater as Managing Director in ????
Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater
Paul Lightfoot, born in England in 1966, was appointed Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater in September 2011. Lightfoot has been with the company since 1985, first as a dancer, then as a choreographer together with Sol León. They became renowned choreographers and were appointed as house choreographers of Nederlands Dans Theater in 2002. To date, Lightfoot and León have created over 40 choreographies for the company which are performed throughout the world and for which they have received many dance awards. Alongside his role as Artistic Director, Lightfoot is house choreographer for Nederlands Dans Theater.
Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater 2
Gerald Tibbs was born in Richmond, Virginia, USA. At the age of 19, he attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he enrolled in the drama department. Soon afterwards, he switched to the dance department and a year later he joined the North Carolina School Company. He danced with them for a period of two years. Then he went to New York for further training with David Howard.
In 1975 he joined Nederlands Dans Theater and he danced with this company for 15 years, working with such significant choreographers as Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen, Glenn Tetley, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Christopher Bruce and Nacho Duato.
In 1990 Gerald Tibbs was appointed Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater 2.