NDT2: Trip to Den Haag by Catherine Bell

Trip to Den Hag – November 2011

Photos Clockwise from Top Left (by Paul Hindle):
The Theatre, during the Tour, through a studio door, inside the theatre, dressing rooms, Studio.

On an early, grey October morning some members of the Dance Consortium hopped on a plane in London and arrived in Den Haag, or ‘The Hague’ as we Brits refer to it, home to Nederlands Dans Theater.

After dropping off our bags and devouring a rather large and delicious Dutch lunch, we took a very comprehensive tour of the NDT HQ, with their lovely education officer.

First stop was one of their studios where pieces of dance genius are devised by the likes of Jiří Kylián and Lightfoot León, and where the NDT dancers spend their days learning, moving and perfecting.

We moseyed past rails of costumes, poised eerily on their hangers for that evening’s performance, peeped into dressing rooms filled with flowers for the dancers after the premiere the night before, we saw tired looking tights hanging over a chair, posters pinned on lockers. We saw a rare sight indeed for most theatre goers: the life that exists back-stage.

As we stood in the bar downstairs in the basement of the building, our guide told us stories of the feuding 2 architects who designed it, and how it came to be almost sliced in half in terms of design, as they never could reach a compromise.

The bar itself hosts portraits of all NDT and NDT2 dancers who gaze down at you from both sides. We really got a sense that this building belonged to the whole company. Originally this bar area was the main rehearsal studio, then (due to lack of funds) became the bar, then the studio again for a summer school, and now stands firmly as the bar!

Next we stood underneath the pit which has a sloping floor punctured with small holes which was a bit like looking up at cheese. These holes are functional however: they fill with air and keep the sound in or out, depending on your perspective.

On our way to the auditorium we crept past a napping dancer on the sofa in the Green Room (relieving to think that even these physically-super-human creatures also need 40 winks from time to time), until finally we reached the end of our tour, the Stage: awestruck, looking out at what the dancers see night after night. Letting the silence and that odd sensation of a sleeping, silent theatre, descend upon us.

Later, (after another very tasty Dutch feed) we trouped to the Theatre, this time as part of the audience, to see the second night of their Dutch tour, which was beautiful, inspired, and inevitably technically perfect.

Thank you for having us!

NDT2 will be touring the UK in 2012

See also:
Tour(s): Nederlands Dans Theater 2 – 2012