Sunday, 1 May 2016

Prickling - NDT2 in Bradford

NDT2's Cacti
(c) 2016 Nederlands Dans Theater, all rights reserved
Reproduction licensed by the company

NDT2, Mixed Programme, Alhambra, 30 April 2016

I saw Nederlands Dans Theater 2 at the Alhambra last night and enjoyed their performance in Bradford even more than their show at The Lowry (see NBT2 at the Lowry  24 April 2016). Yet again my favourite was van Manen's Solo and once again I was dazzled by the virtuosity of Gregory Lau but I also appreciated the other works a little more, particularly Sad CaseMutual Comfort  and Cacti and I was impressed by the other dancers, especially Katerina van den Wouwer and Alice Godfrey. Some Other Time was omitted from the Bradford programme but otherwise it was the same as the one in Salford.

Despite its title there was nothing particularly sad about Sad Case. The Latin American music was exuberant and the pace fast. Voices could be heard speaking Spanish: a count down, then something that sounded like a dialogue from one of the Spanish language TV soaps of the kind you often find on the hotel telly when you have just landed from a Transatlantic flight, an ecstatic "Ay, yai, yai, yai" and finally an "ay, yai, yai, yai" with the stress on the final "yai". The audience exploded in mirth. Thoughts of the breakfast scene from When Harry Met Sally perhaps. This was a work that involved the whole company. It was vibrant and fast. I wish I could see it again soon.

Edward Clug's Mutual Comfort followed after the first break. close intense dancing by van den Wouwer and Godfrey with Benjamin Behrends and Lau. I particularly liked Milko Lazar music with its incessant, compulsive beat. It was a short but powerful work.  I had not fully realized just how good it was first time round as I had been waiting for Solo.  This time I think I did it justice.

Solo was as exciting in Bradford as it had been in Salford and it raised the biggest applause. The house was less than full yesterday but you would never have guessed that from the noise that they made. Yet again it was Lau who raised the biggest cheer.

As is Salford, the whole of the last part was taken up by Cacti. It was introduced by the droning of an American male voice which might have come from an anthropology lecture at a US junior college or, worse, a low budget TV show. I could not make head or tail of what he was saying but that was probably the choreographer's idea. There were scenes of the whole company on wooden platforms conducting what seemed to be some meaningless ritual. Then a cackle of laughter, more simian than human. Then a dialogue between a man and a woman on dividing their assets including a lifeless cat which fell from the ceiling, The American voice could be heard at the end. "This is the end", "I know this is the end", "I know" with added frustration as the dancers kept dancing. It was a fine work to a fine score - particularly the Beethoven - and some dramatic scenes such as this one towards the end.

NDT2's Cacti
(c) 2016 Nederlands Dans Theater, all rights reserved
Reproduction licensed by the company

Sadly, the company has finished its run in the North and is now moving on to the Hippodrome, Plymouth, Nottingham, Brighton and Sadler's Wells. Most of the young dancers in NDT2 will graduate to the main company soon but they will be replaced by a new intake whom I look forward to seeing soon.

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