Dutch National Ballet’s New Moves (2016) starts off with a surprisingly good neoclassical piece for seven dancers by the very young Christiano Principato, Palladio. It’s a little sweet, with great group work and a nice duet; and features Emilie Tassinari, elegantly, at the centre. The piece deals with her first love disappointment, and we see her moves on successfully with the help of friends.

Bruno Pereira’s Face to Phase is a fresh, explosive, acrobatic piece in which he explores different emotions: being fake, grieving and being yourself. He uses a chair and a screen through which he sticks his head with different expressions. I lost the plot but was entertained from start to finish.

<i>Amor Vincit Omniat</i>, Peter Lueng © Altin Kaftira
Amor Vincit Omniat, Peter Lueng
© Altin Kaftira
Always expressive is Milena Sidorova’s movement. Here, she adds a ‘number 9’ to her now impressive series of ‘Waltz-Ish pieces’. Through long drags and lifts, the ballerina hardly touches the floor. This pas de deux, a short, almost over the top romance featuring a delightful, light Hannah Williams, gets the audience laughing. It’s quintessential Sidorova: playful, ingenious, funny. Her work is consistent in quality, conceptually coherent and shows off her successful search for an ever expanding dance vocabulary that remains her own. This piece presents very different moves from her previous work, but there is a connection nonetheless… a sign of a mature choreographer.

Bastiaan Stoop’s buzzing and thumping Winged Memory greatly contrasts the above, sporting five women in black appearing through smoke. The grind of ongoing life is the theme here, with quite a bit of strife and conflict. The women push and pull each other, across the space and on the ground. The finale is beautiful. Stoop’s choice of moves is deliberate and keeps you watching, eager to see what comes next.

In Loud, groovy showdance and ballet collide. Choreographer Jared Wright and Daniel Montero’s effortless synchronicity lends the piece a ‘Baloo the Bear- necessities’ ease. The duo drives the piece forward as they “fall in and out” of ballet moves, joining Jingjing Mao’s contrasting presence. I’m looking forward to more of this high energy entertainment in the future.

The most spectacular piece of the evening is Jozef Varga’s Dance for Two, in which Varga and Laura Rosillo dance through daring lifts and drops; Varga at high speed, Rosillo with a feminine, undeniably Spanish, clear presence despite her youth. Contrasting the very fast moves are pauses with long pleasant lines and a high lift. Varga owns the stage. With this first piece he delivers a fast modern ballet piece, he shows promise. More of this Mr. Varga!

Clothilde Tran’s Gobbledygook is a surprisingly coherent exercise in absurdity, despite its title. It starts with three dancers trapped in a circle at its inception; progresses to a stage-wide synchronous, rhythmic ,modern, white-masked thumping in and out of three lit circles, and ends with a funny finale set to Yann Tiersen’s Mother Will Die piano work. Tran projects the perpetually unperturbed facial close ups of dancer Antonina Chirpanlieva on one side of the stage to accompany the action at the centre. The result is light, slightly absurd and pleasant.

<i>Gobbledygook</i>, Clothilde Tran © Altin Kafkir
Gobbledygook, Clothilde Tran
© Altin Kafkir
The evening ends with a piece by one of Dutch National Ballet’s most experienced young choreographers, Peter Lueng. Lueng has already successfully created countless commissioned pieces outside of the company and with his artistic colleagues at House of Makers. Tonight his Amor Vincit Omnia (?) (Does Love conquer all?) is a pretty, but deceptively modestly arranged piece where dance speaks most clear. The nice backward fall, prolonged silences, fluidity and kicks to the floor aren’t gimmicks, but keep the audience on their toes in this mature, balanced work. Riho Sakamoto, in a gorgeous red costume, and Matthew Pawlicki dance a beautiful pas de deux towards the end of the piece, whilst soloist Young Gyu Choi on the piano surprises us with a special composition by Otium of Ottorine Respighi’s Siciliana. Played as if improvised, without a score in front of him, as if to remind a teeth gnashingly envious audience that, when it rains, it pours talent.

The level of the works has gone up since the last edition of New Moves, and it deserves a larger stage for its next edition.