What is in store for the future of dance?  Eleven young choreographers gave us a glimpse, as they threw a dance (after)party early July in Amsterdam. Interestingly, all pieces were either story or idea driven.  

Dario Ella in <i>Respect</i> © Altin Kaftira
Dario Ella in Respect
© Altin Kaftira

Dressed in a smart black suit, a flower in his pocket, a man staggers onto the stage to the sound of an equally drunk violin, in a manner that seems to mock the famous bullet dodging scene from the Matrix. To the audience's delight he successively knots and unties himself across the floor to finally drop like a ragdoll in a corner. Change of scene: Saya Okubo who is wooed first by Chanquito van Hoeve in a series of beautiful modern ballet movements and lifts finds a better suiter in the form of Cristian Principato. To some of Astor Piazolla's music a series of complex but very pleasing - at times spectacular - tango variations ensue. Subtly climbing on and stepping past him, Okubo doesn’t let herself be caught as she increasingly turns away. Another change of scene: this time, a bride stomps on to the stage in search of her groom, the pleasantly sloshed Thomas van Damme (who is still propped up against a corner of the stage after some earlier antics). A series of attempts to get him on his legs sees him finally dragged off but not until she has administered him a good bridal-bouquet whacking. Choreographer Milena Sidorova is not afraid to experiment, and, with an expanding dance vocabulary, takes on different styles in her continuing series of 'Waltz-Ish' pieces, mixed here with a 3D Tango. Combined with a great choice of musical accompaniment, fluid, conscientious innovative movements, her work shows she can both enthral an audience and tell a story.

Respect (choreographed by Bruno da Rocha Pereira to music by Philip Glass) is simple but refreshing; and has the serious Dario Elia dancing closely with a subtly pleading woman (Nadine Drouin). More please.

A lone woman in a white dress walks into the light followed by a man. In a piece that juxtaposes darkness with light, we follow them. The music, starts with slightly threatening Eros by Ludovico Einaudi, followed by his warmer Solo. The woman is insecure and uncomfortable. The couple breaks into a dance, arms gently swimming up to the sky, turns open, and a good combination of classic and modern ballet. Challenging but synchronous, fluid moves are made to seem easy. Tired as the second part begins, the couple seems headed for a break up but on the verge of impending loss, they rediscover romance. This tension-filled simple piece 'keeps us where the light is’. Here's an excellent debut by Chanquito Van Hoeve with wonderful dancing and good acting by him and the ever gracious Sidorova.

Matthew Pawlicki-Sinclear's is a pretty piece for three women and a man. Relationships swirl into dynamics with good floor work and striking poses by Tess Sturmann clinging on to a steady Clemens Frölich, shadowed by a light Jing Jing Mao and elegant Samantha Mednick.

Thomas van Damme in <i>Number 6, Waltz-Ish</i> © Altin Kaftira
Thomas van Damme in Number 6, Waltz-Ish
© Altin Kaftira
The other pieces are more idea driven: Tycho Hupperets Plastic Dreams transforms the stage from gymnastics mats, to Madonna style Vogue platform, to a sports arena. Three bouncy parading dancers dance with straight faces to an increasingly amused audience. Wolfgang Tietzes Stranger sees Miles Pertl running, stabbing and slamming through the air. Frustrated, he ultimately falls to the ground, exhausted and spent. Here's a clear message, though more light would be needed next time. Set to Arvo Pärt's Magnificat, an inextricably linked Nadine Drouin and Skyler Martin dance a modern Unreality by Peter Lueng, which features nice backwards and forwards falls. Daniel Cooke’s Fidem Contra Fata stages Greek mythologies’ Fates weaving everybody’s fortune in an earthy ritualistic dance. Thomas van Damme, Martin Ten Kortenaar and Christiano Principato give us a glimpse of the work's challenging nature, though its lifts and big jumps. Maria Chugai’s piece is a romantic and swirling pas de deux with Lucia Chugai singing an atmospheric Nina Simone’s ‘Wild is the Wind’ live on stage. We can denote Martin ten Kortenaar's high jumps and Veronika Verterich's sweet moves. Revolving Doors by Bastiaan Stoop and sound engineer Jorik de Beer delivers one of the tightest, grooviest short compositions of the evening with Rohan Dunham and Miles Pertl dancing sharply varied but complementary forms. Miles Pertl's odd(disco)ball-illustrated piece sees three well-coordinated dancers (Clotilde Tran-Phat, Vincent Hoffman and Bastiaan Stoop) rhythmically slapsticking their way through the sounds of Black Betty (Lead Belly) and Animal Collective’s Sweet Road. All while it is snowing on stage… of course.

The two-hour long evening was entertaining and made up of mixed works: some were great ideas, and worked out better than others. But overall, the future, my friends, is bright : bring your shades.