Nederlands Dans Theater has among its dancers some true talents who can already produce interesting pieces with emotive power. Four choreographers (or choreographic couples) caught my attention especially in this programme which offers the dancers the opportunity to present their own work.

#OneWithTwo is a pas de deux set to music that at first seems to emanate from an abandoned industrial hangar in East Berlin but shifts into a beautiful soundscape (SAD-Cyril Baldy, inspired by Jerry Goldsmith's Nicaragua) that carries the esthetic dance by Anne Jung. There was great use of light, with two spots illuminating separate dances on the stage that then melted into pleasant synchronicity.

Jon Bond's The Devil Was Me is the evening's largest piece with some ten dancers onstage. The theme of the daily struggle with our inner demons was clearly expressed by masked men and women in black pants and red scarecrow jumpers with large holes in them. This is a brooding piece in which relief is brought by the occasional non-masked female dancer in white. It is an interesting storyline with great jumps, great synchronicity in movement, good use of lightning with the dancers moving in and out of light and which finishes with a nice contrasting pas de deux. Theme and form clearly match here, with movements that hint at the influence of Alexander Ekman and Crystal Pite.

Alexander Anderson's two pieces, Lucid Dream and Diminished show good choreographic ideas. Lucid Dream is a mesmerizing pas de deux with great acrobatics performed by Alice Godfrey and Benjamin Behrends, set to piano and violin music. An inverted lift where the woman softly caresses the man's hair is a great moment, pulled off with ease. Diminished is a frantic piece set in a square lit on the floor, which dancer Jon Bond works through, leaving behind old memories. Too fidgety at times, it's nonetheless a show of great control and focus that captures the audience's attention easily.

Xanthe & Myrthe van Opstal's One and Other is a fun piece, with great groovy dialogue between these two dancers set to grinding music with a hint of Chemical Brothers' style. The dancers display great technique, through fast and virtuoso moves that use the entire space and floor. They often mirror each other in exactly the opposite way in good timing, like two parts of the same person meeting.

All five pieces showed mature dance skills and speed. Pleasant were the clear masculine roles for the men in the first pieces discussed here. These roles are still virtuous when genderbending and androgyny seem all the rage in the last few years leading often to an absence of the masculine on stage. These choreographers have stories to tell and the means to convey them. I hope we will see longer work from them in the future.

***11