Nederlands Dans theater II premieres it’s second touring programme of the season, entitled Symphysis. One of the main goals of the younger company is to introduce the young talents to a broad spectrum of dance languages. Symphysis stands for the coming together of different elements, and therefore the name suits the mixed bill rather well. The packed programme includes two world premieres by guest choreographers Jiří Pokorný and Edward Clug, as well as two revivals by associate choreographers Johan Inger and Alexander Ekman. Once again the young dancers appear to be in line with NDT I, offering their signature mix of technical brilliance and curious contemporary dance.

Opening the evening is Johan Inger’s I New Then, an inventive, spirited and fun choreography challenging the dancers to find their own artistic identity. Four girls and five boys dressed in everyday casual outfits dance to a medley of songs by Van Morrison. The first section is impulsive, wild and free. It shows the dancers soaring around the stage, disorderly performing their own solos and getting involved with each other. Short love stories unfold in the seemingly unstructured choreography, where all dancers are allowed to fully express themselves.
In the following sections the tension mounts and the focus shifts to one couple. After a sugary yet inventive duet music is muted, and the couple moves to the right side of the stage. While they slowly undress each other, a third figure (Spencer Dickhaus) appears. He performs a bizarre solo intimidating the couple and making sounds and aggressive gestures –all in great good humor – that reveal his jealousy. In the last part all dancers re-enter the stage in underwear. The piece is most successful when it allows the dancers to show their individuality and authenticity, something that is best achieved in the opening group choreography and Dickhaus' solo.

Jiří Pokorný's A Honeydew Hunt is captivating from the very beginning. In the darkness and to the subtle sound of rain a woman clad in a black bodysuit crosses the stage. Her slow and grounded movements are controlled by an anonymous figure, whose face is covered by the low curtain. When the fabric goes up a dark and surrealistic world is revealed. The misty woods are magical and daunting at the same time. The dancers, dressed in black coats and some armed with a pair of metal arms, are strangers among nature. Their movements seem to be controlled by an external force, which is intriguing. Yet the choreography seems to stand on its own, and therefore it gets overshadowed by the excessive visual – and sound effects. Nevertheless A Honeydew Hunt is thrilling and appealing. It is Pokorný’s first work for the main stage, and it will be interesting to see what other worlds he can create up there.

The very abstract and sober Mutual Comfort is quite the opposite. Edward Clug’s minimalist movements are in perfect harmony with the music (played live on stage by musicians from the Balletorkest) and work well on the bare stage. The dance is perfectly controlled and includes a lot of details such as subtle contractions. The dancers are inhumanly perfect and emotionless. The piece is interesting, yet not as fascinating and refreshing as some of his earlier works.

Left Right Left Right by Alexander Ekman, is a study of humans movements done in an unconventional and very entertaining way. The dancers are dressed in grey sweat suits and sneakers. The dancing includes stamping and screaming, with occasional balletic movements, all performed in a military disciplined way. One would expect an uninterrupted sequence of movements, but halfway through the curtain comes down and a hilarious video is played, showing the dancers rehearsing the choreography on the streets of The Hague. They get blank looks from passersby while they slowly cross the road or dance on the steps of a public building. During the video a quick change took place, and the dancers appear walking - and eventually dancing - on treadmills. They march in perfect unison, and jump and slide playfully on the machines. It looks simple, but requires a lot of concentration and stamina. A loud voice coming from the sound system tells us the dancers are taking more than 3000 steps. Then we hear the dancers thinking out loud about how much fun or how frightening it is to dance on the treadmills. It gives the piece a fun and personal touch. Left Right Left Right is a true showstopper and a perfect way to end the mixed bill in high spirits.