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CACTI returns to Nederlands Dans Theater 2

17 Oct 2011

The young guard of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 are on the eve of presenting the premiere of the new programme ‘CACTI’. The entire troupe of dancers will be on stage in two of the three ballets: CACTI, a ballet by regular guest choreographer Alexander Ekman that was nominated for the 2010 Dutch Swan Award for Best Dance Production, and Fine Line by Ken Ossola, who is making his debut as a dancemaker with Nederlands Dans Theater 2. The programme also features Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Jiří Kylián. The music of composers including Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Mahler is performed live by the Holland Symfonia – which is celebrating its 10th anniversary – with head conductor Otto Tausk and mezzo-soprano Barbara Kozelj. The premiere is on 27 October at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague, followed by a tour of the Netherlands. The finale of the programme is in The Hague on 2, 3 and 4 December.

According to Paul Lightfoot, Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater, the composition of the ‘CACTI’ programme epitomises the nature of Nederlands Dans Theater 2: the young dancers are exposed to historical work by Jiří Kylián, dance a recent key work (CACTI) by a renowned contemporary dancemaker (Ekman) as an ensemble, and present a new creation in collaboration with a first-time choreographer at Nederlands Dans Theater (Ken Ossola).

Alexander Ekman – CACTI

Alexander Ekman (born in Sweden in 1984), who became Nederlands Dans Theater’s regular guest choreographer this season, describes himself as a ‘rhythm freak’. And that’s clear to see and hear: during the creation process of CACTI (2010) he composed a new arrangement of Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen in collaboration with the Nederlands Dans Theater dancers and the musicians of the Holland Symfonia. The result was a rhythmic interaction between the dancers and the four musicians on stage. With CACTI, Ekman aims to challenge the audience to reflect on the way that ‘Art’ is perceived. In 2010 CACTI was nominated for the Dutch Swan Award for Best Dance Production. Following its premiere in 2010, CACTI was immediately booked by many theatres outside of the Netherlands. The programme was presented during Her Majesty Queen Beatrix’s state visit to His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. According to Artistic Director Paul Lightfoot, CACTI has quickly become a signature work for Nederlands Dans Theater 2 because of its use of the whole ensemble, its creativity, its mix of dance and theatre, its musicality and its high energy.

“In CACTI the young Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman… provides a hilarious commentary on the intellectual calibre of dance as High Art. He does this in a sophisticated way, with a sense of humour, pace, music, energy and total imagery.” (de Volkskrant, March 2010)

Ken Ossola – World Premiere – Fine Line

Swiss freelance dancer and choreographer Ken Ossola returns after twenty years to the place where he once began his career as a dancer: Nederlands Dans Theater 2. This time he is here as a choreographer, and makes his debut with the company in this role with Fine Line. The point of departure for this ballet was an octet by Mendelssohn; opus 20. On the basis of this composition and Mendelssohn’s concept of using all eight string instruments as an entire orchestra, Ossola entered into a creative process with all sixteen dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater 2. The key elements of this process were the various ways in which people communicate with one another, and the effects of group composition (individual, couple, group) on this.

Jiří Kylián – Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Kylián created Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen in 1982 based on the orchestral song cycle of the same name by Gustav Mahler. This composition is a masterpiece from Mahler’s early years on the themes of unrequited love, sorrow, anger, loneliness and, ultimately, consolation. The ballet that Kylián created to this music in 1982 had its premiere at a special moment in Kylián’s career: Nederlands Dans Theater had just returned from performances in Prague, the first time that Kylián had seen the city of his birth since 1968, the year the Prague Spring was crushed by Soviet troops.

The choreography takes the form of five duets that flow into one another. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen is a choreography that clearly illustrates Kylián’s characteristic idiom of the time: flowing and undulating movements, small unexpected details, spectacular lifts. The dance is a faithful reflection of the emotions in the song cycle.





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