ILLUMINATE by NDT2 at Amare in The Hague and on tour

Last night saw the season’s first show at the Amare from NDT2 with two brand new pieces and the reprise of one that perhaps did not realize its true potential due to the pandemic. Each of the pieces highlighted the talents of three emerging choreographers under the banner of Illuminate.

First up was the première of Lights, Camera, Dismantled which was, as the name implies, about the illusional aspects of the entertainment industry. Choreographer Micaela Taylor, being from Hollywood, is clearly aware that all that glitters is not gold. It all started with a lot of razzmatazz with the dancers moving in sync with a drum machine and a call from one of them to start the show right now. The dancers were all dressed in white shirts, black trousers and white socks and looked like waiters from a 1950s American diner. Their faces were all painted like circus clowns or latter-day Ziggy Stardusts and some sequences put me in mind of Marcel Marceau. The crisp drumbeat soon gave way to radio static and the glitter wore a bit thin as reality struck home. I loved Lisette van der Linden’s lighting. Lit almost entirely from above with a few spotlights, the black box stage became a space where no one could hide.

Codes of Conduct was the evening’s second première in which Jermaine Spivey, to his own soundscape, created a world of individuals where each dancer had their own little space and developed their own little choreography. Almost like automata the dancers’ jerky movements to the sounds of a synthetic voice described a world of isolation. Attempts later in the piece, to virtual silence, to form relationships did not really work out for them.

Last up was Nadav Zelner’s Bedtime Story which was originally produced during the pandemic and therefore was not seen by a lot of people. Exploiting his belief that, “The small, secret moment between sleep and consciousness is the moment in which I make my dreams come true”, this was a helter-skelter of a piece. It moved so fast that the audience and surely the dancers hardly had time to catch their breath. This never ending kaleidoscope was a frenetic sequence of very short dramatic moments where each individual or group had its own designated space defined by the lighting. After a minute or two they disappeared into the darkness as another area of the stage was lit and another sequence started. I once saw Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s three-ring circus at Madison Square Gardens in New York and Bedtime Story was bit like that – there was so much going on and everything changing so quickly that it was sometimes difficult to keep up. The tempo was maintained by some incredible, relentless music mainly, it seemed, of North African/Arab origin. At the end the audience was on its feet but I really needed to stay seated for a little rest. Brilliant, really exciting stuff.   Michael Hasted  3rd November 2023

Photo by and © Rahi Rezvani