Dance review: Nederlands Dans Theater

Nederlands Dans Theater offer skilful athleticism and elegant, measured grace. Picture: Jon Savage
Nederlands Dans Theater offer skilful athleticism and elegant, measured grace. Picture: Jon Savage
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Edinburgh International Festival: Post-show chatter is always fascinating, especially after a performance like this, where excellence meets mystery.

Playhouse

*****

Nobody could deny the incredible skill and athleticism of the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) dancers, the measured strength and silken elegance that borders on breathtaking. That’s the excitable part of the chatter.

Then comes the ­inevitable, “not sure what it meant, though”, which takes nothing away, only adds. You could talk for hours about the three revolving rooms in Sol León and Paul Lightfoot’s Shoot The Moon, and the two ­couples and one man whose lives intersect within them.

León was inspired by the relationship, or lack thereof, between her grandparents – but the passion and pain between these couples is for us to interpret.

We’re also left to fill in the gaps during The Missing Door – but, oh, what fun that is. A dying man slumps in the corner, a dead woman is dragged across the floor, and a waiter cleans up the mess. Then we’re thrown inside the hazy ­consciousness of the soon-to-be-departed man, reflecting upon events past. It’s clever, imaginative stuff, with dollops of wit taking the edge off the surrealism. ­Gabriela Carrizo’s choreography pushes the dancers’ bodies to extremes, while Anders Hellström’s staging has our minds racing.

Which earns us the right to slide into the warm bath that is Stop-Motion and just enjoy. Yes, there are still questions: how does the dynamic partnering connect with the film footage of León and Lightfoot’s daughter, Saura, which then transforms into a bird in flight? Why is there so much flour on the stage? Created while NDT’s headquarters was being torn down (hence the “dust”), and Saura was soon to leave the nest, there are personal stories here – but again, they leave copious space to watch this glorious work through our own lens.

Until today, 7:30pm.