AUDIENCE REVIEW: Dare to Say: How NDT2 Approaches the Pandemic
Netherlands Dans Theater
November 6,7,and 8 2020 (viewed on November 8th)
This program was available through a livestream link for these days at the cost of 15 pounds (roughly 18.50 USD) per show. It was not recorded for later viewing, but thankfully I was able to attend on the last day. The two works mentioned were Fusion and Some Confusions by Dimo Milev with assistance by Francesca Caroti, and Four Relations by Alexander Ekman with assistance by Spencer Dickhaus. Both were accompanied with live music by musicians of the Dutch Ballet Orchestra.
As the first piece Fusion and Some Confusions started, I felt an unwanted sense of familiarity as a square box was illuminated in the center of the stage. I have seen too many boxes in my time as a New York dance student in the pandemic. However, the dancers discovering, surrounding, and/or dancing within the box showed beautiful contrast between the feelings of uncertain rigidity one has in an undefined space and the confident and sometimes sensual fluidity a person can still have in structure. As the piece unfolded, the box began to shrink in size, becoming a problem once multiple sets of dancers had taken their claim to the stage. Yet, the cast was able to use the space so efficiently and elegantly between and through each other that you would not have known the set had been changed, even though you did just watch them maneuver the boxes themselves. Once the box reaches a size that could only fit the ball of one’s foot, the dancers seamlessly revert back into states of confusion. It felt relatable in the sense that something that becomes familiar overtime can transform into another unapproachable obstacle. Job well done to Demi Bawon, Kenedy Kallas, Austin Meiteen, Kele Roberson, Ivo Matteus, and Bary Gans who were in the cast of my viewing day.
The second piece, Four Relations, was an intimate look on four different types of relationships. Interestingly, this piece is a rework of a piece called Maybe Two that was created in 2013 but could not be performed due to the pandemic. The use of narration and multiple camera angles made it seem as if the audience were on stage moving alongside the dancers. As we are taken through the four relationships, the cast theatrically performed their respective roles in ways that are expected of Netherlands Dans Theater dancers, technically and emotionally sound. I would like to bring attention to the last set of dancers who shed light on what I believe should be described as dependently manipulative relationships. As the dancers participated in weight sharing and contact initiated movement while being supported by chairs, they also displayed feelings of comfortability despite handling each other quite roughly at times. I would say out of the four couples, I felt this one was the realest. The dancers truly showed their trust and support for each other, something very much necessary for relationships, making this section of the piece attention-grasping yet conceptually simple enough to end the program. This program was a great way to connect with worldly relations after being constricted to either a box or a bedroom. Along with the dancers listed above, I would also like to acknowledge Jordan Pelliteri, Mikaela Kelly, Nick Daniels, and Jesse Callaert.
Publicity photo from "Dare to Say" Rahi Rezvani