Monday, February 18, 2013

More on the Nederlands Dans Theatre (from Rebecca)

the slow moving girl in the red dress...
Yes, as per Arta's post below, it is true:  I took Alex, Duncan, and Duncan's friend Ben to see the NDT at the Silvercity Theatre here in Victoria.   They were all (sortof) willing [that is, given that the alternative would have been the opera the day before.  hahaha.]   We were running late, and arrived in the first 2 or 3 minutes:  the theatre was fairly full, so we, like Arta had been in Rigoletto, scuttled down to the front rows.

dancing on treadmills in Left, Right Left
Part of the challenge for this performance was that Ben and Duncan has a sleep over the night before ('sleepover' is code word for 'stay awake all night'), and so had Alex. 30 or so minutes into the performance, i turned left and right, and saw that all three of them were sleeping! ah well, i was reminded that Arta often dozes off too.

I woke them up at the intermission for yogurt and popcorn, and we returned for act II. This time both Alex and Ben stayed awake (but Duncan, who had back to back 'sleepovers' this weekend, was both out for the count AND snoring!)

We did spend plenty of time on the ride home discussing all four pieces.  Ben said his favourite was the one where they were dancing on treadmills.  Duncan was awake long enough to enjoy watching the dancers perform the first piece outside (like a kind of flashmob!)

Silent Screen
There is tons to be said about Silent Screen.  I like it that Meighan thought it was about nightmares.  It made me laugh that the dancer who introduced it said it was 'a very nice piece about a voyage'.  Hmm... the kind of voyage that leaves you a bit happy to wake up!  :-)   Gorgous and meditative, but also really bleak in places.  i sometimes found myself wanting to cry.  At the beginning... there were three dancers with their backs to us.  They were standing on the edge of a black and white video image of the sea, with waves rolling in (reminded me of Tofino, but it probably also works for the Dutch with the Sea).  Then they individually started to move.... the first woman, then the second man,... and only at that point did i realize that the third man was part of the scene projected on the screen... and he just walked away from us. and so it went.  Lots of space to read in things.

We spent alot of time discussing Secus. I loved the part in it where two of the men did a latin dance together (the kind you would expect to see done by a man in a tight black suit and a woman in a vibrant flouncy dress). It was so interesting seeing how the dance looked with the two men matched in size and strength, doing moves that were sometimes 'clearly' masculine, and sometimes 'clearly' feminine. It was a kind of unexpected beauty (in the sense that we don't usually get to SEE men dance together in that way). 

It was interesting the part that followed, where the dancers lined up in groups and exposed themselves to one at a time to the audience.  It was like the middle group (who started by lifting their shirts to expose their left rib cage) was saying "Look, we are all the same here".  The group on the right were taking turns showing us how they balance.  The group on the right was showing us how they all fall... and then it got more and more messy and complicated (with people mooning us, etc!)  We agreed that we didn't know what it meant, but it was wild.
Shine the Light
Shine the light?  I loved it.  But wow to what this particular ballet might mean. Who knows.  In costuming, it evoked some kind of Russian/cossack military thing.  I kept thinking at first about war, and PTSD.  Ben thought it was maybe about prison.  The scene with the woman whose dress stretched out across the stage was just amazing.  The piece made me think about memory. 
she who held the hand of memory?
Alex and I were obsessed with the guy with the long white hair and the shoes who just stood there on the stage at the end.  We stayed til the screen went black, wondering if he would ever start moving again.  He didn't. 

This is a ballet whose images will return to haunt.


  1. What Rebecca says about the person on stilts with the long white hair (down to the knees) is true. They were still standing on the stage no movement at all, until all of the theatre goers were gone and finally our big screen went blank.

    The best of the costuming you can see in Rebecca's last picture, but the image is not at its best. What is blue and above the shoulders of the dancer is not a collar, but really the hem of her coat about to slip down her back. The fabric of the coat had a silver sheen in its blueness. And the flounce on that hem was so spectacular that I was thinking to myself -- where can I buy that! I want a coat like that! Give me access to that designer, ... or even to a Vogue pattern and I will make it myself! (Or have Wyona make it for me for once she sees it, she will want one too.)

  2. And the award goes to you Rebecca. Not for getting the boys to the dance performance, but for getting them to talk about it after.

    I took a much younger group of kids to see Sanctuary Song -- a mini opera written for children about the relationsihp between a zoo keeper and an elephant. The elephant is about to be released to a sanctuary and remembers her life.

    A story about friendship, family, love and memory.

    Absolutely beautiful. Four singers, and 3 musicians. 45 mintues. Tears are coming to my eyes just remembering it. Beautiful music, spectacular performances, perfect costuming. It could have been Live at the Met.

    It is a production from Toronto and I doubt it will be coming to a city near you. We were so lucky it came to our city.