Nederlands Dans Theater 1 review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘astounding precision’
A morally serious and witty gem of a work lodges between three duller and borderline indulgent pieces in NDT1’s latest mixed bill.
The Statement, by choreographer Crystal Pite and playwright Jonathon Young (co-creators of the searing Betroffenheit), is a 19-minute psycho-political thriller, dramatically lit and laced with satire, in which four governmental underlings, by turns squirming, guilt-ridden and icily assured, attempt to fabricate a statement that will publicly exonerate their superiors for the creation of a vicious (and lucrative) foreign conflict.
Somebody, of course, must take the hit. In this blame game, a dance of neoliberal venality and ethical elasticity, Pite maps the quartet’s querulous, darting movement onto Young’s pre-recorded dialogue with astounding precision and detail.
Set around a gleaming table in an anonymous boardroom (an invocation, perhaps, of Kurt Jooss’ seminal 1932 political ballet The Green Table), over which looms an ominously giant chimney, the suited bureaucrats struggle to gain an upper hand. The distance between words and intent become uncomfortably apparent: one seemingly soothes his anxious colleague while gripping her neck and forcing her face towards the polished mahogany. Impeccably performed by NDT’s pedigree dancers, it’s an indictment of Western imperialism crafted with genius-level creativity and control.
It’s preceded by Marco Goecke’s Woke Up Blind, an enjoyable display of nervy pheromone-fuelled physicality set to Jeff Buckley.
Shoot the Moon and Stop-Motion, by company directors Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot, bookend the bill with amorphous emotional states, rearing leg extensions and a pretentious portion of chalk dust.