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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 [1]), 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.

Betroffenheit review at Sadler’s Wells – ‘electrifying dance-theatre’ [1]


Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young's witty new work is the standout from an otherwise mixed triple bill

Production Information

Nederlands Dans Theater 1
Sadler's Wells
June 26, 2018
June 29, 2018
Press night
June 26, 2018
Philip Glass (Shoot the Moon), Jeff Buckley, Owen Belton, Max Richter (Stop-Motion)
Crystal Pite, Marco Goecke, Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot
Cast includes
Myrthe van Opstal, Chloe Albaret, Marne van Opstal, Roger Van der Poel, Jorge Nozal, Lydia Bustinduy
Nederlands Dans Theater
Running time
2hrs 25mins