Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Fantasy and realism through the prism of dance

The Hague-based Nederlands Dans Theater has returned to Taiwan with two mixed-bill programs for Taichung and Kaohsiung with works by its own choreographers and outside guests

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

The Nederlands Dans Theater will perform Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot’s Shut Eye this weekend at the National Taichung Theater as part of a mixed-bill program of four dances and then the following weekend at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts.

Photo courtesy of the Nederlands Dans Theater

The Hague-based Nederlands Dans Theatre (NDT 1) is back at the National Taichung Theater this weekend — its home away from home in Taiwan — for the first of two weekends of performances that will give fans a chance to see a wide variety of dances.

That Taichung is the hometown of NDT 1 dancer Wu Meng-ke (吳孟珂), the first Taiwanese to join the company — in 2013 after three years with NDT 2, its second iteration for younger performers — might have something to do with the company’s repeat visits.

NDT 1 will perform Shut Eye, Woke up Blind, The Statement and Bedroom Folk in Taichung, and then move to Kaohsiung next week to perform Shut Eye, Solo Echo and Safe as Houses as the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) joined with its sister house to coproduce this tour.

The two mixed-bill programs both feature pieces by NDT’s house choreographers Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot, and Canadian associate choreographer Crystal Pite.

Works by Marco Goecke, who joined the company as an associate choreographer in 2013 and the partnership of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, the cofounders of the Israel-based L-E-V Dance Company, will round out the Taichung shows.


All five are creating some of the most challenging contemporary choreography being performed today.

In Shut Eye, NDT artistic director Lightfoot and Leon ask viewers the question: Is what we see limited by our senses or is it conditioned by how we let our brain manipulate images through our emotions? They use black and white, light and shadow to create a surrealistic fantasy world

For Woke Up Blind, Goecke uses two very different songs by Jeff Buckley, You and I and The Way Young Lovers Do and seven dancers — two women and five men — to explore the intense highs and longings of love.

Pite describes The Statement as a one-act play, where the four characters become locked in a battle over responsibility and their own morality after being ordered to fuel a conflict in a distant country.

For 2015’s Bedroom Folk, Eyal and Behar collaborated with musician Ori Lichtik and set and lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus to create a work in which movement, music and light are equal protagonists.

Pite’s 2012 work, Solo Echo was inspired by Mark Strand’s poem Lines for Winter, where the individual is the focal point against a backdrop of whirling snowflakes.

Lightfoot and Leon’s Safe as Houses for which they not only choreographed, but designed the costumes and set, was inspired by the I Ching and set to music by Bach.

It is a piece that ponders humankind’s reliance on physical environment and the capability to survive.

All the shows are more than two hours — 150 minutes for Taichung and 130 minutes for Weiwuying — with intermissions, for those who might need to make travel plans to see one or both programs.

Performance Notes

WHAT: Nederlands Dans Theater

WHEN: Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm

WHERE: The Grand Theater at the National Taichung Theater (台中國家歌劇院) 101, Huilai Rd Sec 2, Taichung City (台中市惠來路二段101號)

ADMISSION: Remaining tickets are NT$500 to NT$1,500, available at the theater’s box offices, online at and convenience store ticket kiosks

ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: June 21 at 7:30pm and June 22 at 2:30pm at the Opera House at the Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (衛武營國家藝術文化中心) 1, Sanduo 1st Rd, Kaohsiung City (高雄市三多一路1號); tickets NT$300 to NT$2,200, available as above

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