Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT; literal translation Dutch Dance Theatre) is a Dutch contemporary dance company. NDT is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. In addition to the Lucent Danstheater, NDT performs at other venues in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam's Het Muziektheater and Nijmegen's Stadsschouwburg.
NDT was founded in 1959 by Benjamin Harkarvy, Aart Verstegen and Carel Birnie together with a group of 18 members of the Dutch National Ballet (which was directed by Sonia Gaskell). Their intention was to break away from the more traditionally oriented Dutch National Ballet (Het Nederlands Ballet). NDT focused onto new ideas and experimentation with the exploration of new forms and techniques of dance.
In 1961 the Nederlands Dans Theater got subsidy from the city of The Hague and from the government. In the 1960s the NDTs repertoire comprised classical dance with a strong influence by American modern dance. The NDT got unprecedented recognition and success with the guidance of different persons like Hans van Manen and Ji?í Kylián as artistic directors. In the first years of the 1970s there was no clear policy because of various conflicts within the board of the NDT. That changed when in 1975 Jirí Kylian entered the board as artistic leader.
The Nederlands Dans Theater has been based in the Lucent Danstheater at the Spui in The Hague since 1987.
Many of the founding NDT dancers have made their mark on Dutch ballet and dance:
The first group of dancers also included:
Ji?í Kylián, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León (the two of them also referred to as Lightfoot León).
The Nederlands Dans Theater collaborates a lot with guest choreographers. For example: Hans van Manen, Johan Inger, Crystal Pite, Luká? Timulak, Cayetano Soto, Marco Goecke, Medhi Walerski, Ohad Naharin, Tero Saarinen, Wayne McGregor and William Forsythe.
Nederland Dans Theater I (30 dancers) was founded in 1959. The dancers all have solo qualities and are not divided into categories. Besides works of Ji?í Kylián and Lightfoot León the repertoire of Nederland Dans Theater I comprises a large number of works by choreographers such as Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Ohad Naharin.
Nederlands Dans Theater II (16 dancers) was founded in 1978 for dancers between 17 and 22, original name was 'De Springplank'. Alongside ballets by Hans van Manen and Ji?í Kylián, much work by young choreographic talent is performed.
By initiative of Ji?í Kylián a new group was set up in 1991, especially for dancers of 40 years and older. This group became legendary in the dance world. But because there was not enough structural subsidy to keep up the activities of Nederlands Dans Theater III as a permanent part of the company, the management and Board of Nederlands Dans Theater decided in 2006 to discontinue Nederlands Dans Theater III in its current form. Plans to continue the group and realize new projects are being investigated.
Besides works of Ji?í Kylián and Lightfoot León the NDT performs works choreographed by Jacopo Godani, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, and Crystal Pite. Both NDT I and II tour in the Netherlands and abroad with various shows.
The Nederlands Dans Theater, the choreographers, the dancers and the groups have won several awards. Both Hans van Manen and Ji?í Kylián are crowned as Officers in the Order of Orange Nassau by Queen Beatrix. In the Netherlands itself, the Nederlands Dans Theater has received the VSCD award (Vereniging van Schouwburgen en ConcertgebouwDirecties) twelve times. The Zwaan awards for "most impressive dance production 2009" and for "most impressive dance performance 2009" have been handed to the Nederlands Dans Theater. In foreign countries the NDT has also won several awards, including the Nijinsky Awards. The choreographers (Hans van Manen, Ji?í Kylián) and the NDT I have won awards on the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival.