The Big Crying
Choreography – Marco Goecke
Music – Rorogwela: ‘Death Lullaby’; ‘Electricity feat’ Fire Eater: ‘Indlela Yababi’ Tori Amos: ‘Beauty Queen’, ‘Marianne’, ‘Blood Rose’s, ‘In the springtime of his voodoo’, ‘Bells ‘For Her’’.
Lighting – Udo Haberland
Set & Costumes – Marco Goecke
Dancers – Emmitt Cawley, Kenedy Kallas, Cassandra Martin, Barry Gans, Demi Bawon, Austin Meiteen, Annika Verplancke, Samuel van der Veer, Ivo Matteus, Auguste Palayer, Nick Daniels, Nova Valkenhoff, Omani Ormskirk, Ricardo Hartley, Úrsula Urgeles, Sophie Whittome, Rui-Ting Yu, Kele Roberson

 Simple Things
Choreography – Hans van Manen
Music – Alan Bern: ‘Scarlatti Fever’ Joseph Haydn: piano trio Nr. 28 in E-major, Hoboken 15, Allegretto Peteris Vasks: ‘Weiße Landschaft’ for piano
Lighting – Joop Caboort
Set & Costumes – Keso Dekker
Dancers – Cassandra Martin, Emmitt Cawley, Kenedy Kallas, Auguste Palayer

Choreography – Johan Inger
Music – Ibrahim Maalouf: ‘Lily’, ‘Will Soon Be a Woman’, ‘Maeva in the Wonderland’, ‘Your Soul’, ‘Never Serious’
Lighting Designer – Tom Visser
Set – Johan Inger
Costumes – Bregje van Balen
Dancers Sophie Whittome, Ivo Mateus, Auguste Palayer, Ricardo Hartley, Omani Ormskirk, Demi Bawon, Nova Valkenhoff, Samuel van der Veer, Barry Gans, Rui-Ting Yu, Úrsula Urgeles, Austin Meiteen, Cassandra Martin, Nick Daniels

Reviewed by: G. J. Dowler

Reviewed: 18 February, 2022
Venue: Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London

A very grown-up programme from the young dancers of the junior ensemble of Nederlands Dans Theater.  Given their close relationship between the senior company, NDT2 benefits from an impressively high level of input from established choreographers – no student musings for them.  Let it be said first and foremost how good these young performers are; they stand comparison with almost any professional contemporary dance group and take the edge with their absolute commitment and eagerness to master their craft.  So it proved in a challenging programme which they delivered with utter control and they impressed in each of the three very varied works on show in their short Sadler’s Wells visit.

Marco Goecke has been the ensemble’s Associate Choreographer since 2013, and one can see why he continues his relationship – it does them good.  Not that your reviewer enjoys his frenzied style, his jerking, twitching idiom, but it requires quicksilver movement and utter precision, especially in ensemble.  The Big Crying is no exception and NDT2’s dancers are quite superb in all its demands.  Apparently suffused with Goecke’s personal anguish at the death of his own father, it features vignettes of movement delivered by single or grouping of dancers, before they hurry off and an again in his trademark scurry, palms flat against their thighs.  There are silent howls, mouthings and chatterings and then vocalised squeals, yelps, laughter and screams, movements repeated again and again, the stop-start style dominant.  It is long (33 minutes) and generally unengaging, Goecke’s entire vocabulary and style even alienating.  And yet, the work ends with an solo danced with intensity by Emmitt Cawley which suddenly acquires weight and meaning, the final Tori Amos song used deeply poignant.

Hans van Manen’s twenty-year-old 

Simple Things comes as a palette cleanser after Goecke, and it was good to see the four dancers relish the clear, clean lines of the choreography, their bodies alert and responsive to the music and each other.  It begins with a playful duet for the two men to Alan Bern’s accordion virtuoso piece ‘Scarlatti Fever’.  The mood becomes less joyous with a series of male/female duets only to return to its sunny beginning with a repeat of the initial section.  It is direct and deceptively simple, van Manen’s trademark style, and was beautiful delivered by the quartet of dancers, the two men, Emmitt Cawley and Auguste Palayer contrasting startlingly in height, both outstanding.

The choice of music was a key factor to the success of the closing work, Johan Inger’s IMPASSE – Ibrahim Maalouf’s middle-eastern, jazz-influenced sounds were engaging and strongly underpinned Inger’s initially bizarre concept.  The choreographer explores the loss of individuality as a result of social and peer pressure which he demonstrates with commendable clarity despite his at times madcap dance idiom.  As more and more dancers populate the stage, smothering the individuality of the initial three performers, frenzy and desperation mount as they continue to seek pleasure and enjoyment – the sight of dancers rolling themselves upstage only to rise and skip over the turning bodies of their fellow cast members in a never-ending treadmill is an image which will remain for long in the mind’s eye.  Debauchery and violence are increasingly depicted, a far cry from the innocent early gambollings of the trio.  Inger is skilled at indicating chaos without letting it into his dance-making, and his message comes across loud and clear.  As in the first two works, NDT’s eager young artists make the very most of every opportunity given and enter fully into the work’s particular idiom.


  • The Big Crying      two stars
  • Simple Things       three stars
  • IMPASSE         four stars
  • The dancers         five stars

Skip to content