Gloria Kaufman Presents Dance At The Music Center

Review by Willard Manus


The NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER I, one of the world's finest and most daring dance companies, will perform two ground-breaking works when it takes center stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 23 & 24: The Second Person, choreographed by Crystal Pite, and Silent Screen, choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, with music by Philip Glass.

Since its inception in 1959, NDT has been a major force on the international dance scene. Formed in The Hague when two dozen dancers and choreographers broke away from the Nederlands Ballet, NDT has over the years built up a repertoire of cutting-edge modern dance works created by such masters as Jiri Kylian, Hans van Manen and William Forsythe. Ballets originally made for NDT are still danced all over the world. Numerous dancers and choreographers who started with the company have gone on to set up their own companies.

Today NDT is comprised of two companies. NDT I has thirty experienced dancers working under the artistic direction of Jim Vincent. NDT II was founded in 1978 and consists of young dancers under the age of twenty-three. This revolutionary company is headed by Gerald Tibbs.

Crystal Pite's The Second Person had its world premiere in 2007 at Lucent Danstheater, The Hague. Composer Owen Belton wrote a new composition, especially created for the Music Center production. The Chicago Tribune said The Second Person "is a 45-minute dance-theater extravaganza with Kafkaesque themes achieved through arresting design. It is peopled by two dozen dancers...and employs a marionette operated variously by roving gangs or individual dancers, a puppet resembling a Spielberg extraterrestrial, in a kind of Everyman tone poem of societal alienation and robotic servitude."

Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon's Silent Screen had its world premiere in 2005. It takes its inspiration from the art of silent movies, said Leon, who joined NDT in 1987 after finishing her dance training at the National Ballet Academy of Madrid. She and Liaghtfoot were appointed resident NDT choreographers in 2002.

Silent Sceen is set to the abstract yet stirring music of Philip Glass.

NDT's appearance at the Chandler Pavilion is part of the ongoing "Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center" series. Coming attractions include Alvin Ailey Dance Theater (April 8-17); Mark Morris Dance Group (in artistic collaboration with LA Opera; May 5-10); Ballet Nacional de Cuba (June 23-26); and American Ballet Theatre (July 14-17).

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave. Call 213-972-0711 or visit