Experiment: Beyond dance

© Sven Ulsa

Cain and Abel: NDT on TV

Hans van Manen’s ballet Cain and Abel, produced in association with public broadcaster VPRO and director Joes Odufré (whose credits include popular TV shows such as 't Schaep met de 5 pooten), aired on Dutch television in 1961.

NDT has sought to collaborate with other artistic disciplines since the very beginning. The Hague-based visual artist and set designer Jean-Paul Vroom created the stage design for Cain and Abel, while the backdrop for the ballet was designed by fine-art painter Carel Willink.


Costumes by Versace and Viktor & Rolf

NDT has collaborated with several renowned costume designers over the years. In 1975, the Chinese-Dutch fashion designer Fong Leng designed the costumes for Hans van Manen's Noble et Sentimentale. The picture shows Alida Chase and Sabine Kupferberg in the 1991 ballet Marion Marion. The costumes for this ballet were designed by Gianni Versace.

More recently, in 2004, Viktor & Rolf designed the costumes for the ballet 2 Lips and Dancers and Space. Choreographer Robert Wilson gave the designers the same degree of artistic freedom he demands in his own projects, and promptly agreed to all the designers’ suggestions.

After the first costume fitting, we had to get rid of nearly all the movement in the piece. When you’re wearing a metal harness, you can only walk forward and backward – forget about jumping or lifting your legs.’  David Krügel – dancer


[1 1    Programmaboek november 2004

© Hans Gerritsen

Never Never Land

Every so often, the lines between dance and other art forms become almost completely blurred.

In 1970, American sculptor Peter Dockley was offered the opportunity to team up with the Eventstructure Research Group (ERG) art collective to produce the show Never Never Land for NDT.

In this production, the audience was surrounded by dancers who climbed over and around them in huge nets. The dancers were dressed in oversized foam rubber costumes which were so restrictive they were only able to make small, slow movements. The piece was also referred to as a ‘kinetic object show’ in the media.2 Outside the Netherlands, Dockley worked with gymnasts instead of dancers. Never Never Land can be regarded as one of NDT’s most experimental productions.

2      Algemeen Handelsblad, 1970 

© Cees van Gelderen