Photo and design credits: unknown

International focus: Ballet on tour

Inaugural tour of Israel

The company embarked on its first-ever tour in 1960, only one year after its inception.
The dancers travelled to Israel by train and boat.

‘We got on the train at the Holland Spoor railway station in The Hague and were carrying so much stuff – everything from suitcases to set pieces to backdrops – that the conductor told us: “If you haven’t stowed everything away by the time we call at Roosendaal station, you will all need to get off the train.”’ – Han Ebbelaar


In Marseille, the dancers boarded the SS Jerusalem. They used the ship’s railing as the barre for their morning ballet practice. Pictured by the lifebuoy: Carel Birnie, Han Ebbelaar and Alexandra Radius.1



[1] 1     Versteeg, 1987 p.33


Photo credit: unknown

New York calling

After this first tour, others soon followed. This picture shows the members of the dance company in New York’s Central Park during their first tour of the United States, in 1965.


As the company became more international in scope, its diversity grew as well. Several dancers who had been with the company from the start, including Han Ebbelaar and Alexandra Radius, left NDT to join foreign companies in 1968. They were replaced by a new crop of dancers from the United States, who had come to the auditions NDT had held in New York.


Carel Birnie: ‘For the first time, the company was no longer made up of predominantly Dutch dancers. For many years, Chuck Czarny and Gérard Lemaître had been its only foreign members.’"2[1]



[1]2       Versteeg, 1987 p.69



© Sijthoff Pers

The new crop

From 1970 onward, dancers from all over the world flocked to join NDT. What prompted this international influx was the lack of training opportunities at Dutch dance academies, transforming NDT into a melting pot of dancers and choreographers from all over the world.

Taken during a 1972 tour of Australia, this photograph features the Polish-born Marek Kryszkiewicz and Canadian Marilyn Lewis, both of whom joined NDT in 1971. They can be considered part of the company’s first crop of international dancers.



© Anthony Crickmay

Stamping Ground

In 1980 Jiří Kylián, who since 1975 had served as NDT’s artistic director as well as being one of the company’s choreographers, travelled to Australia to study traditional Aboriginal dance. The visit inspired him to create the 1983 production Stamping Ground.


Informed by Aboriginal Australians’ view of dance as a highly personal form of artistic expression, Kylián worked closely with his dancers in creating the production, staying true to their personalities and intuition in relation to time, space and each other. With a company made up of dancers from all over the world, Stamping Ground brings together a wealth of cultures and nationalities.




© Hans Gerritsen