The New Jerseyean In Charge of Nederlands Dans Theater
After moving to the Hague to join the Nederlands Dans Theater when he was 19, New Jersey-born Jim Vincent, now 52, has come full circle: Vincent, who spent 22 years performing in Europe — 12 of them with NDT — returned to the troupe in 2009 to become its artistic director. When the company performs at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Wednesday and Thursday as part of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center, Vincent knows he is part of the cutting-edge continuum that began in 1959, when the company was founded.
“Back then people referred to the dancers as rebels,” says Vincent by phone from Holland, “but I think they were people who were driven by their passion. They had a huge hunger and if that’s what it takes to be a rebel, OK, but they were looking to do something that could bring dance closer to society as well as having an impact on innovation, so this is what I continue to focus on.”
While Vincent came of age under Jiří Kylián, who led NDT for years, beginning in 1978 with his emotional and kinetic movement vocabulary, he says being absent from the Dutch troupe served him well.
“I think there’s some logic to my getting away from the company to be able to come back in this capacity. It gave me a certain objectivity that I don’t think I would have had had I stayed with it all these years,” says the expatriate, who spent nearly a decade helming Hubbard Street Dance Chicago before returning to Holland.
Though Kylián’s pieces are still key to the 29-member company, the Music Center concerts will feature works by NDT’s in-house choreographers, the duo Sol León and Paul Lightfoot (“Silent Screen”) and Crystal Pite’s “The Second Person.” Still, the troupe’s signature style — isolated body moves, lightning-swift shifts in weight and intricate couplings — will all be on view.
To read more about Nederlands Dans Theater, click here for my feature in Sunday's Arts & Books section.
— Victoria Looseleaf
Photo Credit: Joris-Jan Bos.