Friday, January 13, 2012

The Beginning and the End

In the past week all the dancers of NDT came back to work at the company and to scramble to get things together for our performance of Switch at the end of next week!
After a much needed holiday and visits with family the process of getting back into shape is never easy ... let alone those extra hours of rehearsal at the end of the day - ouch!
Very quickly we all had to remind ourselves of the pieces for the annual in studio run through. This is something we do since program printing needs to get started as soon as possible and
the pieces need to be seen to decide the order of the show.  This is truly one of the highlights of Switch- when everyone's quiet and dispersed but steady work that has been blossoming all fall is revealed and we get to see the diversity, ideas, and talent of our colleagues.  The evening was full of surprises, admiration, beauty and a little bit of nerves.  It is also the first time that we are all gathered together along with the technicians; so the sense of a collective is finally established along with the first actualization and realization of the work that has been done by the Switch Team.
In the next days people will be putting final touches on their work, the program will need to be organized and printed and the box office will be checked a lot; among other things...
We are hoping for the best for a great performance and for support for our cause - Jeugd Cultuur Fonds!
Get your tickets while there are still a few left......

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Tis the Season for Madness

Well amongst the madness of Dutch tours, an NDT 2 tour to Russia, flu bugs, injuries, planning for the company Christmas party, and news that one of the team members will have to fulfill a company engagement in Italy the day  before our show..... we still manage to keep our heads above water and the the Switch mission afloat.

A little while ago the graphic design company Vruchtvlees helped us finish our publicity materials.  Vruchtvlees is another company generously helping us with their resources and scarce extra time to make what we need happen. Celia has been happy to finally have posters and flyers to enhance our promising ticket sales.  We involve whoever is willing to distribute those anywhere we can think of.... Perhaps you've seen them around?

Since Christmas holidays are coming up it was also time to gather all the last minute info from the choreographers for the program book.  If it turns out to be anything like last year we can use all the organization we can get to ensure those programs are printed on time.  While each choreographer has music rights  to be checked, dancers to formally thank and explanations to be made they also have the opportunity to arrange their own photoshoot for the program book this year.  So Patricia, the multi-tasking photographer has a lot on her plate to manage in the next week or so in further preparation for program book materials.  This is all before arrangements are made for a greeting letter, thanking our very generous sponsors including Friends of NDT, advertising etc.

Final products of merchandise can be seen again in this blog. Please enjoy the below photos provided again by Kees Knaap including the photo of Celia representing the multi-tasking lifestyle of hers right now.......

                                             Caro looks pleased.                      

Bernie adding her personalized touch!

In addition to all this we also held the last Open Path jam session on the 12th.  Unfortunately there is no up to date footage from that one yet but we were all very happy with the turn out that happened and the results.  The possibility and potential of that concept seems to be endless.
And!  Lets not forget the technical workshop offered and organized by the cool Tom Visser.  Tom is a lighting designer and NDT technician and one of those who is voluntarily helping to design and light pieces for Switch.  Let's not forget all those technicians who are also donating time and skills to make things happen!  On Saturday choreographers were offered a little seminar by Tom  to learn about the basic ins and outs of stage lighting.  We're hoping this will make his job a little bit easier later.

For now, after the last NDT1 show tomorrow, we will all take a much needed rest.  We won't have to perform but the choreographers will likely be fine tuning their ideas, dancers will have packets of flyers in their purses and the Switch Team will be exchanging emails and preparing for technical rehearsals, program printing, party organizing, and event management to come. Let's pop some Christmas crackers and see each other in the new year!!

Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and good 2012 celebration!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Life in Winter

Given the recent off-putting cold it was no surprise that Open Path had it's smallest turn out so far for last week's jam session.  Most of the group knew each other from various previous experiences, however,  there was also a local electronic musician joining who found out about the sessions from one of our flyers and seemed to be happy that he came out. His exploration, indeed, turned out to be a pleasant enhancement and the overall atmosphere and flow of the night was one of the most intimate and interrelated so far. See below a particularly beautiful image from (again) our photographer Patricia Ribas.

In the more structured work of planning our big event in January Spenser has been up to  covering his bases with regards to the party as well as the structure and flow of the show with a little plan that he calls the "in-betweens".  These will be the fillers that happen in between pieces when dancers, sets and lighting need to change for the next piece.  He has been asking choreographers to write blurbs about the experience of creating their piece or simply just about the act of creating.  Spenser is well admired for the text he wrote for NDT 2's piece Cacti as well as his fabulous job at last year's company Christmas cabaret.  We're all looking forward to see what the creative and clever Spenser has in mind for us and how he will put things together.
As for the party he has organized to have D.J. Veronika Reithmeier play and sees the whole thing as an opportunity to bring some night life to Den Haag while celebrating all of the hard work involved in Switch.

In addition to all this Spenser is also making his own work for the performance.  When I last spoke to him about his creation he described it as a blossoming bud of an exploration on the idea of duplication and the question of - When does something duplicated transform into something individual? He will use text again as he did last year and has been doing a lot of writing and studio experimentation to go towards the process of making his piece.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kees Knaap

Above Carolina (a.k.a. woman with a mission) sees her vision come to fruition and learns all about printing.

This week Kees Knaap has continued to be extremely generous with Switch.  All of what they're doing with us is on a %100 charity basis and their always prompt collaboration allows for the full development of Carolina's ideas for merchandise.
All the work that Carolina has been doing  is manifesting itself now and it's looking like the results will be as unique and high quality as she had hoped for.
In addition to Kees's special method of printing (there are only 4 others doing the same in Holland), Bernie Autsema will further ad a unique flourish to articles to make them each one of a kind.
Thank you Bernie and Kees Knaap!

                                Carolina doubling as a tester model.

                           Bernie's painting.

(All photos courtesy of Kees Knaap)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Works in Progress

The last few weeks have been pretty intense around NDT.  We've had NDT 1 shows, a tour to France, and an NDT 2 premiere is coming up tomorrow.
Despite all this Switch choreographers have been committed to their projects, busy conceptualizing, researching and rehearsing.  I was able to speak with a couple of them about their ideas and processes.

Menghan did his photo shoot with our photographer Patricia in the Vondel Park in Amsterdam on NDT 1's free day. Despite the typical rainy dutch weather it was a success with dancer and subject matter Sarah Reynolds braving the shoot in a summer dress....
Menghan describes his piece as being about relationships between people, the "shadow" side of our selves, and the question of which side of ourselves it is that determines our direction in life.  He is currently working to organize adequate rehearsal time with his dancers Sarah, Roger, Anna and Georgi.  Menghan is also developing his lighting scheme around the challenge that a show, such as Switch, with so many pieces poses.

Georgi and Lydia are creating a piece together and were happy to give me the below blurb as a comment about their work.  They have already gotten into their process with dancers Bastien, Celia, Cesar, and Heather.  Apparently they will both also make brief appearances in their work and have also given us the below photo as more mysterious food for thought about their piece.

"For most of their lives fungi remain hidden inside rotting wood or in the soil only making appearances with structures such as mushrooms and puffballs when it is time to reproduce.
Fungi are decomposers quickly invading fallen trees and dead animals.
This situation can take place in our human world, if we pay careful attention."
- the Georgi and Lydia team.

Friday, September 30, 2011

On our behalf

This week the dancers of NDT were getting ready for our premiere of the company's opening program of the season - "Signature".  That means even tighter time for us to do all of our work for Switch.  Thank goodness for Manon helping us out in all areas and keeping us on track.

In the meantime we have also acquired some Open Path footage taken from this year's program book photographer - Patricia Ribas.  She will be doing individual photo shoots to represent each choreographers piece in the Switch program and has recently been very present in getting to know us and what we're all about.  We're interested to see greater depths of the work represented through "not necessarily" dance photography...

But for now some clips of experimentation for those who are curious.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Upwards and Onwards

Celia grooving at Open Path

                                             Photo by Kees Knaap

This Monday September 12th Switch had it's first of the four jam sessions called Open Path.
It has proven to be quite a magical evening and space in which there is a lot of room for development, exploration and more enjoyment.
We were pleasantly surprised and delighted to have many students from the upper levels of the Koningklijk Conservatory letting loose, joined by free lance musicians,  dancers, painters and photographers from our area.  Not every one is a professional in what they explored there but the freedom of the atmosphere was such that every one created and expressed in relation to each other. Among other things including great music, there were dancers lifting singers, dancers painting, dance photography, an amazing flutist creating for us without his flute, a shovel used as a prop guitar, multi-lingual countdowns, and some beautiful dance moments between colleagues.  Perhaps the highlight was an impromptu mass of humans become worms... 
We would be happy to have more people from the community trying any art for the first time at Open Path, and also more visual artists to enhance our depths - so please - tell your friends and come one, come all.

                                         Musicians at Open Path
                                          Photos by Kees Knaap

                                       A little brush stroke

After that creative initiation some rehearsals started happening as more choreographers take the plunge and sign up with all their various ideas to be part of the actual performance in January.  Among these ideas, again this year, will be a film if circumstances and funds allow.

In practical matters:  Roger has been a maniac on facebook and with his social networking to get our word out there.
Celia also has the hefty and never ending task of fund raising still on the must-to-do list. No one seems to envy her on that front although Manon has been diligently working on a potential sponsorship project through her contacts this week that we hope can help us.

Off to another meeting . . . . . . There are plans to be made for details of the actual event evening....Check back here for more details on that....
                                  Very Serious Art at Open Path
                                              Photo by Kees Knaap