Who: Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT)
What: Livestreamed dance
Where: NDT online
When: December 3-5, €15, 2:00 (with an added 6:00 am show on December 5)
Why: This past March, Nederlands Dans Theater brought its sixtieth anniversary celebration to City Center, presenting three US premieres: Gabriela Carrizo’s The Missing Door, Marco Goecke’s Walk the Demon, and Sol León and Paul Lightfoot’s Shut Eye. With much of the world in lockdown, there is no telling when NDT will be back on these shores — they have appeared at the Joyce often as well — but you can catch them December 3-5 in the company’s latest digital performance, Yoann Bourgeois’s I wonder where the dreams I don’t remember go. For his NDT 2 debut in 2019, the French acrobat, actor, juggler, dancer, and choreographer staged Little Song, in which a man and a woman move about a small wooden set that becomes a character unto itself while the Texas rock band Explosions in the Sky hovers behind them. The Hague-based company previously streamed “Dare to Say” November 6-8, consisting of Alexander Ekman’s Four Relations and Dimo Milev’s Fusions and some confusions. The forty-five-minute December 3-5 shows will be livestreamed from the Zuiderstrandtheater, where all coronavirus protocols were followed during the filming. “The livestreams are by no means a diluted theater experience,” NDT notes on its website. “The dancers and support teams make every effort to make your visit to our online theater as special and inspiring as possible.” The work will not be archived for later viewing but must be experienced live, so take careful note of the scheduled time depending on where you are in the world. (For more on Bourgeois, you can watch Les grand fantômes here.)
Update: Streamed live from NDT’s Zuiderstrandtheater in front of a limited audience, Yoann Bourgeois’s I wonder where the dreams I don’t remember go is a mesmerizing, meditative, awe-inspiring work about identity and personal relationships that uniquely captures the emotional and physical ups and downs of life during this age of Covid-19 and quarantine. The presentation begins with a short documentary that goes behind the scenes of the making of the piece that only gives hints about its visual marvel. The forty-minute work is performed by four men and four women wearing some combination of a blue-patterned button-down shirt or green T-shirt, blue jeans or dark pants, and white sneakers or black heels, as if they are all interchangeable, and set to a score by German-British composer and pianist Max Richter.
Bourgeois’s initially claustrophobic set consists of two large catty-corner walls and a wooden floor on which there are two chairs and a table, all made of unpainted wood, the grain forming Rorschach-like designs. A man and a woman soon enter and take seats; as they glide about the floor and against the walls, using the furniture as props, film of them is projected onto one of the walls but at a different angle, rotated ninety degrees, making it look like they are executing gravity-defying feats, floating through the air in impossible ways as your head swivels between the real and the recorded, the latter at times becoming a haunting, dreamlike vision, especially when the table and chairs are repositioned directly into the walls, more of the dancers enter and reach out to one another, and the walls start moving. So many of us might still be trapped at home, desperate for the end of this global nightmare, but Bourgeois is reminding us that human existence is impermanent, that people are by nature social animals who need to be among fellow beings, and that life, above all, is intrinsically beautiful and poetic — and pretty darn cool — and that there is virtually no limit to what we can accomplish if we just put our minds and bodies to it.