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Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT; literal translation, Netherlands Dance Theatre) is a Dutch contemporary dance company. NDT is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Haguemarker. In addition to the Lucent Danstheater, NDT performs at other venues in the Netherlands, including Amsterdammarker's Het Muziektheater and Nijmegenmarker's Stadsschouwburg.


NDT was founded in 1959 by Benjamin Harkarvy, Aart Verstegen and Carel Birnie together with a group of 18 members of the Dutch National Ballet (which was directed by Sonia Gaskell). Their intention was to break away from the more traditionally oriented Dutch National Ballet (Het Nederlands Ballet). NDT focused on to new ideas and experimentation with the exploration of new forms and techniques of dance.

In 1961 the Nederlands Dans Theater got subsidy from the city of Den Hague and from the government.In the sixties the NDTs repertoire existed out of a combination of classical dance with a strong influence by American modern dance. The NDT got unprecedented recognition and success with guiding of different persons like Hans van Manen as artictic director and Jiří KyliánIn the first years of the seventies there was no clear policy because of various conflict within the board of the NDT. That changed when in 1975 Jirí Kylian entered the board as artistic leaderThe Nederlands Dans Theater has been stationed in the Lucent Danstheater at the Spui in Den Hague since 1987.

Many of the founding NDT dancers have made their mark on Dutch ballet and dance:
  • Gérard Lemaître was knighted Order of Orange-Nassau by Queen Beatrix. He retired in 1982 but returned as dancer of the NDT III company till 2006.
  • Charles Czarny, Martinette Janmaat and Mabel Alter became well known ballet teachers at the conservatoires and dance academies in Rotterdammarker and Amsterdammarker
  • Martinette Janmaat was artistic director for the Contemporary dance department at the Nationale Ballet Academy in Amsterdam.

The first group of dancers also included:
  • Willy de la Bije
  • Aart Verstegen
  • Jaap Flier
  • Pepita Goedemans
  • Mabel Alter
  • Hannie van Leeuwen
  • Annemarie Verhoeven
  • Alexandra Radius
  • Olga Dzialiner
  • Marianne Westerdijk

Artistic directors

  • Hans van Manen (1961-1970) He was connected to the NDT from 1960 till 1971 as a dancer (till1963) and after that as a choreographer and artistic leader. He was also a freelancer at the Nationale Ballet, as a choreographer. He came back in 1988 as house choreographer at the Nederlands Dans Theater. His repertoire exist out of more than 110 ballets ( of which are 2 for the Nederlands Dans Theater).

  • Jaap Flier (1970- 1973) became the new artistic director. For this job he stopped dancing but once in a while he made his own choreography.

  • Hans Knill (1975-1987) has worked together with Jiří Kylián and was for a very long period the artistic director of the NDT.

  • Marian Sarstädt (1962-1972/1999-2004) has been a dancer and a stafmember of the artistic council as adjunct-director and had a great contribution to the NDT.

  • Jiří Kylián (1975-2004), the second artistic director, brought unprecedented recognition and success to NDT. His time as artistic director was from 1975 to 1999, and after he stepped down as artistic director, he remained with NDT as chief choreographer and artistic adviser.

  • Anders Hellström (2004 to September 2009) trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and danced with the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Hamburg Ballet. He also danced with William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt from 1993-1999 before taking over as Artistic Director of Sweden's Goteburg Ballet.

  • Jim Vincent (James Francis Vincent Jr.) He danced for the NDT from 1978 till 1990. After that he went to Spain where he danced from 1990 till 1994 and he was the adjunct-director. After this he worked in Lyon ( Opera ballet) and Disneyland Resort Paris ( director “ corporate and Special Events”). In 2000 he became artistic director from the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. And in 2009 he became the artistic director of the NDT.

Resident choreographers

Jiří Kylián, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León (referred to as Lightfoot León).

Guest choreographers

The Nederlands Dans Theater collaborates a lot with renowned guest choreographers. For example: Hans van Manen, Johan Inger, Lukáš Timulak, Marco Goecke, Medhi Walerski, Ohad Naharin, Tero Saarinen, Wayne McGregor en William Forsythe

Three companies


Nederland Dans Theater I (30 dancers) was founded in 1959, and is highly successful all over the world. The dancers all have solo qualities and are not divided into categories. Besides works of Jiri Kylián and Lightfoot León the repertoire of Nederland Dans Theater I comprises a large number of works by internationally renowned choreographers such as Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Ohad Naharin. Website NDT


Nederlands Dans Theater II (16 dancers) was founded in 1978 for dancers between 17 and 22. Alongside ballets by Hans van Manen and Jiri Kylián, much work by young choreographic talent is performed. As a true pioneer, the ensemble is constantly striving to give more room to new and brave initiatives. Website NDT


With the initiative of Jiri Kylián a new group was set up in 1991, especially for dancers of 40 years and older. This group became legendary in the dance world. But because there was not enough structural subsidy to keep up the activities of Nederlands Dans Theater III as a permanent part of the company, the management and Board of Nederlands Dans Theater decided in 2006 that Nederlands Dans Theater III will not be continued in its current form. Plans to continue the group and realize new projects are being investigated.


Besides works of Jiri Kylián and Lightfoot León the NDT performs works choreographed by Jacopo Godani, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, and Crystal Pite. Both NDT I as II tour in the Netherlands and abroad with diverse shows.

50 years anniversary

The NDT exists 50 years in the summer of 2009. A new shows has put pout together especially to celebrate this anniversary, in which NDT I and II will play together. The NDT celebrates their anniversary by paying tribute to the founders of NDT. There is also a collaboration with the Holland Dance Festival, which honors the NDT by dedicating the whole festival to this anniversary.


The Nederlands Dans Theater, the choreographers, the dancers and the groups have won several awards. Both Hans van Manen and Jiří Kylián are crowned as Officers in the Order of Orange Nassau by Queen Beatrix. In the Netherlands itself, the Nederlands Dans Theater has received 12 times the VSCD award (Vereniging van Schouwburgen en ConcertgebouwDirectie's). The Zwaan awards for "most impressive dance production 2009" and for "most impressive dance performance 2009" has been handed to the Nederlands Dans Theater. In foreign countries the NDT has also won several awards, among which Nijinsky Awards. The choreographers (Hans van Manen, Jirí Kylían) and the NDT I have won awards on the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival.


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