Step by Step. The Story of the Nederlands Dans Theater
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Step by Step. The Story of the Nederlands Dans Theater

(Ine Rietstap) The Low Countries - 1995, № 3, pp. 126-132

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In 1959 business manager Carel Birnie, ballet master Benjamin Harkarvy and fourteen prominent dancers of what was then the Nederlands Ballet decided to leave and set up their own company: the Nederlands Dans Theater. There were no prospects of financial support for the new company, but what the ‘rebels' did have was artistic vision, huge dance talent, boundless energy, inventiveness, a sense of unity and faith in their own abilities. There was no hierarchy within the Nederlands Dans Theater. Audiences reacted enthusiastically to the quality of performances and dancers, and there were favourable reviews in the independent press both at home and abroad. Eventually the Nederlands Dans Theater (soon referred to simply by its initials, NDT) developed into a company free of the awkward dichotomy between classical and modern dance which still beset other companies, and the female dancers danced just as easily in bare feet or sneakers as on points.

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