Dance company ‘fantastic place to work’

Apr. 01, 2013 @ 05:03 PM

Netherlands Dans Theater artistic director Paul Lightfoot knows first-hand what a rich opportunity this company provides for choreographers. That’s because prior to becoming the latest artistic director in the company’s 50-year history, the team of Lightfoot and Sol Leon created 43 dances for this company over a 28-year period.
Audiences here will see their work in both the company’s Wednesday and Friday programs at UNC’s Memorial Hall.
“It’s just a fantastic place to work,” Lightfoot said of the company’s headquarters, in a telephone interview from The Hague in Holland. “There’s a sense of creativity all over the house.”  A top-notch team of in-house designers creates costumes, lighting, audio visuals and other aspects of stagecraft for company productions, Lightfoot added.
Then, there are the dancers. “This company is exemplary for what’s going on in modern dance. They’re the best dancers in the world,” Lightfoot said. In addition to technique and musicality, these dancers have a human quality that comes through in performances, he added.
The 29-member Netherlands Dans Theater’s touring company represents an eclectic mix of people from 20 nationalities, Lightfoot said.
Unlike dancers in many other companies, who also have part-time jobs, these dancers can focus solely on dancing. As dancer (and up-and-coming choreographer) Medhi Walerski put it, “You dive into a pool of dance.”
As a choreographer, Walerski also appreciates the company’s “high-caliber, talented, creative” dancers and the overall environment. “You have a lot of freedom and that’s what you need as a creator.”
Lightfoot said he will continue to choreograph, along with Leon, for the company – a condition he made clear with the board before accepting the artistic director position in September 2011. “It’s where I feel most like myself,” Lightfoot said of creating dances.