STAND BY (Netherlands Dans Theater). The company’s 60th birthday celebration has to be on-line rather than on-stage because of the coronavirus crisis. Paul Lightfoot, artistic director, and Solo Leon, artistic advisor, both choreographers, take their final curtain call in two dance pieces which have been specially created for lockdown. The Lucent Danstheater in The Hague, their home base, is stripped bare. The stage is vast. The dancers can easily keep their distance. Only those who are housemates, get to do duets. The choreography, spontaneous and inventive, constantly surprises. There are 20 set-pieces. Stand By takes as its starting point Harold Lander’s Etudes but comes up with its own distinctive dance vocabulary.
SHE REMEMBERS (Nederlands Dans Theater). The second piece is a goodbye gift, staged by Solo Leon and filmed, using archive material. The piece is an elegiac dream; a melancholy, wordless recherche du temps perdu. Present and past are intertwined, younger and older selves are seen side by side. The dancers remain within a comparative small area, drifting in and out. Faces are seen in huge blow-up on screen. Such pain, such happiness, tears and smiles, it’s a touching farewell.
THE MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY (Royal Opera House). They are all there: The White Rabbit, the Marsh Hare, the Queen of Hearts, Tweddledum and Tweddledee, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and, of course, Alice. Brought up on the drawings of John Tenniel, I recognise none of them. But then they are inmates at an institution. They are all crazy. They don’t want to be normal. What’s normal, anyway? ZooNation’s contribution to mental health issues is dazzling street and hip-hop pyrotechnics. Isaac Baptiste and Tommy Frazen stand out. The show is fun but goes on for far too long. It would benefit enormously from being cut to one act.