Going Dutch: Dance & Otherwise


By Victoria Looseleaf

Who knew that Den Hague, home to the World Court and Vermeer’s fabulous Girl With a Pearl Earring (the painting, not the flick starring Scarlett Johannson and recent Oscar winner Colin Firth as the sexiest artist to pick up a palette), is a hotbed of dance! A short train ride from Amsterdam (where pot smoking, hookers and bicyclists are omnipresent – read my Letter From Amsterdam here), this picturesque town is where the great ballerina Anna Pavlova died of pneumonia at the Hotel Des Indes while on tour in 1931 at age 50. (Allegedly, the prima’s last words were “Bring me my Dying Swan costume.”).

The canal-dotted burg also gave birth to the Holland Dance Festival (read my Dance Magazine reviews from 2009 and 2007 here), with the ’09 theme celebrating 50 years of Nederlands Dans Theater.

Ah, NDT: I love everything about the company, from the choreographers the troupe spawned and its astonishingly gorgeous dancers, to its newest artistic director, New Jersey native, Jim Vincent. When the company made regular appearances in Los Angeles – at the Wadsworth, Wiltern and Royce Hall from 1995 until 2003, and in Orange County in ’04 – I was always in attendance. But when the economy tanked, NDT’s 2009 Music Center gig was cancelled (and your faithful scribe had been booked to do the pre-concert talks. Bah!).

But better late than never: NDT returns. Sure, Jiří Kylián may be gone (boo-hoo, but, hey, nothing lasts forever, especially in such an ethereal art form as dance), so get thee to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion next week. There you will have an evocative, emotional and exceptionally rich aesthetic experience. First read all about NDT here, in my Los Angeles Times preview story, listen to my KUSC-FM interview with Jim Vincent here, then come for the pre-concert talks, which, happily, I am doing, before you catch the show. To quote Bob Dylan, “It’s all good!”

P.S. Beach bunnies may not find Scheveningen Beach (a resort town near Den Hague) to their liking, but it’s positively primordial, especially in November. And then there’s the gambling. Go Dutch and tell them The Leaf sent you.

This entry was posted in ANNA PAVLOVA, COLIN FIRTH, DEN HAGUE, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, HOLLAND DANCE FESTIVAL, HOTEL DES INDES, JIM VINCENT, JOHANNES VERMEER, NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER, SCARLETT JOHANNSON, SCHEVENINGEN BEACH. Bookmark the permalink.