Leading company part of celebration of modern dance

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One of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies arrives in Yorkshire next week, following a weekend of top dance at the county’s dance headquarters.

Nederlands Dans Theater 2, the youth arm of the Netherlands national dance company, is bringing a mixed programme to the Bradford Alhambra, returning to the city for the first time since June 2007.

Their visit follows a weekend of work presented at Yorkshire Dance in Leeds, where the first Juncture festival of new and experimental work is being held today and tomorrow.

For NDT2 it is a welcome return to Bradford and a very welcome return for the company’s artistic director, British-born former dancer Paul Lightfoot.

Born in Chester, he won a place to study at the Royal Ballet when he was a teenager and was destined to join the adult company, until a fateful meeting with NDT2.

“One morning there was what I thought was a class and I very nonchalantly turned up and then discovered it was actually an audition,” he says.

“I was offered the chance to go to work with the company for the summer, I smiled and went to see my tutor and asked ‘who are NDT2?’. I was told I was a silly boy.”

Rightly so. NDT was already one of the most popular contemporary dance companies in the world and once he realised he would have the opportunity to work alongside Jiri Kylian, one of the world’s leading choreographers, he jumped at the chance.

Along with his wife Sol Leon, he was appointed house choreographer to the main company in 2002 before taking over as artistic director of NDT2 in September 2011.

The company, which features dancers aged between 17 and 23, will perform four pieces of work next week when it visits Yorkshire. “It’s an incredibly busy time, but it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to come back to Bradford with our work,” says Lightfoot.

“It’s really important that we take our work out to audiences. The Bradford audience deserve the chance to see our work. Because it is the younger members of the company, the show is full of vigour and dynamism, I think it’s a programme that will appeal to a broad range of people.”

The company’s visit coincides with another celebration of dance being held at the Leeds based Yorkshire Dance centre.

The Quarry Hill venue is playing host to Juncture this month, a four-week celebration of contemporary dance, physical theatre and experimental work, curated by leading contemporary dancer Charlotte Vincent.

The focus of the programme is this weekend when, alongside the performances, there will be a series of debates, workshops and symposia about the dance world – which are open to all.

The events run all day today from 10am to 9.30pm and from 12noon to 10pm tomorrow.

Charlotte Vincent says: “I am delighted to introduce the first ever Juncture at Yorkshire Dance. I have invited some of my closest working colleagues to be part of this initial programme – funny, smart women and a few renegade men – who have something to say and a unique way of saying it.”

NDT2, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, March 27, 28, tickets 01274 432000.

For details on Juncture, log on to www.juncturedance.com