Posted on September 20, 2011
Paul Lightfoot (pictured) has succeeded Jim Vincent as artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater. Vincent, who became artistic director in 2009, will stay on as co-director for a handover period ending in December, and will then be artistic adviser until the end of the 2011/12 season.
Lightfoot has been with NDT since 1985, as a dancer and then as a choreographer together with Sol León. Since 2002, Lightfoot and León have been the company’s house choreographers, a role Lightfoot will retain alongside his new position.
Robert van Leer, the company’s new managing director, pointed out that this change had been taken at a time of severe arts budget cuts in the Netherlands, which recently threatened the company with downgrading to “national” rather than “international” status. After an international petition, NDT’s status was preserved, and the company will remain part of the government’s Basic Infrastructure (BIS).
“We must engage with the consequences of this new cultural climate,” van Leer explained. “For us, being one of the few in the BIS, it carries expanded responsibilities to meet the new expectations from the company. The fact that we will have to work even harder to meet those demands and at the same time maintain our (inter)national position requires a different approach. It is hard to say goodbye to Jim Vincent, who has put his heart and soul into Netherlands Dans Theater. In the past two and a half years he has made tremendous progress with the company, we are very grateful to him for those accomplishments.”
Johan van der Werf, interim chairman of the company’s supervisory board, said “Paul Lightfoot has been committed to the company for 26 and a half years. He knows the company through and through. His artistry and his enormous history with the company form a powerful starting point to face the future.”
Photograph: Rahi Rezvani