Arts Umbrella dancers have flown to the Hague this week for their first private auditions with Nederlands Dans Theater, one of the world’s top contemporary companies.
The only other school that receives such an invite is New York City’s prestigious Juilliard School. Dance program artistic director Artemis Gordon told the Straight her students caught NDT’s attention when they performed in the Nederlands this past summer.
The troupe’s first and second companies have also hired several of Arts Umbrella’s alumni over recent years, including Rena Narumi, Katherine Cowie, Rachel McNamee, Paxton Ricketts, Graham Kaplan, and Kyle Clarke.
Vancouver choreographer Lesley Telford danced for NDT, and local star Crystal Pite is an associate choreographer there. Both have strong ties to Arts Umbrella.
Gordon said she sent over 10 top talents to audition early this week. She said earning the invitation is another huge step for Arts Umbrella. NDT, which was led by icon Jiří Kylián from 1975 to 1999, is recognized as a leader in contemporary ballet. “It’s who we are. It’s the personification of what we are here at Arts Umbrella,” she told the Straight.