Jazz Infusion at NDT

During the nine years Jim Vincent spent as artistic director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, he transformed the company from a capable jazz troupe into a collection of sophisticated, ballet-trained dancers with a cutting-edge contemporary repertoire. This September, Vincent will leave HSDC to become artistic director of the ballet-oriented Nederlands Dans Theater—a homecoming of sorts, since he performed with NDT for 12 years before going to Chicago. Vincent’s move also completes a circle: He brought the ballet aesthetic he’d learned at NDT to HSDC, and will return to NDT with all of the modern and jazz contacts he acquired at HSDC. Vincent spoke with Pointe about his plans for NDT and his bittersweet feelings as he prepares for this new chapter in his career.

When Jirí Kylián was director of NDT (when I was in the company), he was first and foremost a humanitarian. He was concerned about the dancers as people, and worked with them rather than above them. That’s the model I’ve used at Hubbard Street, and that’s what I intend to do at NDT. And although I have a plan for the future of the company, I’m not going to make changes for the sake of making changes. In fact, for logistical reasons, all of the programming for NDT’s next season has been confirmed already. So that gives me time to sit back and observe for a little while—not just in the studios, but also in the hallways, and in the marketing and administration offices.

It’s funny—I walk down the halls at NDT and it feels so familiar. Some of my pictures are still hanging there. And yet so much has changed in the 20 years since I left. Getting to understand the dynamics of this current group—what I call the “collective ego”—will be a critical part of this transition. I’ve spoken with many of the dancers and have seen all of them perform, but I’m eager to start teaching company class and to spend time with them in the studio and the theater, since that’s the only sure way to build strong creative relationships. NDT will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2010–2011 season, and there will be revivals of some wonderful works by Kylián that are quite familiar to me. I’m looking forward to rehearsing the company in that repertoire. It’s going to be like getting reacquainted with an old friend.   

I have an incredibly strong attachment to Hubbard Street. Emotionally, I’m a little confused right now. But I think we’re at a good place, and that whoever takes the reins next has the opportunity to take this company and run. I’m still sad to leave—but the only place I’d consider leaving for is NDT.  —Jim Vincent, as told to
Margaret Fuhrer

Latest Posts

Getty Images

7 Eco-Friendly Choices Dancers Can Make to Green Up Their Lifestyles

Ballet dancers are known for their empathy and willingness to improve, so it is no surprise that many are educating themselves about the environment and incorporating sustainable habits into their lives. "I recently read that there are more microplastics in our oceans than there are stars in our galaxy. That really hit me," says American Ballet Theatre corps member Scout Forsythe, who has been making an effort to be more environmentally conscious.

Although no one can fix the climate crisis on their own, we can make small, everyday changes to help decrease waste, consumption and emissions. Here are some suggestions for dancers looking to do their part in helping our planet.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks