Author: Jeroen Fabius
First publication: 01/01/2006
Language: English
Originally published in: Danswetenschap in Nederland - Deel 6
Made available by: Vereniging voor Dansonderzoek
Media: article

Dit artikel is eerder verschenen in: Linden, M. van der, L. Wildschut, J. Zeijlemaker (eds.) (2006), Danswetenschap in Nederland – Deel 4. Vereniging voor Dansonderzoek, pp.29-39.

Leading ideas in 30 years of dance education at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam1

Teaching an audience

‘What we are trying to do is to make clear what might be important to watch in dance. (…) to teach an audience, over a length of time, how to watch dance’ (Aat Hougée, 1982).

This article intends to give an impression of leading ideas in the history of the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, as it has become a unique place for fostering creativity in dance education. It is based on, and frequently quotes, various (unpublished) documentation materials collected over a time span of 22 years since 19822. Many interviews were held and recorded in the school which show the active interest in discussing and questioning the nature and purpose of dance education, and dance in general, that has made the school such a special place. A good illustration is the statement above by Aat Hougée from a panel interview with Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson and Nancy Topf in 1982, a formative period in the history of the school, when a new direction was explored. It is both the curiosity and the critical attitude that strike out and explain the drive within the school to look for something different.

The only existing publication in which the school and its methods are described is Moderne Dans in ontwikkeling, een beschrijving van de Opleiding Moderne Dans Theaterschool Amsterdam tegen de achtergrond van historische en internationale moderne-dansontwikkelingen, by Moniek Merkx in 19853. In Merkx’ book the school is positioned against the background of the history of modern dance, placing its heritage firmly with important influences from Anna Halprin, and the work of Mabel Todd. The school was the result of a clash between two opposing views, as described in the book, one focused on creative development and ‘soft techniques’ versus one that focused on form-prescribing education and ‘hard techniques’, i.e. where students learn through copying styles of movement (Merkx, 45; translation by the author).

‘The idea is that from the beginning training has to happen in the conscious dealing with one’s creativity (47). New methods of teaching are founded on the analysis of basic principles of movement (48). (The program offers) an encounter with elementary movement techniques, .. one goes back to a natural way of moving that in a later stage can be coloured, free from prejudice in regard to style or form, aiming to keep in touch with changes, experiment and avant-garde in the dance, where students can form their own vision. (There is) no distinction between technical and creative development, between dancer and choreographer, execution and making of dance, in principle this all is the same creative process’ (Merkx, 47 – 53).

I will discuss six central ideas of the school. The approach towards the creative dancer had consequences for (1) the vision of arts practice: teaching artists, i.e. the visiting artists to come and explore new directions at the school; (2) the policy of the school: from intuitive management to structured dialogue; (3) the pedagogy of the school: teaching freedom; (4) ideas about dance training: teaching principles, the teacher is the body; these lead to investigations into somatic approaches; (5) improvisation and performing: the art of the moment, performing the body; and in general supported (6) an exploratory mind towards the art of dancing: choreographic mind, dance that teaches. But first I will give a (very) concise overview of the history of the SNDO.

a short history of the beginnings: a school for the creative dancer
‘That was my inspiration (…) a school for dancers who are creative and also equipped and they don’t have to kill the creativity through being so harsh and authoritarian’(Pauline de Groot 1989.

The school was strongly influenced by the work of Pauline de Groot, which she had developed in teaching at her private dance studio. As a 15 year old she had travelled to the United States to study with Martha Graham, and later with José Limon. Rather than teach the work of Graham, she had, through Eric Hawkins and André Bernard, discovered a new approach towards dance and the moving body; ‘this was the time which gave me my whole background’ (1989). With them she discovered the concepts of ideokinesis and sensation, the importance to develop a sensitivity for what is happening to the body in movement.

By the time she and Koert Stuyf were invited to join the Moderne Dansopleiding of the Theaterschool in 1974, questions had arisen about what kind of dance education should be developed; after all, a modern dance education inspired by developments in the United States was a new phenomenon. Koert Stuyf, too, had been in New York and had found inspiration in the work of Cunningham and Graham. The fusion proved a complex process: the various ideas did not match, and stood for different ways of thinking about dance, art and pedagogy. Koert Stuyf pretty quickly decided that running a school was not for him. Pauline spent a number of years negotiating the way in which her teaching could fit within the overall design of the new school. Only gradually did the various programs of the different studios become one program. For a while some students would follow different tracks at the various studios. By 1975 Aat Hougée had joined as administrator, coming from the Mimeschool, he had been inspired by Pauline de Groot’s ideas and was to become an important support in the years to come. Through the Dartington Festival Pauline de Groot had gotten in touch with Steve Paxton and Mary Fulkerson (who was directing the festival), and started to bring over dance makers of the first and later generations of the Judson Church, establishing a major source of input for the school from New York. People who did not agree with this policy had left by then, including Bianca van Dillen, Krisztina de Châtel and Yoka van Brummelen, who would become the choreographers dominating the field of modern dance in the Netherlands in the late 1970s. In distancing these choreographers the school had acquired a relatively isolated position in the Dutch dance world. In the early 1980s the school was the subject of fierce debate in national newspapers, being called ‘a sectarian undertaking of Pauline de Groot’ by dance historian and dance critic Eva Van Schaik in her book Op gespannen voet[1].

By 1980 the new policy had been formulated and, with the appointment of Jaap Flier as artistic director, a longer term development could take place. Perhaps to bring some balance, head of the Theaterschool Jan Kassies had invited Jaap Flier to join as artistic director of SNDO. Jaap Flier had been known as the ‘Dutch Nijinski’ when he was dancing with Sonia Gaskell and the Nederlands Dans Theater, where he was artistic director from 1970-73. In his own words: ‘I’m epigone backwards. I take from the traditional world and try to involve myself in that other world and slowly bring some of that traditional into the present’ (1989).

In 1989 a major shift took place when Aat Hougée and Mary Fulkerson left to Arnhem to start the European Dance Development Center, and Ria Higler and Trude Cone took over as artistic directors. Pauline de Groot and Jaap Flier both gradually stepped back as teachers.

In 1992, when the Theaterschool had introduced the Opleiding Moderne Theaterdans, in a second attempt to provide a more traditional modern dance education for dancers in Amsterdam, the pressure intensified for SNDO to become a program for choreographers. By 2000 SNDO officially became defined as a Bachelors in choreography, still a rare phenomenon in the world of dance education, inviting students to develop their own vision and practice on dance making. By 2002 the postgraduate program in choreography and new media Dance Unlimited was started, working with regular SNDO teachers Susan Rethorst, Scott deLahunta, Sher Doruff, Thomas Lehmen, and Jeroen Fabius as coordinator. Where Dance Unlimited aims at practicing choreographers who seek time to further articulate or reorient their work, SNDO provides a choreography education based on a strong artistic pedagogy.

Teaching artists (1)

‘(…) what I can do through the security of the school: teaching artists about their role in society. Telling them “you’re very important”, that’s a very important role’ (Aat Hougée, 1989).

That is one of the things that he is most proud of, he says. In the 1980s the school was seen as a sort of research centre, a ‘breeding spot for new thoughts’, for innovative artists, practitioners first of all, who would also teach as a sort of secondary bonus: ‘… schools are a wonderful alibi to work in freedom’ (1989).

In the 1980s the school was as much a venue as a school. A lot of work presented at the school would only be seen there in the Netherlands. The Goldberg Variations by Steve Paxton was shown (and recorded) in 1986 at the Da Costakade, long before it was picked up by producers in Europe (Belgium). It was only performed in theatres in the Netherlands at the end of its run in 1992 when it was made into a video production by Walter Verdin at the Felix Meritis theatre in Amsterdam. It was a chance for American (New York based) artists to show their work as well as to develop it by working with students. For Aat Hougée it was not important that the artists be famous and well-integrated in the theatre circuit. Rather, it was to be lauded if artists were to take on a fringe position, and were in search of things that were not so popular. The idea of the avant-garde was dominant. In the 1980s this meant that most artists came from the United States.

The school at the Da Costakade was a place where dance improvisation, contact improvisation, alignment and release work were introduced to the dance community in the Netherlands in the 1980s, through summer courses, performances, conferences, lunch performances, and jams. Candidate students were offered three month introductory courses of twelve hours a week, and a three month selection course before they would be selected for the school. It gave them an opportunity to get acquainted with new ways of working and thinking in dance.

From intuitive management to structured dialogue (2)

‘There always have been changes here. The school didn’t look the same from one year to another’ (Jaap Flier, 1989).

There is a tension between the institutional requirements of art education, and the kind of philosophy of creating a breeding spot for new ideas. In the article ‘Responsible Anarchy’[2], Hougée takes a stand for intuition against a systematic approach to education. Thus: choose the teacher, rather than the subject. In other words, it is more important to find inspiring teachers than to cling to a particular subject. In the end, what was important to the school was not so much what the course contained, but rather a concentration on the work itself. Paxton: ‘If an institution can give the students five years to concentrate on movement, it hardly matters what they do, as long as they’re doing it very intensively’ (1982). Where the structure was not the main priority, it was even challenged, in favour of an ‘intuitive’ approach to management.

After 1989 this philosophy changed. After some years of development, Trude Cone and Ria Higler, with the assistance of Ric Allsopp, lecturer at Dartington, formulated a new program, in much more detail than in the previous period. Trude Cone[3]: ‘Central was the idea that learning is a dynamic experience of chaotic encounters’ (2002). Five main subject areas were formulated: Technique, Exploration, Improvisation, Composition and Theory. Each of these subject areas contributed to the overall development of the student, but not in a linear fashion, ‘the building stones are properties of parts – the whole is the making of work, that must be central’ (2002). The system was meant to ‘teach to manoeuvre in the chaotic patterns (ibid). (…) All systems of thinking are connected – there is not one more fundamental’. Systems replaced the intuitive choice of teachers to determine the curriculum. Ria Higler: ‘In the first year there is a fixed program. Later it gets more open and the students can fulfil their own plan as much as possible’ (1994). Students would obtain freedom to develop in their own speed, not along a linear progression, but along the five subjects prescribed by the school in the hologram model, as it was sometimes referred to, where many routes were possible, instead of just one.

There were frequent, almost weekly, thematic meetings with teaching staff to discuss the education. Ria Higler: ‘Keeping ourselves in touch with guest-teachers has really helped understanding of what the school is working with’ (1994). The same was true for the dialogue with the student, that took on a much more structural aspect within the school. Ria Higler: ‘We have started to do feedback sessions after workshops. To follow the thoughts, the minds, where the students are, what their interests are’ (1994). This was part of a strategy to challenge the tendencies to see ‘new dance’ as a style, a more or less closed aesthetics of its own. For that purpose all kinds of ethnic dance workshops were introduced, and later a focus on the international and cultural diversity of the students backgrounds. One could say that with the transition from Hougée and Flier, to Cone and Higler, intuition and strong ideological leadership gave way to a policy of structure and dialogue.

Teaching freedom (3)

‘I’m not surprised (…), that it’s difficult for people to manifest clearly and cleanly what they think and feel (…) what the artistic import of it is, (…) I bet all those questions exist more for students now than they did before. It’s an incredible test we’re thrusting upon them’ (Steve Paxton, 1982).

The invitation to do one’s own thing, clearly stands within the history of modern dance. Dance students in previous times had been following socially prescribed routes, but now Paxton says: ‘It’s possible to be a really major force in dance now with never having danced in a major company, never been subject to any outside criticism whatsoever’ (1982). The invitation to the student creative dancer is to find one’s own ways. The consequences of the new pedagogy are quite extensive. Pauline de Groot: ‘Wanting to become a dancer has to do with a certain discipline of getting to know yourself, physically, but also who you are. That’s where the creative process comes in, finding out who you are’ (1989).

In 1985, I assisted as a newly arriving student the opening speech by Aat Hougée. ‘In the school we may be searching for new symbols, for revolutions in the art form, but those cannot be forged. The creative process is exactly that, allowing something to happen one cannot foresee. Most revolutions in art go almost unseen, they have been marginal events, and are attributed that status only afterwards’, Hougée told us[4]. So the implication was that one had better occupy oneself with creating the right conditions for finding new things. That was a clear message coming into the school.

That thinking, in turn, has consequences for the pedagogy of the school. Jaap Flier: ‘I think the whole feeling of being a student is a very bad approach. (…) I find it also very difficult to feel myself as a teacher’ (1989). Hougée points to one of the sensitive areas of these new relationships between students and teachers: ‘You say people have to find out their own criteria. (…) but a lot of people say my criteria are to stop here, (…) our criteria are that people should really go through something’ (1982). At the time of leaving the school in 1989, Jaap Flier however wonders whether the atmosphere has become too ‘gentle’. In 2006 Robert Steijn, teacher since the 1990s and shortly co-director, makes a distinction between teaching in the sense of instructing and guiding the artistic inquiry, investigating with the student, what the work is saying.

In an education for the creative dancer then, what should be the criteria for taking students into the course? Paxton: ‘Look at Simone Forti (…) she would take Merce’s classes but afterwards she would crawl around on the floor. (…) I had to stop myself judging her. She had an integrity which allowed me to see that crawling. If somebody auditioned for the school by crawling, what would you think?’(1982) This is an ongoing debate in the school, how much dance background should candidates have, is it helpful or rather detrimental to their artistic development? In that same discussion Lisa Nelson stresses the importance of people’s ‘preconception of what dancing is’, in Paxton’s words the ‘ability to be open and relaxed and communicative about a self-conscious process’. Aat Hougée: ‘Try to give them freedom (…) that’s the main thing. (…) in our society the word freedom stands for a lot of awful things. So when you’re talking about real freedom, that’s a lot of work’ (1989). The essence of giving freedom is its revelatory nature. Topf: ‘In the making of choices, you see the functioning of the inside. It’s the choice-making that reveals what is there’ (1982).

The sheer fact that the school provided such stimulus for creative development, closer to fine arts education than traditions in dance education, was a strong attraction of the school to the international student population. That is what they desired, to be able to do their own thing. To be able to cater for that desire, Cone and Higler introduced the requirement for each student to make his own performance every year. This also meant the end of the school as a venue for visiting choreographers, the attention was now put on facilitating work by the students.

Teaching principles, the teacher is the body (4)

‘I wanted it to be a process of understanding the body and listening to the body, having to do with sensation, and becoming a good dancer; that’s a daily affair’ (Pauline de Groot, 1989).

So what kind of daily dance training allows students to find their own forms? Aat Hougée: ‘It’s an artistic choice they want to make, but I think there is something (…) every dancer (…) should do’ (1982). Already, in the 1970s, a major decision had been made with regard to dance techniques. Pauline de Groot: ‘We decided that there was going to be a modern dance department that didn’t need ballet and this was a major moment’ (1989). At that time (and still perhaps) that was quite a provocation. In the early 1980s the Cunningham technique was chosen as a sort of neutral basis (see Merkx). Later, in the 1990s, ballet came back into the curriculum[5] but with a kind of teaching informed by somatic approaches, accentuating principles rather than the forms. That had become the general criterion of teaching techniques, as long as the teacher was informed by some kind of somatic approach, the students would be stimulated to actively apply principles in their own way, rather than copy and emulate the teacher.

In the philosophy of the school, a mechanistic approach to dance training, the splitting of the physical and the mental, was avoided. By 1986 the word technique was thrown out of course documents for a year. Aat Hougée: ‘There is no technique, there are techniques. And techniques to me are (…) nothing else than practicing elements of being an artist (…) the word technique often stands in education for reproducing known material’ (1989). The word technique did reappear pretty soon however, but remained a source for debate. Hougée was convinced that if people would learn the principles of movement, rather than do mindless copying, they would be much more efficient in taking on new techniques or movement information.

Pauline de Groot had initially created a curriculum that integrated yoga, T’ai chi, rhythm and voice classes. In the 1980s alignment and release technique were introduced in the course. John Rolland was instrumental in developing the alignment classes at the SNDO[6], a product of his teaching from the early 80s onwards. Rolland studied in Illinois in the early days of the development of release work by Barbara Clark, a student of Mabel Todd’s. He makes a distinction between alignment and release. Where a release class in his view looked more like a dance class, alignment focused more on principles of movement, in open forms like improvisation and hands-on sessions. The use of images played an important role in alignment, as developed by Mabel Todd in the 1930s. Based on research in neurology and physiology, approaches were developed to improve posture and coordination of movement.

As Rolland says: ‘It doesn’t have to lead to (an) artistic goal’ (1993), Catthy Caraker, teacher in the 1990s: ‘It seems obvious that art-making has therapeutic value, that therapy can be very creative’ (1998). For a brief period, at the end of the 1980s, students were offered the opportunity to specialise in this non-artistic direction, to apply approaches to movement and body in more therapeutic settings, ‘body-workers’. Quite a few graduates of the school in that period have developed careers as movement therapists in a great variety of settings.

After John Rolland[7] left the school in 1988 a gradual change took place in the alignment and release classes. Quite a few teachers started studying with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen in Amherst, Massachusetts, and brought back experiences with Body Mind Centering[8]. Within the system that Cone and Higler introduced, this work mainly happened in the so-called Exploration classes, and afternoon workshops. According to Cone and Caraker, the approach used in the alignment work stemming from Todd had some undesired side effects. One was that dancers focused too exclusively on sensing, work was always done starting with stillness, and would become quite introspective. To counter that, Caraker: ‘Balancing sensing, feeling and action, inner and outer focus is always a major concern for me when I teach a class’ (1998). This is called the ‘sensory-motor-loop’.

The art of the moment, performing the body (5)

‘It seems that there is a new sensibility evolving in the realm of movement art and performance. Many movement artists are now exploring the expression of body-mind states which are highly specific, subtle and unexpected. They are developing forms for performance which are uniquely personal and which often challenge conventional assumptions about what dance is, or even what performance is. (…) We are performing the body, giving the body space to speak for itself. The body is no longer just the dancer’s instrument. The medium can also be the message’ (Caraker, 1998).

Dance improvisation has strongly contributed to this development combining performance and research, process and product. Katie Duck: ‘Improvisation is the most intensive view one can possibly take on the art form for what it actually is’ (2003). The SNDO had become the place where improvisation and contact improvisation are practiced and maintained within the Dutch dance world. The building at Da Costakade was an important venue for dance improvisation in the Netherlands. Guest teachers would easily compose an evening showing, rallying together with staff teachers of the school as they ‘always perform new work’, a statement frequently used.

Katie Duck has been the most consistent improviser connected to the school. During the 1980s she had performed with her Group O[9], in the 1990s she organised some important improvisation festivals in the Frascati Theatre with Robert Steijn. The now 10-year existence of Magpie Music and Dance Company has been of major importance, working with fellow teachers at the school Eileen Standley and Vincent Cacialano, and inviting many colleagues[10], and graduates from the school.

Improvisation fits very well in the pedagogy, as the student dancer is required to apply all the faculties of the movement capacities, and needs the ability to learn to deal with one’s own personal characteristics within the event created with fellow performers. In discussions about improvisation the concept of performing dance has become an important issue of investigation at the school. One of the main issues is the performing mind. Paxton calls it a kind of witness: ‘There is a conscious mind involved but it’s not doing active duty. I’m trying to turn the action over to other parts. I think they’re our true parts, however’ (1999).

The work of some of the graduates at the end of the 1990s expresses similar concerns, not anymore in the context of dance improvisation but rather of performing itself. A good example is the (diverse) work by the Association LISA with graduates Ivana Muller, Paz Rojo and Nicole Beutler, who actively investigate as Caraker says the conditions for ‘performing the body’.

A choreographic mind, dance that teaches (6)

‘As much as you might feel out on a limb, working without a thought in your head, something has to be operating, leading you to make the decisions that result in the thing you make, that is from you, of you, about you. That is the choreographic mind at work’ (Rethorst, 2003).

Aat Hougée saw the school as providing artists with a place for developing new symbols, a research centre, as it were, for making innovative dance. Notions of research, investigation, exploration have been frequently used. For the students, the message has consistently been to find their own way with what the program offered. The approach to research has mainly been an appeal to a practical, experiential investigation, rather than an academically framed discourse. There remains an uneasy relationship between dancing and theory. Theory as a course component was only introduced in 1991. Previously, dance history and reflection had not been consistent subjects.

A good example of the practice-based reflection on research in dance is the writing of Susan Rethorst[11], a frequent teacher from 1989 until 2004, and staff teacher since 2002 of Dance Unlimited, the postgraduate program in choreography. She has written about that investigative state of mind in the creative process of a choreographer. She stresses that the investigative processes in dance are immersed in the dayly practice. ‘Dailiness requires a simultaneous tuning in to time and the absence of time. One has to know and not know…. Dailiness allows for the endless finding of a reason, for curiosity, ‘ongoingness’ tedium, for humour, for embracing the excitement of being led by that stranger, the unmade dance’ (Rethorst, 2003).

The shift in the school, made by introducing theory as one of the course components, occurred in a period when dance studies were being introduced into the academic world, mainly in Britain and the United States, which opened up the theoretical contexts for looking at dance. It was also a period when several conferences were held at the school: ‘The Connected Body?’(1994)[12], and ‘Connecting Bodies’ (1996) about developments in dance and emerging technologies; ‘Conversations on Choreography’ (1999) about dance dramaturgy; ‘MP3’ about reflexivity in choreographic practice (2003), all organised by Scott deLahunta.

The shift to introducing reflection and theory is important at a school for dance artists, who deal with the body. Where in 1985 in Merkx’s book one speaks about finding the ‘natural’ movement, that perspective is changed towards a critical perspective informed by cultural studies, dance studies. Maaike Bleeker’s course the Anatomical Theatre Revisited (theatre theorist and teacher in the early 2000s) was to do that: ‘Recognizing the difference different points of view make is important even more in those cases where we are dealing with something as common as the body, or with experiences that are so intense, and apparently so direct, as the responses of our own body to what we see’(1997). Inversely, the consequences for theorists, dramaturges to move into dance was in the words of  André Lepecki: ‘Just as the dancers and the choreographer, I enter to find a (new) body. That’s the most important task of the dance dramaturge – to constantly explore possible sensorial manifestoes’ (DeLahunta 2000).

From 2002, the Higher Education in the Netherlands can make use of research funding that did not exist before. Research, as it were, finally gets formal acknowledgement, and finds a logical extension from SNDO and Dance Unlimited.


‘Maybe we’re finally starting to train perception up to the point where it starts to be able to see more subtle body language’ (Paxton, 1999).

After more than thirty years of investigations in dance it is clear that a lot has changed around the school, but also that the invitation to investigate and come to new perspectives on dancing has persisted. That is why the school attracts students from all over the world. Apparently the stress on artistic development is still a rare position in dance education, rarely found anywhere else in the world. The school has perhaps a stronger reputation abroad than it has in the Netherlands. The controversies of the beginning of the school still permeate in differences in points of view. In the Netherlands there are many questions about the ‘crisis in dance’ and how to overcome pressures to find more audiences. Has the quest for new symbols lead to elite, conceptual dance where there is no more dancing? What has been the share of SNDO in this process?

What is clear is that in 1980 the school took an ‘alternative’ position to other dance being made in the Netherlands, taking inspiration in developments from New York. Since the 1990s there has been a notable shift in European dance, with the work of artists like Xavier LeRoy, Jérôme Bel, Alain Platel / Les Ballets C de la B, and others. Many graduates have worked with these artists, and have established an internationally acknowledged career[13]. What is clear is that the stress on creative, artistic development of the dancer by the SNDO has contributed to dance-making in the Netherlands. Already by introducing the word dance-maker, for the small scale dance-making where artistic collaboration is important and choreography is made from a strongly individually-based movement research. Artistic directors Simon Dove, of Springdance Festival, and Leo Spreksel, of the Korzo theatre, noted this as an important shift in the aesthetics of dance-making in the 1990s[14]. Dance is made from a personally informed context; the works are open to the social contexts within which they get made. There is still debate about the status of these works. In the Dutch dance world there is a strong sense of protectiveness towards the discipline. Frequently, journalists call those works ego-documents, or conceptual dance that transgress the essence of what dance should be. Apparently work that represents a marginal proportion of the entire dance field still manages to raise major debate.

What is accomplished, can be hoped, as Hougée did in the beginning, back in 1982, is a new understanding of what dance can be, do, mean. In the end, the questioning is an ethical issue, that has to do with how dance is seen in society. Hopefully, this can be done without resorting to an aesthetics of nostalgia, and a restoration of ‘safety zones’ of what dance should be, but by offering an invitation to stimulate creativity and to foster intuition in dance makers. Perhaps this indicates a new direction for the school: as the debates of what dance can be, and how it can be made, have been digested, there is a new, more pressing, argument to think about: for whom dance is to be made, and how dance can make a difference, and expose it.

‘The one that makes a difference in shaping what is not yet there. In bringing that forth. In exposing it’ (Beutler 2003).


Unpublished interviews SNDO archive in chronological order:

  • Nancy Topf, Lisa Nelson, Steve Paxton interviewed by Aat Hougée, SNDO 1982;
  • Pauline de Groot interviewed by Mary Fulkerson, SNDO 1989;
  • Aat Hougée interviewed by Wendell Beavers, SNDO 1989;
  • Jaap Flier interviewed by Remy Charlip SNDO 1989;
  • Deborah Hay interviewed by Ric Allsopp, SNDO 1989;
  • Ria Higler interviewed by students on SNDO policy 1991 and 1994;
  • John Rolland on alignment and release technique, interview with Jacques van Eijden, 1993;
  • Steve Paxton interviewed by Robert Steijn SNDO 1999;

Published articles

Beutler, N. (2003). Notes on making Furry Animals. Publication Gasthuis Theater Amsterdam.

Bleeker, M. (1997). Looking for Peter by Gonnie Heggen. M. Kolk (Ed.). In Wie zou ik zijn als ik zijn kon : vrouw en theater 1975-1998. Amsterdam: Theater Instituut Nederland.

Caraker, C. (1998). Body-Mind Centering® as a somatic approach to dance education. In Nouvelles de Danse, no 46-47. Brussels

DeLahunta, S. (2000). Speculations and reflections on dramaturgy in dance. In Dance Theatre Journal. April. London

Rethorst, S. (2003). Dailiness. In M. Brady (Ed.) Choreographic Encounters. Cork: Institute for Choreography and Dance.


1 This article is a reworked, and heavily reduced, version of an article published in: Tanz(Aus)bildung, Herausgeber Franz Anton Cramer. Berlin 2006.

2 In Dutch the name is School voor Nieuwe Dansontwikkeling, it is often referred to as SNDO.

3 New Dance Publications, Amsterdam 1985

[1] Eva van Schaik: Op gespannen voet: Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse theaterdans vanaf 1900. De Haan, Haarlem 1981, 144.

[2] (Ballet International 3/1994)

[3] Quotations taken from internal documentary material of SNDO.

[4] personal notes

[5] through the work of Daniela Graça, Gavin Louis, Alfredo Fernandez, and others

[6] John Rolland: Inside Motion: An Ideokinetic Basis for Movement Education. Urbana, Rolland String Associates, 1984.

[7] John Rolland died in December 1993 as a result of AIDS related illness.

[8] Some of these teachers were: Trude Cone, Ria Higler, Jaques van Eijden, Cathy Caraker, Naomi Duveen, Margot Rijven, Jørdis Jakubczick

[9] With members Frans Poelstra, Alessandro Certini, Charlotte Zerbey, Maria Angela Pespani, and others.

[10] Other members are Michael Schumacher, Martin Sonderkamp, Masako Noguchi, Sharon Smith, musicians Mary Oliver, Michael Vatcher.

[11] This contribution was published in Choreographic Encounters edited by Mary Brady, Institute for Choreography and Dance, Cork 2003

[12] Ric Allsopp and Scott deLahunta (Eds): The connected body? : an interdisciplinary approach to the body and performance.Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten 1996.

[13] Harijono Roebana, Sasha Waltz, Thomas Lehmen, Gonnie Heggen, Frans Poelstra, Tim Feldman, Martin Butler, Martin Nachbar, Ivana Muller, Paz Rojo and Nicole Beutler, and many others.

[14] Maja Landeweer: «From One-way Traffic to Dialogue». In: Dancing Dutch, Theater Instituut Nederland, Amsterdam 2005, 112.

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