HOW TO FEED YOUNG ARTISTS: Fernando Hernando Magadan On Leading NDT2

How would you describe your role as the Artistic Leader of NDT 2?

I joined the company as a dancer with NDT 2 in 2001 and in 2004 I moved on to dance with NDT 1, where I stayed until 2016. After my career as a dancer, I started working as a répétiteur for NDT 2 which developed into the opportunity to become the Artistic Leader of NDT 2 starting this season 2018-2019. In my years as a dancer and répétiteur I also focused on my choreographic work. Furthermore, I gained a large amount of management experience while doing Switch, the annual program that offers NDT dancers a chance to creatively develop and choreograph, organize and facilitate a full-length performance. However, with all these things, there was never a premeditated goal to end up in my current position. For me, being the Artistic Leader of NDT 2 is a huge honor and massive responsibility to explore, develop and support this company in an entirely new way.

I am passionately curious about the world of dance, its artistic decisions and approaches and how I can be of service to the development of the artistic personalities of these young artists. In general, within my role as Artistic Leader, I make sure that everything runs in the best way possible and that the working environment is the most creative and inspiring. I try to contribute to the overall artistic product of the company and to deliver the best quality possible. At the core of these tasks lies my role as a mentor to these young dancers, their artistic skills and their creative voices:

How can I feed them with the right information?

What types of works and which values that make up the house of NDT, can I pass down to them in order for them to think beyond what they think is possible and know of themselves to be true?

One of the biggest challenges within this role is to help these young talents fight their own insecurities. At a young age that is something that is very present in their lives. They are in the process of finding out who they are in this highly competitive, professional group environment.

The most rewarding part is to see how the dancers reach the highest standard of their own potential and of the work we present. When I feel like the dancers have accomplished something beyond their own expectations and made better artists of themselves, and when we feel like what we have presented something meaningful to our audiences worldwide, that’s incredibly rewarding.  

Back in 1978, NDT 2 was originally founded as a “springboard” to prepare, train and provide talent for NDT 1. NDT was actually one of the first dance companies worldwide to introduce such a second company-model. However, over the years, prospects have changed: NDT 2 has gained its own following, continuously builds its own repertoire, and invites the young as well as established choreographers to create especially for them and with them. These days, we are an autonomous company; offering young dancers a unique chance to develop their artistic personalities through a wide of variety of dance vocabularies has become one of the most important goals of NDT 2.

Our quality and history attract attention, a lot of very good dancers and exceptional choreographers want to create especially for NDT 2. I think it’s fair to say that the standard of performances we present is not that of a junior company. It’s a young company, yes, but it’s not a ‘youth company’– that’s an important difference.

words by Fernando Hernando Magadan | images by Rahi Rezvani

You can see NDT2 in the US this month performing the work of Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, Edward Clug, and Marco Goecke: January 16-19 at New York City Center, January 26-27 at Celebrity Series of Boston, and in College Park. MD at The Clarice Smith PAC. Click here for more info and tickets.

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