Interview: David Ledger, NDT2
David Ledger is currently the only English Dancer in Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (NDT2), the company’s launchpad for younger dancers. The company tour around the world with work choreographed by emerging dance makers. David’s dance journey started as a participant on a CAT Scheme in Yorkshire and now performs with dancers from around the world with NDT2 – and next week brings him to Sadler’s Wells (6 – 9 Mar) at the start of a UK tour.
How did you get to join NDT2?
I began to dance with NDT2 as an Apprentice after attending their summer intensive. During my time as an Apprentice I attended the open call audition and was offered a contract.
What do you like most about being in the company?
The variety, within the rep there are so many different choreographers and styles. The people are also very varied. There are dancers here from all over the world and it’s great to work with them and learn from all of their experiences. The tours are worldwide and we get to visit some interesting if unconventional places, as well as all the expected countries. I think it’s amazing that we get to experience all of this so early in our lives and careers.
Are you the only English dancer in the company at the moment?
In NDT2 yes, but there is one more in NDT1 named Rupert Tookey.
Which part of the current programme do you most enjoy dancing?
It’s difficult, as I already said the rep here is so varied and each thing we do presents its different challenges and enjoyments. For example in the first programme we do in the UK I have such a different experience in each of the three ballets. I feel a different persona, a new way to move in each. This sensation is what I enjoy, to know that i am growing and having a real experience on stage and with the audience, as opposed to a specific part of the programme.
The company also encourages dancers to choreograph – is that something that interests you?
Definitely, as a dancer its important to think about what your doing and to use your brain. To work creatively in dance is a great way to do this. Choreography is an integral part of what we do. And I think that to have your own personal experience of investigating and experimenting with choreography is invaluable. It informs not only creatively but also as a performer its very useful.
What first sparked your interest in dance?
I don’t remember being specifically interested in dance, but I was always interested in the theatre in the general, the magic and the spectacle of it. I was so intrigued by what performers in any genre could do to create a world for themselves and the audience. Luckily dance was presented to me through a Yorkshire Young Dancers workshop at school and I was instantly ‘hooked’. Moving is a really special way to perform, you get to experience something really intensely yourself at the same time as performing for others and giving the audience their own experience. For me it’s really fulfilling.
Sounds like training on the CAT scheme at Yorkshire Young Dancers was a life changing experience for you…
Yes. That workshop was my first introduction to dance. I had never considered it before and though I was interested in performance I had never danced before. Afterwards the teacher suggested that I audition for the CAT scheme. I was accepted and so I began to dance, and slowly it became more and more important in my life and here I am now, thanks to that workshop…
Who/What have been big influences on your development as a dancer?
I have had some great teachers, first at YYD then i was introduced to Julie and Neville Campbell who teach at Dance City in Newcastle. They were two of the biggest influences on my early training, they taught me a lot. Then at Rambert School where I trained, the staff there are very special. Ross Mckim, Director of the school ensures that it is lead in a way that is truly beneficial to each of the students. As a dancer himself he harvested a great amount of knowledge and experience and he is very gifted at passing that all on – its really enriching to be around people like that. Amanda Britton was another teacher at the school who influenced me a lot technically and outside of the studio, encouraging real thought and development in what we were studying.
The desert Island questions! What’s your favourite music at the moment? and film? and book?
My music taste is eclectic, basically I listen to anything, I really enjoy film actually and it depends on my mood, but generally I like older films. It’s probably easier to tell you my favourite directors – Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, they made some great cinema together. They really did a lot for early British cinema and beautifully captured the generation they were a part of.
And books – would I be a young English person if I failed to mention Harry Potter?! It’s epic. But at the moment I’m reading _Goodbye to Berlin by Isherwood and it’s very good.
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming UK tour?
To be in England and perform there will be a great experience.