Het Nationale Ballet
By 1960 postmodernist theories in art and philosophy had begun to radically challenge traditional standards of dance and choreographic practice, and America was a magnet for young Dutch artists looking to expand the parameters of choreographic possibility. Like Pauline de Groot, dancer and choreographer Koert Stuyf travelled to the United States to study with the American modern choreographers. It was there that he met his wife and muse Ellen Edinoff, with whom he would return to the Netherlands and begin to challenge Dutch audiences with experimental, concept driven, dance ‘happenings’. The 1966 performance Visibility… by Chance, commissioned by Sonia Gaskell for the Dutch National Ballet, is a good example of this. In the performance, Stuyf placed a large mirror at the foot of the stage, demonstrating a postmodern interest in the emancipation of the viewer as well as the artist. The performance elicited audience laughter at first, but was soon celebrated throughout the Amsterdam art scene–as was Stuyf’s pioneering spirit and vision of Dutch dance as a relevant form of contemporary art practice.