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Nadav Zelner - Bedtime Story

Nederlands Dans Theater / NDT2



Nadav Zelner


rehearsal assistants

Lydia Bustinduy,

Francesca Caroti,

Ander Zabala


Tom Visser


Maor Zabar

sound editor

Matan Onyameh


Andre Hajj & Ensemble: Mir;

Ez-zouhour: Sidi Mansour / Baba Bahri. Courtesy of ARC Music Productions Int. Ltd.

Al Ajaleh: Bat Sheva Music.

Mohammed Abdu: Allah Alaiha, Al Rasayel & Mahma Ygolon. Courtesy of Rotana Music.


13 dancers


22 minutes


4 November 2021,

Amare, Den Haag (NL)


links & downloads

> performance sheet (EN)

> dossier de diffusion (FR)

> context

> full video (password)

> high-res photos (password)

> low-res photos (password)

> technical rider (password)

Influenced by popular cultures, Israeli choreographer Nadav Zelner takes dance with a keen sense of design and theatricality. The most unexpected music marks his aesthetic and provocative works. At the edge of fantastic lands, Bedtime story interferes in this brief moment of waking up where the dream is still superimposed on reality.

“The small, secret moment between sleep and consciousness is the moment in which I make my dreams come true.

Recently, I return to the dreams I once had.

As a kid, I used to dream about snakes. Every morning I was surprised that I remembered them in great detail, though I did not understand why these snakes visited me in my dreams. Even though I am afraid of snakes, every time we met in a dream they did not threaten me, I was never afraid. Today I understand that these snakes are me facing the world and facing myself. I am confronting my fears and following my beliefs. Instead of running away from memory, I decided to explore it and chose to use it as an element on the dancers' pyjamas.

Music lies at the beginning of every work I create. Given the fact that I have Tunisian roots, the choice of Northern-African music was natural. When I hear it, I feel like I am in a dream full of freedom and hope.

In this work it was important for me to give my dreams a stage, and to give the dreaming child that I once was a tangible expression. As we get older, we tend to abandon our dreams. We should get reacquainted with the child in us. The one who is not afraid to fall, the one who experiences life and is intrigued to discover. The one who knows that all dreams can come true.

The child in us holds the power to laugh, to get excited, and to fulfill all that its desire.” - Nadav Zelner


Nadav Zelner was born in 1992 in Ramla, Israel. As a child Nadav loved dancing and listening to music and during his high school years he discovered his choreography skills. Over the years Nadav formed a unique dance language and recently he started to developers his own new dance technique of which he wants to make accessible to the world.

Nadav was invited to create work pieces for dance companies around the world. For his recent work he was invited by Marco Goecke to create a full evening for his company to open the season at the staatsoper theater in Hannover Germany.

Other companies he created for are the Batsheva Dance Company, Gauthier Dance Company, St.Gallen Theater, Stanislavsky Ballet, Augsburg Ballet, Introdans, Stadttheater Bremerhaven, Chinese International Chongqing Ballet Company. Nadav was invited by the prima ballerina Ekaterina Shipulina from the Bolshoi Ballet to create for her a solo called “Ikra”.

Nadav has a deep passion for cinema and he loves creating short dance films.

In 2019 one of Nadavs films inspired director of the Eurovision in Israel to create the entire concept of the postcards around dance and he invited Nadav to choreograph a major part of the postcards.

His worldpremiere for NDT 2 in the 2021-2022 season Bedtime story marks Nadavs debut with NDT.


“Zelner’s dance language is passionate, lighting fast and absolute, detailed down to the thumb. During Bedtime Story, everything moves simultaneously on North African driving percussion on the thirteen dancers in black ‘nightwear’: head, shoulders, torso, arms, legs. Smooth, regularly intersected with small jerks.” – NRC

“In a mixture of hip-hop virtuosity and classical technique, the movement impulses shoot from one side of the supple dance bodies at lightning speed. Just as quickly the facial expressions change, from savage barbarism to overly happy toothpaste smiles. Zelner's quicksilver movement language is reminiscent of the idiom of NDT choreographer Marco Goecke. With the difference that the German prefers to limit himself to the torso in his choreographies – the legs just sort it out with Goecke himself – while Zelner lets the dancers move from the tip of the little toe to the tips of their out-of-bed hair.” – Parool

“Zelner is an asset to NDT.” – Parool



14 June 2023, 20 hrs (together with The Big Crying, by Marco Goecke)

La Villette, with Chaillot, Théâtre national de la danse, Paris (FR)

15 June 2023, 20 hrs (together with The Big Crying, by Marco Goecke)

La Villette, with Chaillot, Théâtre national de la danse, Paris (FR)

16 June 2023, 20 hrs (together with The Big Crying, by Marco Goecke)

La Villette, with Chaillot, Théâtre national de la danse, Paris (FR)

17 June 2023, 19 hrs (together with The Big Crying, by Marco Goecke)

La Villette, with Chaillot, Théâtre national de la danse, Paris (FR)

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