Skip to content

Best known in the UK for her productions for Rambert, Northern Ballet and HeadSpaceDance, international dance artist Didy Veldman launches her own company Umanoove with The Happiness Project, a choreographic investigation of western society’s endless search for fulfillment.

We’re all interested in being happy,” says Didy, “and The Happiness Project examines the idea of happiness as something we strive for, as something fleeting, something that can be very elusive or even absent.

My aim is to find a common language between the movement, drama and the music on stage in my investigation of western society’s endless search for fulfilment.

This physical, theatrical work is made in collaboration with four highly acclaimed independent dancers: Dane Hurst, Mathieu Geffré, Hannah Kidd, Estela Merlos.  Music is by the celebrated composer/violinist Alexander Balanescu who will play live onstage and whose music Didy has used frequently over the years.

Didy is a keen collaborator and will be working once again with designer Kimie Nakano/Rambert ‘The Three Dancers’; Les Grands Ballets Canadiens ‘The Little Prince’; Luzerner Theater ‘4 Seasons’ and Lithuanian National Ballet ‘Carmen’ chor: Didy Veldman.  Kimie studied in Tokyo, Paris and London and has worked with Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, ENB, Sylvie Guillem and many more.

The four dancers, Dane Hurst, Mathieu Geffré, Hannah Kidd, Estela Merlos have performance credits that include work with Rambert Dance Company, National Dance Company of Wales, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Dansgroep Amsterdam, Mark Bruce Company and Company Wayne McGregor.

Key Information


Tuesday 15 November 2016


DanceXchange, The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome


Didy Veldman | Umanoove

Didy Veldman | Umanoove is a new dance company launched in 2016 under the artistic direction of choreographer/director Didy Veldman.

Didy trained at the Scapino Academy in Amsterdam; she danced with Scapino Ballet (Netherlands), Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève and Rambert and began choreographing in 1987, creating work for the repertoires of all three companies and many others.  In 1992 she co-founded Compagnie Alias with Guilherme Botelho in Switzerland and won two major choreographic awards with her first piece.

She joined Rambert in 1994 as a dancer and created three works for the company.  Her first storytelling work, ‘Carmen’, created for Northern Ballet Theatre, was premiered in Leeds in 1999 and toured Britain; it has since been re-staged for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in Canada and twice for The Royal New Zealand Ballet and she has re-created the work for the Lithuanian National Ballet.

Didy left Rambert in 2000 and has made a variety of pieces – some with full symphony orchestra, some smaller works as part of a triple bill.  She has worked with companies such as Cedar Lake/USA, Cullberg Ballet and Goteborg Ballet/Sweden, Iceland Dance Company, Ballet Bern/Switzerland and others in Canada, Portugal, New Zealand and more.  She was Guest Artist Choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow in the US in 2010 and 2013.  She recently re-staged ‘See Blue Through’ with Phoenix Dance Theatre and Introdans and will be re-staging ‘Frame of View’ for Danish Dance Theatre and ‘The 3 Dancers’ (performed by Rambert in 2015) for Introdans in 2018

Didy is an established choreographer with an international reputation.  She has created work for some of the world’s leading dance companies, including Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Ballet Gulbenkian, Cedarlake N-Y, Cullberg Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Ballet Bern, Komische Oper Berling, Introdans NL and Iceland Dance Company amongst others.  Didy is best known in the UK for her creations for Rambert, Northern Ballet Theatre and HeadSpaceDance at the Royal Opera House.

Alexander Balanescu

Romanian-born composer/performer Alexander Balanescu is a prolific composer and one of the most visionary and exciting violinists of our time. As leader of the Balanescu Quartet, he was instrumental in rejuvenating new music, revolutionising its repertoire and its relationship with the audience.  Throughout his career he has drawn inspiration from his collaborations with Pina Bausch, Meryl Tankard, Matthew Dunster (for the Royal Shakespeare Company) and Chiara Guidi and more, and has refused to acknowledge divisions between different musical fields, working with such diverse artists as Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode and Grace Jones.

Composed by Alexander Balanescu, the music for The Happiness Project combines an electronic score of ambient sounds with solo violin performed live by the composer.