panorama of the art of dance
The repertoire of the Dutch National Ballet is as unique as it is diverse; a wide panorama of the art of dance, focusing on tradition and innovation and built on three cornerstones.
> more about the cornerstones
The large-scale, full-length classical ballets form an important part of the Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire. Having stood the test of time, these works are regarded as cultural high points the world over and are enduringly popular with audiences. They are equally important in the challenge they pose to classically trained dancers, testing their technical prowess to the limit while also
helping to develop their stage personalities.
> more about the classical repertoire
There is also a major focus on the work of George Balanchine [1904 - 1983], whose genius Sonia Gaskell ‘discovered’ early on. The Dutch National Ballet is the only company in Europe to have more than 25 of the Russian-American choreographer’s works in their repertoire.
> more about the neoclassical repertoire
modern and contemporary repertoire – reflection of the twentieth century
Alongside the classical ‘narrative’ ballets, the Dutch National Ballet has also built up an extensive oeuvre of international highlights of twentieth-century dance. In the very first years of its existence, the company, led by Sonia Gaskell, performed works from the legendary Ballets Russes, the famous company with which the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev conquered Europe in the early twentieth century. Landmark works such as Petrouchka [for which Gaskell managed to obtain some of the original costumes at an auction] and Les Sylphides by Mikhail Fokine [1880 - 1942], Les Présages by Léonide Massine [1895 - 1979] and, more recently acquired, Les Noces by Bronislava Nijinska [1891 - 1972], are still in the company’s repertoire today.
new repertoire – lifeblood of a company
The company offers more than simply a cross-section of the dance history of the last century and a half. Leading choreographers from the Netherlands and abroad are regularly invited to create new works exclusively for the Dutch National Ballet. New work is the lifeblood of any dance company - however much the Dutch National Ballet respects ballet tradition.
> more about the new repertoire
The Dutch National Ballet is also committed to bringing innovative and fresh ideas to dance, thereby introducing its audiences and dancers to the work of young talented choreographers, both from the Netherlands and abroad. Since Ted Brandsen’s appointment, prominent choreographers such as Alexei Ratmansky, Martin Schläpfer, David Dawson, Dominique Dumais, Christopher Wheeldon, Benjamin Millepied, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Nicolo Fonte have created new works for the company. In the coming 2011/2012 season, there will be premieres by Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky, former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet.
> more about new impulses
the three ‘Vans’
The seventies and eighties were a golden age for the Dutch National Ballet, with the three ‘Vans’ – Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk. Their predominantly non-narrative works, in which they each combine classical technique and modern dance styles in their own distinctive way, still form part of the repertoire today. Their ‘Dutch style’ also drew great interest from abroad.
With the current artistic team - Brandsen, Van Manen and Pastor - the Dutch National Ballet has some of the most prominent representatives of contemporary ballet within its ranks.
> more about the Dutch National Ballet’s resident choreographers
In contrast to the other dance companies in the Netherlands, whose repertoires consist nearly entirely of modern works, the Dutch National Ballet dances a mixture of classical, romantic, neo-classical, modern and contemporary works.
Full-length classical and romantic ballets are an important part of the repertoire. The Dutch National Ballet performs two or three ‘classics’ a year, ranging from successful existing productions (La Sylphide, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Onegin), to new productions especially created for the company (Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Mouse King).
The Dutch National Ballet also introduces its audiences to the highlights of twentieth-century ballet, from the repertoire of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, from the beginning of the century, to more recent creations by internationally established names such as Christopher Bruce, Carolyn Carlson, William Forsythe, Martha Graham, Edouard Lock, Maguy Marin, Ashley Page, Jerome Robbins en Twyla Tharp.
Extra emphasis is laid on the work of George Balanchine, with over 25 works by this twentieth-century innovator of academic dance in the repertoire of the Dutch National Ballet.
But the Dutch National Ballet offers more than a cross-section of dance history. Ever since it came into existence, the Dutch National Ballet has made an important contribution to the emergence and development of young choreographic talent and thus to a contemporary Dutch style of choreography.
(Ex-)Resident choreographers Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk all experienced their first great international successes with the Dutch National Ballet. Their mainly plotless works are still always included in the repertoire.
Meanwhile, the Dutch National Ballet has also produced a whole new generation of choreographers, which includes artistic director Ted Brandsen, resident choreographer Krzysztof Pastor and freelance choreographer David Dawson – all ex-dancers from the company.
Their work is performed by companies all over the world, from the Washington Ballet to the West Australian Ballet. Choreographers from Holland and from abroad are also regularly invited to make new works exclusively for the Dutch National Ballet.