On January 19, 2012, in his hometown Amsterdam, choreographer and author Rudi van Dantzig passed away.
"Inspiring, passionate, intense and true to himself – these are the first words that spring to mind when I think of Rudi. The words ‘passionate’ and ‘energetic’ are often used too easily nowadays, but they are perfect – and even unavoidable – when describing Rudi. His life was devoted to dance, and without him dance in the Netherlands would have looked completely different.
Rudi is one of the Netherlands’ greatest artists. As a choreographer and artistic director, he made an incredible contribution to the blossoming of the art of dance in the Netherlands. His name will always remain linked with the Dutch National Ballet, the company he led for so many years and to which he brought world fame. His unbridled energy and great artistic insight ensured that the Dutch National Ballet’s name resounded loudly throughout the Netherlands and the rest of the world, and continues to do so.
Rudi created over fifty ballets, often in collaboration with Toer van Schayk as set and costume designer, ranging from modern creations to adaptations of the legendary classics, which in turn often grew into classics themselves. And over the years, he worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of dancers in the Netherlands and abroad. From Amsterdam to Cape Town, and from Paris to Hong Kong, he inspired his dancers to give their all and shape his vision, whether they were members of the corps de ballet or great stars like Rudolf Nureyev, Alexandra Radius and Clint Farha – with whom he worked so intensively – and so many others besides.
Rudi made great demands – both on himself and on others. But he always gave as much as he demanded. He always wanted to get the most, the best, the sincerest and the most authentic out of a dancer. In his eternal search and restless drive, he shared his doubts about the world and himself, while building up a choreographic and literary oeuvre that is without equal.
Rudi was my director, too, for ten years, and I am still enormously proud of that fact. He took me on as a dancer and believed in me. He let me dance some great roles and gave me the opportunity to develop as a choreographer. I will be eternally grateful to him for that.
It is Rudi’s passion and fire that will always remain with us. It is hard to believe that that fire has now been extinguished in him. We are all incredibly sad that he is no longer with us, and yet at the same time we are intensely grateful to have known him. With Rudi’s passing away, our country has lost an inspiring choreographer and artistic director – and a great man.
Rudi, with much love and respect, thankyou for everything."
Artistic director Dutch National Ballet