The power of the group.
Wed 11 sep
A big classical ballet company cannot function without a corps de ballet. No matter how wonderfully the principals dance, if the dancers surrounding them are not in line and on the music, then the magic doesn’t work. So it’s not surprising that over the years choreographers have been inspired by this power of the group, and have sometimes even given the leading role to the corps de ballet. This programme shows three impressive examples of such works.
With its long white tutus, Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides (1907-1909) is reminiscent of Romantic ballet. But it was also a revolutionary work, as it was the first ballet with no story. Fokine wanted to represent only the atmosphere and melancholy of Chopin’s piano compositions. Though the ballet does have a central figure of a poet, it is the stylistic unity created by his muses, the sylphides, which ensures the continued performances of this ballet all over the world today.
A totally different corps de ballet takes centre stage in Hans van Manen's Corps from 1985, comprising twelve tough men in short black tunics. Three women join them, one by one. Like the men, they could symbolise different people, but together they could represent a single person. Alban Berg’s oppressive Violin Concerto, which inspired Hans van Manen, is played in this programme by leading violinist Liza Ferschtman.
A premiere in the Netherlands and a completely new challenge for the Dutch National Ballet dancers is Le Corps DU BALLET by Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten. A close collaboration is planned for the coming years with this exceptional duo, who are at the forefront of contemporary dance in Amsterdam at the moment and reaping success all over the world. In Le Corps DU BALLET, they give a major new impulse to classical ballet, which revolves around the relationship between the individual body and the ‘body’ of the group.
‘Corps is one of Van Manen’s most exciting works and certainly one of his most intriguing’
- de Volkskrant
Choreography: Michel Fokine
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Choreography: Hans van Manen
Music: Alban Berg
Le Corps DU BALLET – Dutch premiere
Choreography: Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten
Music and sound design: Sébastien Gaxie and Pieter C. Scholten
Musical accompaniment: Holland Symfonia, conducted by Matthew Rowe