Pure romance in this: ‘the ballet of all ballets’
There’s a good reason why Swan Lake is so often called the ‘ballet of all ballets’. The combination of pure romanticism, the story about love and deception and Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet music all continue to reach new generations of audiences.
Swan Lake (from1895), together with The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, forms part of the big three of Russian nineteenth century ballets. Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, together with choreographer Marius Petipa, raised both ballet music and dance as an art form to new heights with this piece. At Dutch National Ballet, Swan Lake is danced in the version of former artistic director, Rudi van Dantzig.
Rudi van DantzigChoreographer
Few people have left such a mark on the Dutch National Ballet and the Dutch dance world as writer and choreographer Rudi van Dantzig (Amsterdam, 1933-2012). For twenty years Van Dantzig was the artistic leader of Dutch National Ballet and he made choreographies that demonstrated an enormous social involvement.
Who is dancing when?
Sunday, March 1, 2015: Maia Makhateli - Artur Shesterikov | Tuesday, March 3, 2015: Anna Tsygankova - Jozef Varga | Thursday, March 5, 2015: Maia Makhateli - Artur Shesterikov | Saturday, March 7, 2015:
Jurgita Dronina - Isaac Hernandez | Sunday, March 8, 2015: Wen Ting Guan - Vito Mazzeo
(Subject to change)
For his Swan Lake (from 1988), Van Dantzig let himself be inspired by Tchaikovsky – by his music, but also by his letters and journals. The choreographer created a link between the life of the composer and that of the prince from the story, who fails in his quest to find a suitable bride. While festivities surrounding this Prince Siegfried’s eighteenth birthday are taking place in the palace, he is torn between good and evil, as symbolized by the White Swan Odette and her mirror image in black, Odile. For ballerinas throughout the world, this double role presents an enormous challenge.
Refinement versus virtuosity
Odette is a picture of beauty, refinement and fragility. She represents Siegfried's ideal image of pure romantic love. But after Siegfried has declared his love to her, the Black Swan Odile sets his head spinning with her refined techniques of seduction. The roles of Odile and Odette will be danced by one and the same ballerina. As Odile, she needs to let a totally different side of herself and her dance technique be seen: villainous and masterly. Both legendary and feared are the 32 fouettés or pirouettes, in which the dancer uses her ‘working leg’ to propel herself into a turn. Fans of ballet throughout the world are known to count along silently.
Van Dantzig worked together with the multitalented Toer van Schayk, who for years had been his friend and partner. Van Schayk was responsible for the colourful folk dances in the third act, as well as for the imposing decor and costumes, inspired by the ‘golden’ paintings of the seventeenth century Dutch Masters, which seem here to come alive.
Swan Lake for kids
Prior to the matinee performance on 1 March 2015, there is a fun children’s activity that will prepare your kids for the performance in a playful way. The story will be told and the children will learn a nice Swan dance. You also get to meet two of the dancers! The activity starts 45 minutes before curtain-up. It takes place in the foyer and admission is free on production of a ticket for the performance. Kids aged between 8 and 12 can join in this fun activity!
Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski
Dutch Ballet Orchestra conducted by Matthew Rowe.
Dutch Ballet Orchestra, formerly known as Holland Symfonia, is the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Ballet. The orchestra brings together music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, from music education to talent development. Het Balletorkest is conducted by chief conductor Matthew Rowe, and consists of 45 musicians, supported by highly qualified guest performers when necessary. This is what makes the orchestra flexible, dynamic and adept. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is an orchestra with personality, driven by one mission: to stir people with music.
Every performance of National Opera & Ballet is preceded by a pre-performance talk (in Dutch). Learn more, enjoy more. This talk begins 45 minutes before curtain and is held in the foyer of the second balcony. The pre-performance talk is free of charge to everyone attending the performance, and amplification is used to enhance audibility. Several days prior to the premiere, the introduction will be made available digitally as a podcast. Check this page to see if the podcast has already been made available.
‘The ballet of ballets is still the yardstick against which all classical ballet companies are measured. Igone de Jongh was lovely as always (…) Vito Mazzeo: a prince as princes were meant to be (…) Fragile beauty encompassing exalted ideals’
‘‘This fairy tale-like and uniquely dramatic Swan Lake is a must for all lovers of classical ballet, and for all potential fans, as well’
‘Van Dantzig’s most beautiful’
'Van Dantzig’s Swan Lake is as sound as ever'