Ballerina revolves around the female principals. Artistic director Ted Brandsen gave them carte blanche in compiling the programme, which is all about virtuoso technique, elegance and personal artistry. Larissa Lezhnina is dancing her farewell performance in Ballerina. She has been a principal with Dutch National Ballet for twenty years, and has put her distinctive mark on the company. So the last performance of Ballerina on Tuesday 20 May will be a special tribute to her.
In 2013, six of the Dutch National Ballet’s principals gained a place in the top 100 international dancers chosen by the leading magazine Dance Europe. They and other principals from the company have received an increasing number of invitations in recent years to perform at international ballet galas and to guest in productions abroad. In Ballerina, Dutch National Ballet trains the spotlight on the virtuoso technique, elegance and personal artistry of its principals – both male and female.
In Ballerina – which will consist of only four performances – you can admire these dancers in pas de deux from classical and neoclassical ballets and in contemporary works. The focus is also on the dancers’ artistic and personal interpretation of their roles. The duets are combined with the Grand Pas Classique from Paquita, in the new production by Dutch National Ballet.
Grand Pas Classique
An important part of the programme will be formed by one of Dutch National Ballet’s newest productions, the Grand Pas Classique from Paquita, in which not only the main couple, but also soloists and principals will get a chance to shine amongst the corps de ballet.
This choreography, set in the Spanish court, demands not only a strong technical ability but a majestic elegance. The Spanish Alhambra formed the inspiration for the exclusive costumes and decors designed by François-Noël Cherpin, which elegantly enhance the atmosphere.
In this new, unanimously acclaimed production, Rachel Beaujean, head of the artistic staff, has taken a fresh approach to this purely enchanting nineteenth-century narrative ballet by Marius Petipa.
Presented with the cooperation of pupils from the National Ballet Academy.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Anna Tsygankova - Jozef Varga
Friday, May 16, 2014
Maia Makhateli - Artur Shesterikov
Monday, May 19, 2014
Jurgita Dronina - Isaac Hernández
Romeo and Juliet (balcony pas de deux)
Rudi van Dantzig created his ballet version of Shakespeare’s famous love tragedy in 1967. His Romeo and Juliet was the first full-length ballet created in the Netherlands. Partly due to Prokofiev’s music, the balcony pas de deux is one of the highlights of the ballet, and is the only scene in which Romeo and Juliet are truly happy together.
Choreographer: Rudi van Dantzig
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). He started his dancing career in 1952 with Sonia Gaskell’s company Ballet Recital, the forerunner of the Dutch National Ballet. Following the foundation of the Dutch National Ballet in 1961, he became the resident choreographer of the company, and, after having been the artistic co-director with three other people from 1965 onwards, Van Dantzig became the sole artistic director in 1971, which position he held until 1991.
Along with Alexei Ratmansky (Don Quichotte and other ballets), Christopher Wheeldon is one of the most acclaimed choreographers today. Wheeldon created Duet to Ravel’s wistful Piano Concerto in G major.
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
His first choreography was Slavonic Dances for the Diamond Project of the New York City Ballet in 1997. Wheeldon has been resident choreographer with the company from 2001-2008. He has worked for The Royal Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Pennsylvania Ballet and The Metropolitan Opera (New York, United States), and was the first Brit to create a new choreography for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2007, Wheeldon founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, which he left in 2010. The company is renamed Morphoses and continued by co-founder Lourdes Lopez.
Manon (bedroom pas de deux)
Sir Kenneth McMillan (1929-1992) is regarded as the undisputed master of the romantic pas de deux. The ‘bedroom pas de deux’ from his ballet Manon is one of the most poignant love duets of the 20th century.
Raymonda (Grand Pas Hongrois)
The pas de dix from Raymonda (1898), also known as the Grand Pas Classique Hongrois, is regarded as one of the absolute masterpieces by the grand master of classical ballet, Marius Petipa (1818-1910).
Choreographer: Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa (1818-1910), son of the French ballet master Jean Petipa, made his debut as dancer in 1828, in a version of Pierre Gardel’s Le Dansomanie staged by his father. In 1847, he was engaged as a dancer with the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg. Seven years later, he became a teacher at the Imperial Ballet School in the same city.
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is a festive and virtuoso gem that has given new generations of principals the opportunity to shine for over fifty years. In the duet, Balanchine has given a playful twist to the traditions of the classical pas de deux. He presents them just a bit differently – with a light-hearted flair, resulting in a fresh, challenging and extremely dynamic duet.
Choreographer: George Balanchine
George Balanchine left his marks upon the development of theatrical dance. He is the maestro of storyless musical ballet. His ballets mostly stand out because of their architectonical composition of choreographic patterns and dance themes.
When nine years of age, Balanchine was enrolled at the Imperial Ballet School – now known as the Vaganova Ballet Academy – where he graduated with honours in 1921. He was educated according to the traditional principles and style of choreographer Marius Petipa.
Replay (world premiere)
For his new piece, Ted Brandsen has chosen a piano arrangement of music from The Hours, by Philip Glass. “I want to emphasise the mystery in the music. I like the ‘searching quality’ in it, and the feeling of an imminent parting and of trying again and again, after which the end follows anyway. I don’t want to say anything else about it – I want to leave room for personal interpretation”.
Choreographer: Ted Brandsen
Under the directorship of Ted Brandsen (1959, Kortenhoef, the Netherlands) the Dutch National Ballet has made enormous progress. In 2013, for instance, the New York Times ranked the company in the top five dance institutions in the world that presented new productions, and De Süddeutsche Zeitung ranked the group in the top three in the world. As the director of Dutch National Ballet, Ted Brandsen has introduced and developed a number of important artistic initiatives.
The Old Man and Me
Hans van Manen, resident choreographer with Dutch National Ballet, made the duet The Old Man and Me for Nederlands Dans Theater III dancers Gerard Lémaître and Sabine Kupferberg, in 1996. The work, which is a light-hearted ode to love, and timeless for all ages, is now being premiered by Dutch National Ballet. ‘Van Manen does not write with words, but with gestures’, wrote Trouw in 1996.
Choreographer: Hans van Manen
Van Manen's international fame is widespread, illustrated by the fact that his ballets are performed by more than fifty companies worldwide. The international stars who have performed his ballets include Anthony Dowell, Marcia Haydée, Natalia Makarova and Rudolf Nureyev. To date, Van Manen has created more than 120 ballets. Besides being a choreographer, Hans van Manen has also been active as a photographer for ten years. His work has been included in international books and exhibitions.
Paquita: Ludwig Minkus a.o. arrangement by John Lanchberry.
Manon: Jules Massenet
Duet: Maurice Ravel
Raymonda: Alexander Glazoenov
Romeo en Julia: Sergej Prokofjev
Tchaikovsky-pas de deux: Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski
The Old Man and Me: John Cale, Igor Stravinsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Holland Symfonia conducted by Matthew Rowe.
Every performance of National Opera & Ballet is preceded by a pre-performance talk. Learn more, enjoy more. This talk begins 45 minutes before curtain and is held in the foyer of the second balcony. The introduction is free of charge to everyone attending the performance, and amplification is used to enhance audibility. Several days prior to the premiere, the pre-performance talk will be made available digitally as a podcast. See on this page to see if the podcast has already been made available.
Download the printed programme for Ballerina here (PDF, 2.2 Mb):
'Paquita proves how powerful and significant classical ballet can be (…) pure dance to show off the technical brilliance of the dance (…) a swirling, but constrained and stylish showcase’