Dutch National Ballet presents
Classics old and new
Dutch National Ballet brings together three internationally acclaimed new classics and spotlights two luminaries of twentieth-century American art: Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein.
In some ballets everything comes together so perfectly that you know it is destined to be a classic from the very first bravo! Welcome to The New Classics.
West Side Story
2018 marks the one hundredth birthday of both choreographer Jerome Robbins and composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. The two worked together often, their greatest co-creation being the musical (and later film) West Side Story. In tribute to these two masters, The New Classics presents the Dutch première of Robbins’ brilliant Dances at a Gathering and the European première of Alexei Ratmansky’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, set to Bernstein’s legendary violin concerto of the same name. Rounding out the trio is Chroma, a choreography by Wayne McGregor with music by Joby Talbot.
Robbins and Bernstein
Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein were both born in the United States in 1918. Both were the sons of Russian-Jewish immigrants, and both had long careers that straddled the worlds of ‘serious’ and ‘popular’ art. Robbins became best known for his work as a dancer and resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet; Bernstein wrote an impressive number of orchestral works and conducted the New York Philharmonic for many years as well as guest-conducting countless others, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. But both men also worked for Broadway and Hollywood, and it was there that their passion intersected. The pinnacle of their artistic partnership came in 1957 with West Side Story, a modern musical retelling of Romeo and Juliet for which Robbins won a Tony Award and which took ten Oscars as a film four years later.
"This programme is an absolute must, with three different choreographies, each one fascinating (...)".
"Robbins' classicism convinces in Dances at a Gathering (...) Elegant and cheerful, the soloists, duets and group dances string together to Chopin's piano music.
'The New Classics was a great start to the season, a programme packed with top quality dance and the dancers on top form. Ted Brandsen has assembled an fine line-up of dancers: strong individual personalities wedded to strong versatile technique; a quality cohort of principals and still space for burgeoning talent from the corps.'
"A real new classic is Alexei Ratmansky's 'Serenade after Plato's Symposium', a 'men's ballet' (...) 'Serenade' is undeniably classic, but Ratmansky gives it a casual swing that captivates from start to finish. Not in the least because of the excellent performance of seven male soloists - rightly 'The Magnificent Seven' (...) The ballet is stylish, dynamic and very much contemporary."
"Breathtaking piano ballet with flashy accents". "Robbins (...) shows himself to be a master of the classical idiom, which he intersperses with flashy accents, a wheel stroke, pike diving and complex lifts. (...) breathtaking in his stunning musicality. / "In his enormously rich dance vocabulary, clearly Russian, but peppered with whimsical finds and surprising sequences, Ratmansky shows seven different characters (...) beautiful soloist cast, supplemented by the young talent Timothy van Poucke, is a pleasure.
'This hour long, pure-dance work, set to an anthology of Chopin piano pieces, is a multilayered masterpiece of theater.'
The New Classics
Dances at a Gathering
Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering has been called the ‘quintessential piano ballet’. An inventive, virtuoso whirlwind of emotions, it marks a milestone in twentieth-century ballet. First performed by an all-star cast at the New York City Ballet in 1969, the choreography is set to a sequence of piano compositions by Chopin, their shifting moods inspiring in a series of alternating formations that visualise the full spectrum of human interaction.
Serenade after Plato’s Symposium
‘Surely it’s the ballet premiere of the year; maybe it’s the greatest ballet yet of the 21st century’, raved The New York Times following the world première of Alexei Ratmansky’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium. Like Bernstein, Ratmansky borrowed her inspiration from the Plato text, in which a group of prominent Athenians debate the nature and purpose of love. The result is a sublimely musical choreography in which seven male dancers express diverse ways of ‘being’, with a female soloist symbolising Eros, or love.
In 2006, Wayne McGregor turned the British ballet world upside-down with Chroma, a radical work set to an explosive score by Joby Talbot. Distinguished with an Olivier Award for choreography, today it is danced all over the world.
Dances at a Gathering
Albena Stoyanova (16 en 25 september)
Serenade after Plato’s Symposium
Joby Talbot, Jack White III of The White Stripes
conducted by Matthew Rowe
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters.The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.