Dutch National Ballet presents
Young toptalent on tour
The Junior Company has became a fixture in the Dutch theatre firmament. This season they’ll once more be touring the whole country to showcase a cross-section of the ballet repertoire. Unboxing Ballet 2, with creations of Hans van Manen and other leading choreographers, is sure to delight both die-hard dance fans and first-time audiences.
Unboxing Ballet 2 combines the three cornerstones of the Dutch National Ballet repertoire: the classical and ever-popular nineteenth-century ballet tradition, highlights of twentieth-century ballet, and exciting creations by choreographers who are blazing new trails around the world. This kaleidoscopic triptych takes you on a virtual journey through the history of ballet, guided by the gifted young dancers of the Junior Company.
Less is more
Hans van Manen is famed as a master of minimalism. Metaphorically, because he strips dance of all superfluous frills: dance in its purest and cleanest form is his trademark, ‘less is more’ his motto. But also literally, because Van Manen creates within self-imposed limits. In In and Out, those limits are spatial, with a set consisting of three wardrobes in and out of which 12 dancers continually disappear and reappear: all of them cramming into one wardrobe, then separating to dangle, climb and crawl across all three, then storming back across the stage. From playful, light-hearted and sexy at first, when singer Nina Hagen takes over from Laurie Anderson the mood darkens to become calculated, aggressive and even vicious.
The 1967 rendering of Valse Fantaisie was originally presented as the second section of Glinkiana, which was choreographed to four different compositions by Glinka. The music, roughly contemporaneous with the waltzes of Frederic Chopin, is fast and light, although it was popularly called “the Melancholy Waltz.” Attended by the male dancer, the ballerinas move together in a whirl of perpetual motion.
Eric Gauthier's Ballet 101 is a solo for a boy about the basic ballet positions, which is both funny and technical very challenging. At the initiative of King Louis XIV, the basic positions of classical ballet were written down at the French Académie Royale de Danse in the seventeenth century and they are still taught worldwide. Eric Gauthier uses these basic positions as starting point for a humoristic ‘crash course’ in classical ballet. In the first part of his choreography he shows them in the usual order. After that he mixes them with a wink. The part ends in a very surprising way.
When MacMillan (1929-1992) became director of the ballet at the Berlin Opera House, he made Concerto. He wanted to both technically challenge and develop his new group. For this choreography he used dancers from all grades. Macmillan used for Concerto -like he did for his choreography Symphony- a composition of Shostakovich. The composer wrote this exuberant second piano concerto for his son’s 19th birthday. Concerto contains three movements and there is a different pair of soloists for each part. The Junior Company will dance the famous Pas de deux from the second part.
The Junior Company was established jointly by Dutch National Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet Academy in 2013 to bridge the worlds of training and professional practice. Its success has exceeded all expectations, with the company now receiving invitations to perform around the globe as well as hundreds of applications annually from dancers worldwide to audition for a place in the celebrated company. At present, one-third of the Dutch National Ballet corps consists of former Junior Company members, most notably soloist Michaela DePrince, grand sujets Riho Sakamota, Jessica Xuan, Yuanyuan Zhang, Martin ten Kortenaar and Sho Yamada, and corps de ballet dancer Timothy van Poucke. Dutch National Ballet’s artistic director Ted Brandsen affirms, ‘I am very proud of everything the group has managed to achieve and accomplish in such a relatively short time. These talented young dancers also boost the company as a whole, and contribute to a very positive working environment. They’re used to cooperating as a group and have performed together all over in Holland and around the world, and they bring those qualities with them when they “move up” to Dutch National Ballet.’
In and Out
Choreography Hans van Manen
Music Laurie Anderson, Nina Hagen
Costume and decor Keso Dekker
Light Jan Hofstra
Choreography George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music Mikhail Glinka (‘Valse Fantaisie in B minor’)
Costume Oliver Haller
Light Wijnand van der Horst
Choreography Eric Gauthier
Music Jens-Peter Abele
Costumes and light Eric Gauthier
Choreography Sir Kenneth MacMillan
Music Dmitri Shostakovich (‘piano concerto no.2’)
Choreography Charlotte Edmonds
Costume Oliver Haller
Light Wijnand van der Horst
‘Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company has rapidly gained such a reputation that young people from Australia to Uruguay want nothing more than to be one of 12 dancers in this ensemble’
Main sponsor Junior Company