Dutch National Ballet presents

Best of Balanchine George Balanchine

This show was to been seen in May 2017

Legendary masterpieces

Duration 2:10

Breaks 2

Best of Balanchine comprises three of the best-known masterpieces as well as a pas de deux that is new to our company by the greatest choreographer of the twentieth century.

In short

In 2013, Dutch National Ballet started a new series of programmes focusing on the oeuvre of George Balanchine. This is the first time there has been a touring edition of Best of Balanchine. Balanchine’s ballets were so inventive, innovative and timeless that they are compared to the paintings of Picasso and the music of Stravinsky.

Sonia Gaskell, the first artistic director of Dutch National Ballet, recognised the great significance of the work of the Russian-American choreographer as early as the 1950s. Dutch National Ballet therefore became the main European treasurer of his ballets.

Watch the trailer
What were the reactions of the audience?
Apollon Musagete (Foto: Altin Kaftira)

George Balanchine


George Balanchine made quite a mark on the development of theatrical dance - he is the maestro of story-less musical ballet. His ballets mostly stand out because of their architectonical composition of choreographic patterns and dance themes.

Theme and Variations

Best of Balanchine opens with Theme and Variations, an ode to Balanchine’s Russian background, which revolves around the refinement and grandeur of the nineteenth-century imperial ballet and the music of Tchaikovsky. Set to the fourth movement of his Orchestral Suite no. 3, Balanchine combines ingenious ensemble dances and elegant, almost regal solo variations. The ballet ends in a grand finale, with a stunning display of dazzling pointework.

Apollon musagète and Violin Concerto

From a very young age, Balanchine already felt a strong attraction to the music of Stravinsky. Balanchine was a musical choreographer ‘pur sang’. His main aim was ‘to make the music visible’: ‘See the music, hear the dance’. He often used Stravinsky’s music, which resulted in brilliant creations like Apollon musagète and Violin Concerto. The first, about the god Apollo and his muses, is an early work, made in 1928 for Diaghilev’s legendary Ballet Russes. The second was created by Balanchine in 1972 for a festival in memory of the composer. He made the ballet in only three weeks, as there were a lot of other premieres coming up, yet seldom have music and choreography formed such a unity.

Violin: Isabelle van Keulen


Theme and Variations

Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski, Suite Nr. 3 voor orkest, op. 55: deel 4 Tema con variazoni

Apollon musagète

Igor Stravinsky, Apollon musagète, versie 1947


Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Grande Tarantelle voor piano en orkest 

Violin Concerto

Igor Stravinsky, Concert voor viool en orkest in D

Violin: Isabelle van Keulen

Musical accompaniment

Dutch Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Andrea Quinn

Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is proud of its close relationship with 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 lends great flexibility and dynamism to the orchestra and ensures its high quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is an orchestra with a unique character, passionate about continually achieving its mission: to move people through music.

    Wed 10 Feb

    ‘This brilliant Tchaikovsky divertissement is characterised by speed and dynamism’. - de Volkskrant about Theme and Variations

    Wed 10 Feb

    ‘Tarantella is all verve. And flirty bravado (…) Balanchine certainly knew how to get a crowd cheering’ -The Village Voice

    Wed 10 Feb

    ‘When the curtain fell, I wanted to see the ballet again straight away. The wealth of ingenious inventions can hardly be comprehended at one viewing’. - Trouw about Violin Concerto