Dutch National Ballet presents

Dutch Masters Rudi van Dantzig | Hans van Manen | Toer van Schayk

This show was to been seen in September 2016

Toer van Schayk’s 80th birthday

Duration 3:00

Breaks 2

As a tribute to Toer van Schayk, who will be 80 in September, Dutch National Ballet is presenting masterpieces from the repertoire of Toer van Schayk, Hans van Manen and Rudi van Dantzig.

In short

Dutch Masters: the three ‘Vans’
In 1971, Rudi van Dantzig, who was then artistic director of Dutch National Ballet, commissioned dancer Toer van Schayk to choreograph his first work. One year later, Hans van Manen, who had been with Nederlands Dans Theater up to then, also created his first work for the company. Together, they put Dutch National Ballet on the world map in the seventies and eighties, and laid the foundations for what soon became known internationally as the ‘Dutch School’. At the same time, Toer van Schayk grew to become one of the leading set and costume designers of the Netherlands.

Toer van Schayk is also known as ‘the last Renaissance artist’. He is a multi-talented artist; he choreographs, paints, sculpts and designs scenery and costumes. In everything he does, he shows a craftsmanship, precision and eye for detail that seems almost to belong to another era. He has worked with Dutch National Ballet for over fifty years. Van Schayk began his dancing career with the Nederlands Ballet, stopped dancing to train as a sculptor, but returned to dance on stage again in 1965. He stood out for his expressive and moving interpretations and, from 1971, for the ballets he created, in which you can often discern the visual artist because of their plastic quality. He has created around forty ballets in total, including the full-length The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (in collaboration with Wayne Eagling). This ballet is still regularly presented by Dutch National Ballet, as are his designs for Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Giselle.

Kijk naar een toneelrepetitie van Toer van Schayks 'Requiem' (2016).
Adagio Hammerklavier - Hans van Manen
Episodes van Fragmenten - Toer van Schayk
Vier letzte Lieder - Rudi van Dantzig
Three couples dance their way through the works of the Dutch Masters at the Rijksmuseum, to end at a very special painting: The Night Watch.
Watch the trailer of Dutch Masters.
Requiem - Toer van Schayk
Adagio Hammerklavier - Hans van Manen
Vier letzte Lieder - Rudi van Dantzig

Toer van Schayk

Choreographer, set- and costume designer

Toer van Schayk (Amsterdam, 1936) took his first ballet lessons with Iraïl Gadeskov and went on to train with Sonia Gaskell. From 1955 to 1959, he danced with Gaskell’s company, Nederlands Ballet, but interrupted his dancing career to complete his training as a sculptor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague.

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). For twenty years Van Dantzig was the artistic leader of Dutch National Ballet and he made choreographies that demonstrated an enormous social involvement.

Hans van Manen

Resident choreographer

Hans van Manen has succeeded in bringing modern ballet – as a combination of classical ballet and modern dance and movement techniques – to a wide audience.

Episodes van Fragmenten

Van Schayk’s new creation, Episodes van Fragmenten, is a pas de deux that is actually a pas de quatre, as according t the choreographer the two dancers and two musicians are equally important. Set to Eugène Ysaÿe’s capricious composition Extase, Van Schayk sketches a relationship between a male and female dancer that is episodic in its character and mood swings. At certain points, the dancing is interrupted and all the attention is focused on the musicians and the music, which Van Schayk believes is the greatest art form of all. 

Vier letzte Lieder

For the second work in Dutch Masters, Van Dantzig’s Vier letzte Lieder, Van Schayk designed the subdued costumes and painted the wonderful backdrop. Van Dantzig took inspiration for his piece from the composition of the same name by Richard Strauss. In four exceptionally passionate duets, he wistfully expresses the theme of the acceptance of death. Since its premiere in 1977, the ballet has been performed regularly all over the world.

Adagio Hammerklavier

Hans van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier from 1973 is one of the top works from the early period of the three ‘Vans’. Nowadays, the ballet is regarded as one of the classics of twentieth-century dance, and was taken into the repertoire of the leading Russian Mariinsky Ballet in 2014. Van Manen himself describes the work as an ‘ode to deceleration’. Inspired by an adagio from a Beethoven piano sonata, he investigates just how slow a movement can be.


Toer van Schayk’s monumental Requiem (1990), to Mozart’s music of the same name, is central to the Dutch Masters tribute. Dutch National Ballet is dancing this impressive ballet again, after only one revival in 1993. In the work, Van Schayk addresses a theme that is still very relevant today: human culpability for the destruction of nature. He does so mainly in an abstract way, in lyrical, poignant duets and impressive group sections with wonderfully changing structures. Mozart’s masterly music – which few choreographers dare to take on – is thus lent an added dimension.

Dutch Masters gratefully made use of photos taken from the photo archives of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), modified by Altin Kaftira.


The castlist is subject to change




Episodes van Fragmenten
Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe - Extase

Vier letzte Lieder
Richard Strauss – Vier letzte Lieder

Adagio Hammerklavier
Ludwig van Beethoven – Third movement (adagio) from the Piano Sonata no. 29 in B flat major, opus 106

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Requiem

Musical accompaniment
Dutch Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Rowe
In collaboration with Toonkunstkoor Amsterdam, conducted by Boudewijn Jansen. Soloists Requiem: Machteld Baumans, Helena Rasker, Marcel Reijans and Frans Fiselier. Soprano Vier letzte Lieder: Barbara Haveman
Adagio Hammerklavier: Olga Khoziainova (piano)

Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Dutch Ballet Orchestra is Dutch National Ballet’s regular musical accompaniment partner. The 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.

The videomaterial used in Requiem is made available by the World Wide Fund of Nature and edited by Altin Kaftira