29 April - 29 October 2020


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Online

Running time



Free on our YouTube channel


World premiere

Based on classical ballet technique, the British choreographer David Dawson creates contemporary, virtuoso and often emotionally charged works of art that endear him to the press, the public and leading ballet companies all over the world. On April 29, in celebration of International Dance Day, we are launching the film recording of Dawson's latest creation METAMORPHOSIS, a choreographic five-part about "hope and humanity, about finding light in darkness".

World premiere


During our Christmas Gala last December, principal dancers Anna Ol and James Stout performed a preview of Dawson's METAMORPHOSIS. Now we present the complete choreography for 23 dancers, on the piano five-part by Philip Glass of the same name, in a film by Altin Kaftira. Dawson - an Associate Artist of Dutch National Ballet since 2015 - already devised the starting points for METAMORPHOSIS before the corona pandemic, because he was originally going to make the production for the Junior Ballet Antwerp, of which he is patron. At the time, however, he could not have imagined how topical his ballet is now, given the recent developments in the world


After the rehearsals of METAMORPHOSIS in Antwerp had come to a standstill due to the corona measures, Dawson decided to further develop his choreography via Zoom with the dancers of Dutch National Ballet. Because, he says: “I could not have made this work with any other group of dancers in this way.” Dutch National Ballet - where he had his major breakthrough as a choreographer over 20 years ago - is home to him, even though he has been living in Berlin for years now.

Philip Glass

Philip Glass's piano composition that Dawson chose for his new creation has intrigued him for years. Since he has mainly made large-scale works in recent years and Glass' METAMORPHOSIS has a very intimate atmosphere, there has never been an opportunity to use the music before. Until now, because, says Dawson:

‘Glass' composition carries this new choreography, the music brings everything together, immerses you in one atmosphere, in one dream‘

David Dawson


Artistic enrichment

Logistically, the realization of Dawson's METAMORPHOSIS was an enormous job. According to Dawson, it is thanks to his assistants Rebecca Gladstone, Raphaël Coumes-Marquet and Charlotte Chapellier that they succeeded in creating the entire choreography via Zoom between Amsterdam and Berlin. From an artistic point of view, however, Dawson sees creating via Zoom, recording on film and then streaming ballets online as a challenge and enrichment of the possibilities that dance offers. Especially because as a spectator you can get much closer to the dancers because of all the close-ups. This creates an intimacy that is usually difficult to achieve on stage. Dawson says about this:

In the theatre you can see the complete picture, with film we have the opportunity to step deeper into that world, to be part of the dance. We see more and we see clearly. Human beings are enlarged and we can discover new levels of beauty. The light in the eyes, the breath, the sweat, the skin - the person

David Dawson

‘METAMORPHOSIS is a vehicle for hope, it is about going on, not giving up, about the proverbial road we travel from winter to spring, about the belief that light is shining at the end of the tunnel

David Dawson


In the media
Laudatory responses

Set to Philip Glass’s music, choreographer David Dawson’s new piece – created mostly over Zoom – is a shimmering delight.

30 April

Dawson's style is deeply classical, but also entirely in line with today's fashion. In METAMORPHOSIS, he tells a story about hope in an almost lustfully elegant style, to the well-known music of Philip Glass.

30 April

Lyrical dancers with a phenomenal technique. 

30 April
From our audience

WOW, what an amazing choreography! Love the movements, the dancers, the music, the way is staged, etc. That’s a master piece!

- I Gomez

So incredibly beautiful - in every possible way... Bravo

- Kimberley Medenica

Incredible; beautiful. I have fallen in love with Dutch National Ballet during this pandemic. Thank you, for the hope & perseverance you bring!

- Katherine Sarris
Read about the choreographer

Behind the scenes




David Dawson


Philip Glass

Film director


Olga Khoziainova


Eddie Grundy

David Dawson


Bert Dalhuysen

Assistent choreographer

Raphaël Coumes-Marquet

Rebecca Gladstone

Ballet master

Charlotte Chapellier