Programmes Hans van Manen Festival

During the Hans van Manen Festival, 4 unique programmes with 19 groundbreaking pieces will be performed by different dance companies and ensembles. On this page, you will find an overview of all programmes and more information on the choreographies.

 

Duration

Programme IV: 2 hours and 26 min incl. 2 intermissions

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Programme IV

Four Schumann Pieces (Wiener Staatsballett), In the Future (Junior Company), Variations for Two Couples (Dutch National Ballet), Solo (Stuttgarter Ballett), Concertante (Dutch National Ballet)

  • Tuesday 28 June at 20.15

  • Wednesday 29 June at 20.15

Four Schumann Pieces

Revolving around the man

When The Royal Ballet, in Britain, asked Hans van Manen to create a new work for the company in 1975, the choreographer immediately envisaged star dancer Anthony Dowell in the leading role. Because the new ballet was to revolve around the ‘ballerino’ for once, and not around ‘that eternal ballerina’.

Four Schumann Pieces

Five couples surround the male soloist in Four Schumann Pieces, and over the years much has been written about the relationship between them. The main character has been described as someone who continually enters into doomed relationships, a man musing on romance with his fantasies portrayed by the surrounding couples, a lone wolf or even a symbol for the composer Robert Schumann. Van Manen sees it differently himself, “I don’t like all that psychology. It’s all very inventive, but what am I supposed to do with it? Okay, you could call him a lone wolf: he dances with everyone and nothing works out. But that doesn’t upset him at all!”

Four Schumann Pieces has grown into one of Van Manen’s most popular and most often performed ballets. The main role has been interpreted by a wide range of dancers, including Rudolf Nureyev, Han Ebbelaar, Wayne Eagling, Boris de Leeuw and Matthew Golding. And every performance was different, says Van Manen. “Not just because of the differences in personality, but also because a role like this can – no, must – change with the times.”

Four Schumann Pieces | Het Nationale Ballet (2012) | Foto: Angela Sterling
Four Schumann Pieces | Dutch National Ballet (2012) | Photo: Angela Sterling

In the Future

Sublime interplay of colours and bodies

Hans van Manen choreographed In the Future in 1986 for Scapino Ballet. The dynamic, swinging and exciting work has also been in the repertoire of the Junior Company since 2018. Keso Dekker’s costumes – with green fronts and red backs – play an important role in the ballet.

In the Future

They emphasise the sublime interplay of colours and bodies that Van Manen creates to the pulsating, jazzy music from David Byrne’s album Music for The Knee Plays. He magically interweaves ‘red’ and ‘green’ ensembles, ingeniously mixing green rows with red ones, and changing the whole image with one simple jump or turn.

Last month, when the Junior Company danced the ballet in their touring programme Shooting Stars, the newspaper NRC wrote, “The programme closed with an evergreen work by Hans van Manen. In the Future, with crystal-clear choreography and music by David Byrne, is excellently suited to young dancers, yet this does not detract from its ingenious construction and costumes – leotards that have bright green fronts and signal red backs. The visual effect is optimally exploited right up to the final moment and has been delighting audiences since 1986.”

In the Future | Junior Company (2018) | Foto: Michel Schnater
In the Future | Junior Company (2018) | Photo: Michel Schnater

Variations for two couples

‘It really isn’t a competition’

Hans van Manen had already received a Benois de la Danse Lifetime Achievement Award when he was awarded a ‘Benois’ for best choreography for his ballet Variations for two couples, in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, in 2013.

Variations for two couples

Van Manen created the ballet a year earlier for Present/s, a double programme of nine world premieres, presented on the occasion of Dutch National Ballet’s fiftieth anniversary. He took his inspiration from four very different pieces of music, as well as from two couples, each with their own special qualities. The first couple is lyrical and really excels in adagio work, and the second is fiery and virtuoso. “But it never becomes a competition”, the choreographer stressed on the eve of the premiere. “I don’t like that at all. For me, it’s all about the personalities of the dancers that I want to bring out. Although sometimes I turn the roles around a bit. Then I let the lyrical dancers be virtuoso and I try to get the virtuoso couple to dance as ‘inwardly’ as possible.”

The movement idiom remains typically Van Manen. But he says, “I do always try to add something new; something to make the atmosphere totally different to my previous ballet.” In Variations for two couples, everything is “low down” – even the dancers’ lifts. “This time, I didn’t want anything high; anything reminiscent of traditional ballet.”

Variations for Two Couples | Het Nationale Ballet (2021) | Foto: Hans Gerritsen
Variations for Two Couples | Dutch National Ballet (2021) | Photo: Hans Gerritsen
Variations for Two Couples | Het Nationale Ballet (2021) | Foto: Hans Gerritsen
Variations for Two Couples | Dutch National Ballet (2021) | Photo: Hans Gerritsen

Solo

Whirling dance relay race

A masterpiece in seven minutes – that is Solo by Hans van Manen. Van Manen created the work in 1997 for three dancers from NDT 2, the junior group of Nederlands Dans Theater. It is a solo for three dancers, the choreographer explained at the time, because the punishing tempo of Bach’s Violin Partita means it can’t be danced by just one person.

Solo

The only small thing about Solo is its duration. In every other respect, it is a grand work – a magnificent demonstration of dynamics, beauty, technical virtuosity, bravura and, last but not least, infectious joy of dance. Solo sparkles, crackles and swings, enthralling the audience with its incredible speed and excitement. The choreographer succeeds in painting a wonderful portrait of a man nearly bursting out of his skin with energy, who is in dialogue with himself and the world. The three dancers embody the different facets or ‘colours’ of the man. However, it is probably just as plausible to say that Solo is about three men pushing and challenging one another, and who can only do so in this whirling way because they are so strongly connected and complement each other so well.

Van Manen has also shed new light on Bach’s Violin Partita No. 1. Former NDT dancer Václav Kunes, who was one of the original cast, says, “Through Solo, Hans has added an extra layer to Bach’s music. He has visualised so many details, nuances and transitions that are concealed in the score.” “Hans didn’t use Bach”, adds ex-colleague Jo Kanamori, “He actually felt Bach.”

Solo | Het Nationale Ballet (2020) | Foto: Altin Kaftira
Solo | Dutch National Ballet (2020) | Photo: Altin Kaftira

Concertante

Something’s brewing, something’s bubbling

For some ballets, it can be difficult to find that one challenging and inspiring composition, but for Concertante Hans van Manen more or less bumped into Frank Martin’s Petite symphonie concertante. He was struck by the wonderful variety in the music, the compelling character that makes certain choices inevitable and the persistent rhythm.

Concertante

Van Manen created Concertante for eight juniors of NDT 2. The way he introduces the dancers one by one at the beginning of the ballet arose logically, says Van Manen, from the slow, beautifully even opening section of the music. Afterwards, the choreography unfolds in a timeless beauty of group sections, trios and duets, which follow one another in a surprising yet completely logical way.

Human relationships form the overarching theme of all Van Manen ballets. According to the master choreographer, there’s always something going on between the people. In the case of Concertante, this involves a thriller-like suspense: something’s brewing, something’s bubbling, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. “However much people love one another, you never know what the other person’s thinking. You try to take account of them, but before you know it you’ve got it wrong again.”

Concertante | Nederlands Dans Theater (1994) | Foto: Dirk Buwalda
Concertante | Nederlands Dans Theater (1994) | Photo: Dirk Buwalda
Hans van Manen Festival
Photo: Bart Hess

Hans van Manen Festival

In 2007, the Hans van Manen Festival, organised by Dutch National Ballet for the occasion of Van Manen’s seventy-fifth birthday, was the highlight of the theatre season. This summer, Van Manen will turn ninety, and once again the international dance world is coming together to pay homage to the grand master of Dutch ballet.

Programme I (could be seen until 11 June)

Metaforen, Sarcasmen, Frank Bridge Variations, Grosse Fuge (Dutch National Ballet) 

  • Wednesday 8 June at 20.15

  • Friday 10 June at 20.15

  • Saturday June 11 at 20.15

Metaforen

Reflection and symmetry

Of all the ballets choreographed by Hans van Manen – totalling more than 150 – Metaforen (1965) is the oldest work still performed. Key elements in the ballet for twelve dancers are reflection, symmetry and, what was soon to become one of Van Manen’s trademarks, a refined interplay of lines.

Metaforen

In creating the ballet, Van Manen’s starting point was an imaginary mirror wall down the centre of the stage, making the movements on stage right a reflection of those on stage left, and vice versa. But Van Manen wouldn’t be Van Manen if he didn’t break that strict symmetry later on in the ballet and then make ingenious variations on it.

A central role in Metaforen is reserved for a male pas de deux and a female pas de deux. Although both were unusual at the time, it was mainly the male duet that created a stir. So much so, in fact, that some colleagues and good friends of Van Manen advised him – in vain – to scrap the pas de deux. After the premiere, the duet was often regarded as a plea for homosexual rights and emancipation, although Van Manen’s sole intention was to show that a pas de deux could be danced equally well by two men.

Metaforen | Het Nationale Ballet (1946) | Foto: Jorge Fatauros
Metaforen | Dutch National Ballet (1946) | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Sarcasmen

Ironic game of attraction and rejection

Sarcasmen is one of Hans van Manen’s most famous and most often danced ‘ballets for two’. On the one hand, the two dancers try to maintain the pretence that they have no interest in each other whatsoever, and on the other everything they do is focused on their partner.

Sarcasmen

The duet, created in 1981 on Rachel Beaujean and Clint Farha, is an ironic game of attraction and rejection. With a pianist as the third, important link in the game, it is as if the two dancers enter into an intimate dialogue about love, which cannot be expressed in words. Clint Farha: “Sarcasmen is about the games that lovers play with one another. About who dominates who.” Rachel Beaujean: “It’s about challenging each other, without souring the relationship. Because – we do love each other.”

Van Manen was very specific about how he wanted the ballet performed. Beaujean says, “I remember receiving lots of compliments after dancing it at the Carré theatre and feeling really popular. But the next day Hans said we had to rehearse it again. He thought it had been over the top.” Farha adds, “We were treading a fine line. Sarcasmen has to be provocative and tantalizing, but at the same time classy, chic and erotic.” About her role, Beaujean says, “Hans wants you to be a femme fatale; refined and cultured, rather than vulgar.”

Sarcasmen | Het Nationale Ballet | Foto: Hans Gerritsen
Sarcasmen | Dutch National Ballet (2021) | Photo: Hans Gerritsen

Frank Bridge Variations

Unity in contrasts

Frank Bridge Variations was the first work that Hans van Manen created for Dutch National Ballet on his return to the company in January 2005 as resident choreographer, a position he had previously held from 1973 to 1987.

Frank Bridge Variations

The piece is based on Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, opus 10. Inspired by the music and using nine of the eleven variations, Van Manen indulges in contrasts: sharp and flowing, precise and free, angry and melancholy. But no matter how diverse, together the nine sections form a natural, yet stunning unity.

Following a powerful opening scene for the five couples, two pairs of soloists break free of the ensemble. The first couple’s duets are dominated by a suppressed tension. Despite the slow movements, their dancing is charged with energy. The duets of the second couple are lighter in tone and pervaded by tenderness and sensuality. In between the duets, the two male soloists steal the show with two energetic solos: one full of pride and swagger, and the other frenzied with raging fury. To Britten’s Funeral March, the whole ensemble advances slowly across the stage, generating an unparalleled effect that exudes an indefinable threat.

Frank Bridge Variations

Frank Bridge Variations

Grosse Fuge

Cool, playful or with pent-up aggression

Immediately following its premiere in 1971, Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge was hailed as ‘the most interesting European ballet of the decade’. Although the work is now over fifty years old, it appears timeless and it is still Van Manen’s most often performed creation worldwide.

Grosse Fuge

In a white set with a shifting, illuminated neon line on the horizon (designed by Jean-Paul Vroom), four men display their virile strength to four women, dancing to Beethoven’s Fugue. Their stretched arms, clenched fists and measured movements lend a whole new dimension to Beethoven’s impressive composition. When the women take over the dancing, the same themes return, but now the movements are softer and more rarefied. A short group section is followed by four duets, in which the partners challenge one another; sometimes coolly, sometimes playfully and sometimes with pent-up aggression.

In the second section, to Beethoven’s Cavatina, the distance between the sexes becomes smaller and the agitated tension makes way for lyricism. The choreography for the ensemble exudes eroticism in the purest sense: tender, yet also powerful with taut lines, whereby the women – as always in Van Manen’s works – are always a match for the men.

Grosse Fuge | Het Nationale Ballet (2021) | Foto: Hans Gerritsen
Grosse Fuge | Dutch National Ballet (2021) | Photo: Hans Gerritsen

Programme II (was performed until 19 June)

Polish Pieces (Introdans), Trois gnossiennes (Dutch National Ballet), Situation (Nederlands Dans Theater 1), Two Pieces for HET (Dutch National Ballet), Two Gold Variations (Dutch National Ballet)

  • Wednesday 15 June at 20.15

  • Thursday 16 June at 20.15

  • Friday 17 June at 20.15

  • Sunday 19 June at 14.00

Polish Pieces

Colourful interplay of lines

Polish Pieces is undoubtedly one of Hans van Manen’s most lively and colourful works. To powerful, driving music by Henryk Mikolaj Górecki, twelve dancers take the stage in a fantastically clear interplay of lines, dressed in brightly coloured Lycra.

Polish Pieces

Walking and running, with movements that come from the hips, they immediately claim all the attention. In constantly changing combinations, Van Manen propels them forwards. Reflecting Górecki’s music, the group sections are taut, energetic and pulsating, yet the continual eye contact between the dancers creates a charged atmosphere at the same time. This tension is stepped up further in two duets, the first of which exudes romance and tenderness. In the second duet, the dancers challenge one another to the limit.

Polish Pieces is very reminiscent of a multicoloured painting that has come to life. This is partly due to the choice of colour for the close-fitting Lycra costumes designed by Keso Dekker, to which much thought was given beforehand. Van Manen wanted to have two coloured ‘families’; one for the men and one for the women. In addition, each dancer had to look totally different to the others, while everyone had to remain visible at the same time.

Trois gnossiennes

Temporary truce

Trois gnossiennes, to the music of the same name by Erik Satie, was originally the closing section of Hans van Manen’s Five Short Stories (1982). Like Sarcasmen, the piece was later included in the programme Piano Variations. In this cycle of five ballets, Van Manen was concerned, as always, with the often discordant relationships between people, and particularly between men and women.

Trois gnossiennes

Following the vicious satire of Sarcasmen (Piano Variations II), a temporary truce between the sexes appears to have been declared in Trois gnossiennes (Piano Variations III). Although it starts with repressed tension between the man and woman, the atmosphere gradually changes to one of submission and harmony. The partners display a natural trust in one another and complement each other perfectly.

As in Sarcasmen, Van Manen puts the piano and the pianist centre stage in Trois gnossiennes, making both of them an important part of the choreography. The pianist is slowly pushed around the stage – grand piano and all – by three dancers. And the choreographer leaves the opening and final chords of the music solely to the pianist, as Van Manen’s tribute to the composition: his source of inspiration.

Trois Gnossiennes

Trois Gnossiennes performance clip

Situation

At each other’s mercy

Whereas most of Van Manen’s ballets are set to sublime music, for Situation the choreographer deliberately opted for irritating sounds – a volley of gunshots, the roar of fighter jets, the whine of mosquitos – “because the whole ballet is about aggression and violence.”

Situation

Over fifty years old, yet apparently timeless, this work is not only about the visible restriction of the space, represented by three austere walls that mark off the playing field – or rather battlefield. It is mainly about the emotional space that people sometimes give one another, but more often do not. The ‘room’ in which the men and women meet is bare and empty, with no windows and lit only by three bulbs, and is reminiscent of a cellar or warehouse, or even a laboratory. Especially when the only door to the room shuts, they are stuck there together at each other’s mercy. Van Manen thus raises the question of how to survive in such a restricted space of eight metres wide, six metres deep and four metres high, and how to ensure that others don’t get too close to you. Or vice versa: how to break through the evasive stance someone adopts.

The clock on the wall makes the audience aware of the marvel of time: one minute can pass in an instant, or it can take ‘hours’.

Situation | Het Nationale Ballet (1981) | Foto: Jorge Fatauros
Situation | Dutch National Ballet (1981) | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Two Pieces for HET

From fifth to second gear

Two Pieces for HET is one of the highlights of Hans van Manen’s acclaimed series of ‘ballets for two’. Originally, the two pieces formed the second and third parts of Three Pieces for HET, the ballet with which Van Manen made his successful comeback with Dutch National Ballet in 1997, after ten years’ absence. Nowadays, the ballet is usually performed without the first part, which is choreographed for an ensemble.

Two Pieces for HET

In Three Pieces for HET, Van Manen wanted to investigate the principle of the anti-climax. He deliberately chose to begin with a group of dancers and then to let the choreography run down, as it were, by ending with two dancers. “I’ve unravelled a piece of knitting, rather than knitting it”, he said himself about the work.

Even when the group section is left out, this principle still holds. The first part of Two Pieces for HET is a swirling, nervously energetic duet performed at breakneck speed. The second is a tranquil adagio that gradually decreases in movement density. Rather than ‘starting in first gear and gradually revving up the engine’, Van Manen has the two dancers ‘change down from fifth to second gear’. Former principal Sofiane Sylve, who danced the premiere with Gaël Lambiotte, summed up the effect prosaically: “Afterwards, you’re broken.”

Two Pieces for HET | Het Nationale Ballet (2015) | Foto: Angela Sterling
Two Pieces for HET | Dutch National Ballet (2015) | Photo: Angela Sterling

Two Gold Variations

Increasingly heated dialogue

Two Gold Variations (1999) is one of the works that Hans van Manen originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater that were later taken into Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire. The ballet was inspired by two movements from Goldrush Concerto, by Jacob ter Veldhuis. “It’s music that swings like crazy, with incredibly wild, rhythmic sections and a succession of instruments that’s exceptionally interesting and inspiring.”

Two Gold Variations

Van Manen’s ballet evokes the atmosphere of an increasingly heated dialogue between a man and woman, multiplied by six other couples. But, he says, it’s not a continuous narrative. “I wanted the dancers to keep doing new things, a bit differently each time, but in such a way that all those different things are eventually connected to one another.”

He sums up the essence of the ballet as follows: “It’s about everything that goes on between people in the world.” He has now changed the ending, danced by the soloist couple. “In the original version, she lies on top of him at the end. Now, she lets down her hair and looks at him, but stays sitting down in irritation. There’s no hint of a relationship anymore and the ballet has an open ending.”

Two Gold Variations | Het Nationale Ballet (2015) | Foto: Angela Sterling
Two Gold Variations | Dutch National Ballet (2015) | Photo: Angela Sterling

Programme III

Adagio Hammerklavier (Dutch National Ballet), Simple Things (Nederlands Dans Theater 2), Dances with Piano (Ballett am Rhein), Symphonieën der Nederlanden (Dutch National Ballet), 5 Tango’s (Dutch National Ballet)

  • Wednesday 22 June at 20.15 

  • Thursday 23 June at 20.15

  • Friday 24 June at 20.15

  • Sunday 26 June at 14.00

Adagio Hammerklavier

An ode to deceleration

Adagio Hammerklavier (1973) marks the period in which Hans van Manen started to use classical pointework more often, and in this ‘timeless classic of twentieth-century dance’ he did so a way that was exceptionally lyrical for him.

Adagio Hammerklavier

As usual, Van Manen took his inspiration from the music; in this case, Christoph Eschenbach’s unusually slow performance of the adagio from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no. 29 in B-flat major. The master choreographer was inspired to carry out a deep investigation into just how slow a movement can be. He once described the result as “a wheel that is still just moving after a push, just before it falls.”

In the opening section and the subsequent short pieces for the six soloists, it is evident how much the dancers have to move as one and almost breathe together. Each group section is followed by a duet for one of the couples. The first is tender, although the woman does regularly try to escape the man. Here, the movement idiom is downwards and grounded, whereas the second dynamic duet seems about to take flight, with snappy extensions and high lifts. The tangible unrest of these two duets makes way in the third pas de deux for harmony and submission. In breathtaking slow motion, the deceleration reaches its absolute peak here.

Adagio Hammerklavier

Adagio Hammerklavier

Simple Things

Perfect cohesion between music and dance

Hans van Manen created the dynamic and wonderfully natural-looking quartet Simple Things in 2001, for the young dancers of NDT 2. The ballet opens with a virtuoso, playful and challenging male duet to a compelling Scarlatti sonata, arranged for two accordions. The women then join the men and the atmosphere becomes more elegant and serious.

Simple Things

To music by Joseph Haydn and Peteris Vasks, the four dancers perform duets in alternating combinations. After these brief encounters, the women leave the stage – as if they were just chance passers-by in the men’s lives – and the men repeat their previous choreographic duel.

Simple Things is peerless if only for the perfect cohesion between music and dance. Parvaneh Scharafali, a dancer from the original cast, says, “Hans plays with the music. He has a very refined musicality, which was quite difficult to pick up for us dancers, especially in the fast sections.” Her former dance partner Lukáš Timulak adds, “But he was very good at demonstrating what he wanted. And he really enjoyed doing it too. If he were a bit younger, I think he’d still really enjoy dancing a ballet like Simple Things himself.”

Simple Things | Nederlands Dans Theater (2001) | Foto: Joris-Jan Bos
Simple Things | Nederlands Dans Theater (2001) | Photo: Joris-Jan Bos

Dances with Piano

Choreographic fireworks

Hans van Manen created Dances with Harp in 2014, for the programme Dutch Doubles, in close collaboration with harpist Remy van Kesteren. The two artists got together to select the four pieces of music, which Van Kesteren arranged especially for the occasion.

Dances with Piano

Van Manen’s response to the selected compositions was a series of choreographic variations for nine dancers, in which duets alternate with sections for three men. The duets highlight the different qualities of three dance couples, and the male sections (to two Goldberg Variations by Bach) are meant to ‘explode’ in between the duets like choreographic fireworks.

Yet the choreographer felt they were not explosive enough. In 2019, he adapted the work for Ballett am Rhein, in Germany, replacing the harp with piano and radically changing the sections. In Dances with Piano, both the male trios have an even stronger and more vivacious style. “Because”, says Van Manen, “it had to be clear that they have nothing to do with the rest of the ballet. Although…”

Dances with Piano is having its Dutch premiere in this Hans van Manen Festival. The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote about the ballet’s reception in Düsseldorf, “A whole house full of people who had lumps in their throat and didn’t quite know how to handle their applause and express the sensations of joy, beauty and melancholy left behind by every great Van Manen ballet.”

Dances with Piano | Ballett am Rhein (2019) | Foto: Gert Weigelt
Dances with Piano | Ballett am Rhein (2019) | Photo: Gert Weigelt

Symphonieën der Nederlanden

One big climax

Hans van Manen created Symphonieën der Nederlanden for the opening of Amsterdam Cultural Capital of Europe, in 1987. In view of the occasion, he thought it would be good to use music by a Dutch composer. “So I decided on Andriessen. The title alone was great, of course, and I was immediately taken by the music. Nice and jazzy and swingy, and driving and exciting.”

Symphonieën der Nederlanden

Andriessen composed Symphonieën der Nederlanden for two brass orchestras. This soon suggested a choreographic form to Van Manen – images of American marching bands that perform at big events or sports matches immediately sprang to mind. “Parade-like; one big group of dancers that continually marches on and never stands still.”

The 24 dancers walk in clear, geometric patterns, whereby the ensemble keeps splitting up into smaller formations that intermingle and then shift away from each other. Straight lines and taut movements dominate the choreography, while Keso Dekker’s costumes create surprising optical effects.

Just like the composition, the ballet consists of seven short sections, each with its own atmosphere and character. “Actually, the music is one big climax. There’s no time to work towards something. You have to get to the point straight away.”

Symphonieën der Nederlanden | Het Nationale Ballet (2018) | Foto: Michel Schnater
Symphonieën der Nederlanden | Dutch National Ballet (2018) | Photo: Michel Schnater

5 Tango’s

Unparalleled precision and rhythm

Hans van Manen first encountered the music of Astor Piazzolla in former West Berlin, at a dinner given by the dance critic Klaus Geitel. It was love at first sight. Van Manen absolutely had to choreograph a ballet to it!

5 Tango’s

From Piazzolla’s extensive oeuvre, Van Manen selected five contrasting compositions for his ballet, which he called simply 5 Tangos. In the piece for fourteen dancers, he aimed to combine the repressed passion of the tango with the cool distance of classical ballet technique, but he wanted to avoid any hint of ballroom or Latin folklore in the choreography. It resulted in a masterpiece of unparalleled precision and rhythm; virtuoso and explosive, yet also wonderfully sultry and subdued.

5 Tangos was not just the ballet through which Van Manen introduced Piazzolla’s music to the Netherlands, but it is also one of the most often danced Van Manen ballets worldwide. And the third section – the spectacular male solo to Vayamos al diablo – has become one of the most popular variations at international ballet competitions. Van Manen would often turn on the television on a trip abroad and suddenly find himself in the middle of his solo (incidentally, without having given his permission to dance it).

5 Tango's | Het Nationale Ballet (2019) | Foto: Maria Laura Antonelli
5 Tango's | Dutch National Ballet (2019) | Photo: Maria Laura Antonelli