12 April; 17.00 – 18.15 hrs


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Odeon Zaal

Running time



€ 12,50

Anna Pavlova dancing the dying swan

Two open lectures

In two English spoken open lectures this season, Gabriele Klein (Special Professor for ballet and dance) explores the relationship between ballet and contemporary dance on the one hand and ballet and popular dance on the other. She shows differences and similarities and puts these different dance genres in relation to contemporary culture and society.

Photo: Anna Pavlova dancing The Dying Swan (Fokine)

Swan Lake and Dorian

The lectures precede and relate to two performances of Swan Lake and Dorian, both by Dutch National Ballet and to be seen in the second half of this season.

More information about the lecture related to Dorian, can be found here: Ballet goes hiphop goes ballet ...

What is contemporary in ballet?

This lecture explores the relationships between ballet and contemporary dance. Using some examples, supported by visual and video material and with reference to the performance Swan Lake, Gabriele Klein asks why classical ballet is (still) shown on stages and finds its audience and what benefits the audience can derive from them.


Swan Lake


Ballet is a centuries-old art that originated in European feudal society and is now at home in all the world's great theatres and operas.

Especially since the beginning of the 20th century, the aesthetic of ballet has become increasingly differentiated. Today it ranges from classical, neo-classical and modern ballet to hybrid forms between contemporary dance and ballet.

Opposites and points of contact

Parallel to this modernisation of ballet, a new stage art has emerged in the form of modern dance, which has set itself apart from the tradition of ballet. It, too, has many facets in its history: from expressive dance and American modern dance to dance theatre, post-modern and new dance, and contemporary dance. 

Until today, the history of ballet and modern dance has generally been written independently of each other: different aesthetics, different venues, different audiences are arguments for considering ballet and modern dance as opposites. But there are also many points of contact, mutual influences and similarities.

Order tickets

UVA-students can attend the lecture for free using the code sent to them.

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Gabriele Klein

Gabriele Klein is Special Professor for ballet and dance at the University of Amsterdam and Professor for dance and performance studies at the University of Hamburg.

The following book publications are related to the lectures:

  • Is this real? Die Kultur des Hip Hop, 6e ed. 2019 (with M. Friedrich)

  • Pina Bausch's Dance Theater. Company, Artistic Practices and Reception, Bielefeld: transcript 2020


  • Swan Lake can be seen at Dutch National Opera & Ballet from 22 March to 18 April - SOLD OUT