Dates

16-30 Sep 2023

Location

Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Running time

2:25, incl. 2 intervals

Tickets

n.a.

Four Temperaments dancers

Two masterpieces and two world premieres

Dutch National Ballet is opening the season with Four Temperaments, in which four choreographers from different generations voice their own unique style in dance. What unites them is that all four enter into express dialogue with the music they use. Besides world premieres by Ted Brandsen and Juanjo Arqués, the programme also shows key works from the oeuvres of George Balanchine and Hans van Manen, in which the two master choreographers ingeniously reveal musical details and nuances.

Photo: Marta Syrko

Two masterpieces and two world premieres

In 1940, George Balanchine (1904-1983) commissioned composer Paul Hindemith to write a piece of music that he could play at home on the piano. So when the American-Russian choreographer made a ballet to it in 1946, he knew the composition – The Four Temperaments – like the back of his hand. Not only did he succeed in creating a work that is still exciting and surprising 75 years later, but the tricky, swinging choreography also adds a magical dimension to Hindemith’s music.

 

Musical miracle

Hans van Manen’s Frank Bridge Variations is also a miracle of musicality. So much so, in fact, that according to one critic it is the only possible response in dancing to Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. Inspired by the music, the ballet is characterised by contrasts. A constant factor, however, is the refined simplicity that typifies Van Manen’s style. Often through the simplest of steps, he succeeds in generating maximum expression.

 

Fabulous and compelling

For Four Temperaments, artistic director Ted Brandsen is creating a new ballet for a big ensemble, set to John Adams’ fabulous and compelling The Chairman Dances. Brandsen already choreographed to the composition more than twenty years ago, but the music – and ‘especially its enormous momentum’ – appealed to him so much that he was inspired to create a new work to it. The result is a vibrant ballet about the joy, strength and zest for life that dance can bring us, with the verve of the music reflected in the choreography and the costume and lighting designs.

 

‘In your face’

In Juanjo Arqués’ new piece Full Frontal, set to Michael Gordon’s Weather One, the internationally successful young choreographer is inspired by the effects of stress on our daily lives. What impact does stress have on us and our society? And how do we cope with that? To the agitated, strident sounds of Michael Gordon’s Weather One, Arqués has choreographed an explosive twenty minutes of whirling group sections, solos and duets. His Full Frontal is a piece about real people and actual events and feelings, and – just like certain stressful situations – it hits you right in your face.  

Credits

The Four Temperaments
Choreography  
George Balanchine
Music  Paul Hindemith – The Four Temperaments: Theme with Four Variations for String Orchestra and Piano (1940)*
Lighting design  Jan Hofstra, Howard Eldridge

The Chairman Dances (world premiere)
Choreography  Ted Brandsen
Music  John Adams – The Chairman Dances (1985)
Costume design  François-Noël Cherpin
Lighting design  Wijnand van der Horst

Frank Bridge Variations
Choreography  
Hans van Manen
Music  Benjamin Britten – Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, opus 10 (1937): Introduction and ThemeAdagioMarchBourrée ClassiqueWiener WalzerMoto PerpetuoFuneral MarchChantFugue and Finale
Set and costume design  Keso Dekker
Lighting design  Bert Dalhuysen

Full Frontal (world premiere)
Choreography  Juanjo Arqués
Music  Michael Gordon – Weather One (1997)
Set and costume design  Tatyana van Walsum
Lighting design  Yaron Abulafia
Sound design  Ian Dearden
Dramaturgy  Fabienne Vegt

Musical accompaniment  Dutch Ballet Orchestra conducted by Matthew Rowe

Online programme

Along with the printed programme book, we also offer online programme information for this performance. The online programme will take you behind the scenes with in-depth stories, articles, and interviews with the creators and cast.

BALLETS THAT ADD MAGIC TO THE MUSIC

Trailer Four Temperaments
Four Temperaments behind the scenes
Hans van Manen

Hans van Manen about George Balanchine

‘Without ears, you don’t see anything’

Winner announcement Alexandra Radius Prize

The winner of the Alexandra Radius Prize 2023 will be announced during the premiere of Four Temperaments. Alexandra Radius herself will present the prize – a cash prize of four thousand euros and an artwork by Humphrey Bennet – to him or her. The prize will be awarded for the thirty-fourth time this year.

Four Temperaments Balanchine
Four Temperaments - Balanchine - The Four Temperaments - HNB (2023) | Photo: Marc Haegeman
Four Temperaments Balanchine
an equally high jump into the air by the group dressed in white
Four Temperaments - Ted Brandsen - The Chairman Dances - HNB (2023) | Photo: Marc Haegeman
The Chairman Dances - dancers in graceful long white dresses
6 dancers with hands in the air
Four Temperaments - Hans van Manen - Frank Bridge Variations - HNB (2023) | Photo: Marc Haegeman
3 male/female duos
Full Frontal - Dancers jumping in the air
Four Temperaments - Juanjo Arqués - Full Frontal - HNB (2023) | Photo: Marc Haegeman
Full Frontal - crosses in the background
in the media
Reviews

In Four Temperaments, Dutch National Ballet sets the standards for the new season quite high (...) HNB's artistic director (Ted Brandsen - ed.) shows himself to be a craftsman in The Chairman Dances.

18 September

Meanwhile, the central figure, beautifully danced by Young Gyu Choi, regularly grabs his head to illustrate his mental state. [about Full Frontal - ed.]

18 September

With The Four Temperaments as a timeless aesthetic beginning and this head-on confrontation with man in modern times (Full Frontal -ed.) at the end, this evening is a four-part celebration of great expression and, above all, captivating dance development.

20 September

Powerful quartet with two world premieres (...) Surprising is Ted Brandsen's world premiere.

20 September

Phenomenal musicality, a masterly command of the space and a compelling choreographic development (The Four Temperaments)

19 March

Frank Bridge Variations is typically one of those pieces you'll never get tired of, no matter how many times you see it.

22 June

That subtle play with coquettish seduction can also be seen in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments (1946), which additionally has a spread ending just above a partner's knees or hips swinging frivolously loose from the lineal harness of classical ballet technique.

14 November

Fascinating from start to finish (Frank Bridge Variations).

22 June
Rehearsal The Chairman Dances
Rehearsal The Chairman Dances - Ted Brandsen - Four Temperaments - Dutch National Ballet (23/24) | Photo: Altin Kaftira
Ted Brandsen during rehearsal The Chairman Dances
Ted Brandsen during rehearsal The Chairman Dances - Four Temperaments - Dutch National Ballet (23/24) | Photo: Altin Kaftira
rehearsal  The Chairman Dances
Rehearsal The Chairman Dances - Ted Brandsen - Four Temperaments - Dutch National Ballet (23/24) | Photo: Altin Kaftira
Rehearsal  The Chairman Dances
Rehearsal The Chairman Dances - Ted Brandsen - Four Temperaments - Dutch National Ballet (23/24) | Photo: Altin Kaftira
Frank Bridge
Rehearsal Frank Bridge - Hans van Manen - Four Temperaments - Dutch National Ballet (23/24) | Photo: Altin Kaftira
Frank Bridge
Rehearsal Frank Bridge - Hans van Manen - Four Temperaments
Frank Bridge
Rehearsal Frank Bridge - Hans van Manen - Four Temperaments
Ballet orchestra

Dutch Ballet Orchestra

Dutch Ballet Orchestra’s mission is ‘to inspire movement in dance’. Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been the proud musical partner of Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. In every performance, the orchestra searches for inspiring synergy between music and dance, in order to give the audience a magical experience.

Dutch Ballet Orchestra

Led by principal conductor Matthew Rowe, Dutch Ballet Orchestra is the leading orchestra for dance in the Netherlands. The orchestra accompanies performances ranging from traditional ballet to modern dance, alongside its activities in music education and talent development.

Besides performances with Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, Dutch Ballet Orchestra has a long tradition of innovative – and award-winning – family performances. For instance, Creatures (in collaboration with ISH Dance Collective) received the international Young Audiences Music Award, and the production Hansel and Gretel (in collaboration with Orkater) won various Musical Awards. In these productions, the musicians play from memory, without a conductor and in costumes, so that they form an integral part of the performance.

And finally, Dutch Ballet Orchestra has a long-term partnership with the Dutch National Ballet Academy. They are therefore involved in the music curriculum for pupils and students, facilitate student visits to orchestra rehearsals and provide music for the academy’s end-of-year performance, where possible.

hetballetorkest.nl/en

Frank bridge variations
Frank Bridge Variations - Hans van Manen (2022) | Photo: Sasha Gouliaev
Balanchine - The Four Temperaments
Balanchine - The Four Temperaments - tour HNB (22/23) | Photo: Michel Schnater
Frank Bridge Variations
Frank Bridge Variations - Hans van Manen (2022) | Photo: Sasha Gouliaev
Frank bridge variations
Frank Bridge Variations - Hans van Manen (2022) | Photo: Sasha Gouliaev
Balanchine - The Four Temperaments
Balanchine - The Four Temperaments - tour HNB (22/23) | Photo: Michel Schnater