13-22 November 2024


Tour, the Netherlands

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The Fairy’s Kiss and Four Schumann Pieces

In November 2024, Dutch National Ballet is touring the Netherlands with two highly acclaimed contemporary dance classics: Hans van Manen’s romantic Four Schumann Pieces and Alexei Ratmansky’s poetic The Fairy’s Kiss. At opposite ends of the dance spectrum, the ‘Dutch Master’ opts for an abstract approach, while the Russian-American choreographer Ratmansky takes inspiration from a well-known fairy tale.

The Fairy’s Kiss and Four Schumann Pieces

Since its premiere in 1975, Four Schumann Pieces has grown to become one of Hans van Manen’s most popular and most frequently performed works. It was originally created for The Royal Ballet, in London, with former ballet star Anthony Dowell in the challenging main role, as Van Manen wanted to choreograph a work that for once revolved not around ‘that eternal ballerina’, but around the ‘ballerino’ instead. Surrounded by five dance couples, we see this male soloist go through various emotional stages, in the clear dance idiom so typical of Van Manen, after which he eventually remains behind alone. This lends romantic and melancholy overtones to the abstract choreography after all.

Distinctive and poignant

The European premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Fairy’s Kiss (2017) is taking place in June 2024, performed by Dutch National Ballet. The ballet is based on Igor Stravinsky’s masterly Le baiser de la fée from 1928, which in turn was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Ice Maiden. It is about a boy who is rescued during a snowstorm by a fairy’s kiss. He grows up into a handsome young man, but on the eve of his wedding the fairy returns to claim him, sealing his fate with an icy kiss. Ratmansky – who is currently artist in residence with New York City Ballet – adds a distinctive extra storyline to the fairy tale. His poignant The Fairy’s Kiss – with wonderful sets and costumes by Jérôme Kaplan – is also about a choreographer who cannot escape his fate.


Four Schumann Pieces 
Choreography  Hans van Manen 
Music  Robert Schumann 
Costumes  Oliver Haller inspired by Jean Paul Vroom

The Fairy’s Kiss 
Choreography  Alexei Ratmansky 
Music  Igor Stravinsky 
Sets and costumes  Jérôme Kaplan 

Musical accompaniment  Dutch Ballet Orchestra conducted by Alexei Baklan  

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Dutch Ballet Orchestra

Dutch Ballet Orchestra

Dutch Ballet Orchestra is the leading orchestra for dance in the Netherlands. In every performance, the orchestra searches for inspiring synergy between music and dance, in order to give the audience a magical experience. From classical ballet to modern masterpieces, and from music education to talent development, Dutch Ballet Orchestra inspires the movement in dance.

Dutch Ballet Orchestra

From 1 August 2024, the Flemish conductor Koen Kessels (1961) will be the new music director of Dutch National Ballet, and artistic director and principal conductor of Dutch Ballet Orchestra. He is taking over the baton from Matthew Rowe, who has fulfilled this special dual position since 2013 and who will be returning as principal guest conductor.

Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been the proud musical partner of Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. One important mission of Dutch Ballet Orchestra is investing in the youngest generation of dancers and musicians.

In 2023, for instance, the orchestra issued an open call for young composers, in collaboration with Dutch National Ballet, resulting in a new work that was presented in the Junior Company’s touring programme, Ten. The orchestra has also been working for some years already with the Dutch National Ballet Academy. For example, the orchestra members provide the music for the end-of-year performances Dancers of Tomorrow.

Dutch Ballet Orchestra has also collaborated regularly on innovative – and award-winning – family and school productions. Creatures, in partnership with ISH Dance Collective, won the international Young Audiences Music Award and the production Hansel and Gretel, received various Musical Awards. Last season, this tradition was continued in the production Beauty and the Beast.