Naar homepage

The history of Dutch National Ballet

Dive into the rich history of Dutch National Ballet. This timeline provides an overview of the highlights of the company's repertoire and developments since its establishment in 1961. Get entranced by archive footage and stories from over 60 years of Dutch National Ballet.

Season 61 / 62 group

The 60s

  • 112 New productions
  • circa 50 World premieres

61 / 62

The company in 61 / 62
Photo: Bert Sprenkeling
31 August 1961

Foundation

Dutch National Ballet is founded on 31 August 1961 through a merger of the Nederlands Ballet (led by Sonia Gaskell) and the Amsterdams Ballet (led by Mascha ter Weeme), employing 89 dancers at its inception. Gaskell takes on the position of artistic director and Ter Weeme is responsible for the company’s participation in the productions by De Nederlandse Operastichting.

Irène de Vos
Irène de Vos | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Thirty-six premieres in the first season

In its first season, the company adds no fewer than 36 works to its repertoire. Most of them are taken over from the Nederlands Ballet, the forerunner of Dutch National Ballet, led by Gaskell.

Billy Wilson, Reuven Vorembergh, Marianne Hilarides Billy Wilson, Reuven Vorembergh, Marianne Hilarides Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Billy Wilson, Reuven Vorembergh and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Irène de Vos | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen
Billy Wilson, Reuven Vorembergh, Marianne Hilarides

Thirty-six premieres in the first season

In its first season, the company adds no fewer than 36 works to its repertoire. Most of them are taken over from the Nederlands Ballet, the forerunner of Dutch National Ballet, led by Gaskell. World premieres are given of works by resident choreographers Rudi van Dantzig and Robert Kaesen, the Englishman Jack Carter and the Americans Pearl Lang (leading soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company) and Herbert Ross.

Sonia Gaskell
Sonia Gaskell | Photo: Maria Austria

Resident choreographers

Rudi van Dantzig and Robert Kaesen are both appointed resident choreographers.

Dutch National Ballet 61 / 62
Photographer unknown

Three-cornerstone policy

Gaskell immediately unfolds her ‘three-cornerstone vision’, which actually still forms the basis for Dutch National Ballet’s artistic policy today. In the first season already, the company presents a combination of excerpts from the big classical ballets, highlights of the 20th-century ballet repertoire and new creations.

Photo: n.a.
Dutch National Ballet 61 / 62

Three-cornerstone vision

Gaskell immediately unfolds her ‘three-cornerstone vision’, which actually still forms the basis for Dutch National Ballet’s artistic policy today. In the first season already, the company presents a combination of excerpts from the big classical ballets, highlights of the 20th-century ballet repertoire and new creations.

Graduation Ball - Christine Anthony, Inge Dissen and Hans Knill | Photo: n.a.
Graduation Ball - Christine Anthony, Inge Dissen and Hans Knill | Photographer unknown
16 September 1961

First performance

The first performance takes place on 16 September in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam (nu ITA), where the company is housed from then on.

Graduation Ball  - Christine Anthony, Inge Dissen and Hans Knill (one of the first performances) | Photo: n.a. Graduation Ball  - Christine Anthony, Inge Dissen and Hans Knill (one of the first performances) | Photo: n.a. Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Graduation Ball  - Christine Anthony, Inge Dissen and Hans Knill (one of the first performances) | Photo: n.a.

Graduation Ball  - Christine Anthony, Inge Dissen and Hans Knill (one of the first performances) | Photo: n.a.
Graduation Ball | Photo: Meindert Visser
16 September 1961

First performance

The first performance takes place on 16 September in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam (nu ITA), where the company is housed from then on.

Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

An eye for major talent from abroad

No fewer than five works by George Balanchine are danced in the first season (Dutch National Ballet will soon emerge as the leading custodian of the repertoire of the repertoire of the Russian-American master) and one work by Maurice Béjart.

Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Jungle - Connie Burgemeestre, Maria Koppers and Billy Wilson | Photo: Joop Gans Jr. Jungle - Connie Burgemeestre, Maria Koppers and Billy Wilson | Photo: Joop Gans Jr. Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Jungle - Connie Burgemeestre, Maria Koppers and Billy Wilson | Photo: Joop Gans Jr.

The Four temperaments - Inge van Dijken, Reuven Vorembergh and Betty Stuwart | Photo: n.a. The Four temperaments - Inge van Dijken, Reuven Vorembergh and Betty Stuwart | Photo: n.a. Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The four temperaments - Inge van Dijken, Reuven Vorembergh and Betty Stuwart | Photographer unknown

Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Jungle - Connie Burgemeestre, Maria Koppers and Billy Wilson | Photo: Joop Gans Jr.
The Four temperaments - Inge van Dijken, Reuven Vorembergh and Betty Stuwart | Photo: n.a.

An eye for major talent from abroad

No fewer than five works by George Balanchine are danced in the first season (Dutch National Ballet will soon emerge as the leading custodian of the repertoire of the repertoire of the Russian-American master) and one work by Maurice Béjart. Gaskell had an eye for major talent from abroad, and she acquired works by these choreographers long before they reached their international star status.

Photographer unknown

First tour

Shortly after its foundation, the company travels to Madrid (see photo) for its first tour. In the first season, the company gives a total of 30 performances in Spain and Spanish Morocco, in addition to performances in Germany and France. 

First tour | Photographer unknown
Jazz Nocturne - Billy Wilson and Sonja van Beers | Photo: D.G. Lanting
Jazz Nocturne - Billy Wilson and Sonja van Beers | Photo: D.G. Lanting

Black principal dancers

From the start, Dutch National Ballet has two black principal dancers, Sylvester Campbell and Billy Wilson; a unique situation at the time. Other black principals soon follow, including Benjamin Feliksdal (a member of the company from the start) and Raven Wilkinson.

62 / 63

Mascha ter Weeme | Photo: Godfried de Groot
Mascha ter Weeme | Photo: Godfried de Groot

Mascha ter Weeme leaves

Following a long period of sick leave, Mascha ter Weeme is laid off and leaves the company. From then on, Sonia Gaskell becomes sole artistic director.

La Sylphide - Jean Atkinson, Irene Vos, Sonja van Beers and Gaby Abbing | Photo: Maria Austria

First full-length production

The first full-length production is taken into the repertoire: La Sylphide, based on the original by August Bournonville from 1836, in a version by the Danish Bournonville specialist Harold Lander. 

La Sylphide - Jean Atkinson, Irene Vos, Sonja van Beers and Gaby Abbing | Photo: Maria Austria
Rehearsal Pavlova memorial - Orlovskaja, Simon André and Olga de Haas | Photo: Hans van den Busken
Rehearsal Pavlova memorial - Orlovskaja, Simon André and Olga de Haas | Photo: Hans van den Busken

Soviet Russian ballet style

Gaskell (of Russian origin herself) brings the Russian ballet mistress Natalia Orlovskaya to the Netherlands, believing it is important to train dancers in the Soviet Russian ballet style.

Petrushka  - Panchita de Péri and Ronald Snijders | Photo: Archives of the Salzburg Festival / Photograph Hildegard Steinmetz
Petrushka - Panchita de Péri and Ronald Snijders | Photo: Archives of the Salzburg Festival / Photograph Hildegard Steinmetz

Petrushka

Another important addition to the repertoire (taken over from the Nederlands Ballet) is Petrushka, created by Michel Fokine in 1911 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. It is one of the first successful examples of a narrative ballet in just one act.

Petrushka  - Panchita de Péri and Ronald Snijders | Photo: Archives of the Salzburg Festival / Photograph Hildegard Steinmetz Petrushka  - Panchita de Péri and Ronald Snijders | Photo: Archives of the Salzburg Festival / Photograph Hildegard Steinmetz Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Petrushka - Panchita de Péri and Ronald Snijders | Photo: Archives of the Salzburg Festival / Photograph Hildegard Steinmetz

Rehearsal Petrushka  - Mariette Mriyen​​​​​​​, Benjamin Feliksdal​​​​​​​, Maria Austria​​​​​​​, Olga de Haas​​​​​​​, Sonia Gaskell​​​​​​​, Toer van Schayk​​​​​​​, Rudi van Dantzig en Leonide Massine | Photo: Hans van Busken​​​​​​​ Rehearsal Petrushka  - Mariette Mriyen​​​​​​​, Benjamin Feliksdal​​​​​​​, Maria Austria​​​​​​​, Olga de Haas​​​​​​​, Sonia Gaskell​​​​​​​, Toer van Schayk​​​​​​​, Rudi van Dantzig en Leonide Massine | Photo: Hans van Busken​​​​​​​ Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Rehearsal Petrushka  - Mariette Mriyen, Benjamin Feliksdal​​​​​​​, Maria Austria​​​​​​​, Olga de Haas​​​​​​​, Sonia Gaskell​​​​​​​, Toer van Schayk​​​​​​​, Rudi van Dantzig en Leonide Massine | Photo: Hans van Busken​​​​​​​

Petrushka  - Panchita de Péri and Ronald Snijders | Photo: Archives of the Salzburg Festival / Photograph Hildegard Steinmetz
Rehearsal Petrushka  - Mariette Mriyen​​​​​​​, Benjamin Feliksdal​​​​​​​, Maria Austria​​​​​​​, Olga de Haas​​​​​​​, Sonia Gaskell​​​​​​​, Toer van Schayk​​​​​​​, Rudi van Dantzig en Leonide Massine | Photo: Hans van Busken​​​​​​​

Petrushka

Another important addition to the repertoire (taken over from the Nederlands Ballet) is Petrushka, created by Michel Fokine in 1911 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. It is one of the first successful examples of a narrative ballet in just one act. The famous dancer and choreographer Léonide Massine, who often danced the title role in Fokine’s masterpiece, teaches the ballet to Dutch National Ballet.

63 / 64

Les Mirages - Peter Appel and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Maria Austria, Henk Jonker
Les Mirages - Peter Appel and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Maria Austria, Henk Jonker

Marianne Hilarides

Principal dancer Marianne Hilarides has to leave the company, following a conflict with Gaskell. Hilarides is regarded as one of the most talented dancers of her generation and referred to as the first prima ballerina of Dutch origin. 

Les Mirages - Peter Appel and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Maria Austria, Henk Jonker Les Mirages - Peter Appel and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Maria Austria, Henk Jonker Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Les Mirages - Peter Appel and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Maria Austria, Henk Jonker

Les Mirages - Peter Appel and Marianne Hilarides | Photo: Maria Austria, Henk Jonker

Marianne Hilarides

Principal dancer Marianne Hilarides has to leave the company, following a conflict with Gaskell. Hilarides is regarded as one of the most talented dancers of her generation and referred to as the first prima ballerina of Dutch origin. Her amazing technique forms the basis for legendary interpretations that inspire fellow dancers and raise dance to a higher level in the Netherlands. Following Gaskell’s departure in 1967, Hilarides returns to the company for one season. 

Rudi van Dantzig | Photographer unknown
Rudi van Dantzig | Photographer unknown

Nachteiland

One of the new works in the repertoire is Nachteiland (taken over from the Nederlands Ballet). Rudi van Dantzig makes his debut as a choreographer with this ballet in 1955. 

64 / 65

La Bayadère premiere - Olga de Haas | Photo: John de Rooij
La Bayadère premiere - Olga de Haas | Photo: John de Rooij

Olga de Haas

Olga de Haas (1944-1978) is promoted to principal dancer at the age of 19. The promising star and audience favourite goes on to become a legendary Dutch ballerina.

La Bayadère premiere - Olga de Haas | Photo: John de Rooij La Bayadère premiere - Olga de Haas | Photo: John de Rooij Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

La Bayadère premiere - Olga de Haas | Photo: John de Rooij

Olga de Haas | Photo: Atelier voor Beeldende Kunst Olga de Haas | Photo: Atelier voor Beeldende Kunst Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Olga de Haas | Photo: Atelier voor Beeldende Kunst

La Bayadère premiere - Olga de Haas | Photo: John de Rooij
Olga de Haas | Photo: Atelier voor Beeldende Kunst

Olga de Haas

Olga de Haas (1944-1978) is promoted to principal dancer at the age of 19. The promising star and audience favourite goes on to become a legendary Dutch ballerina.

Swan Lake - Willy de Boer, n.a., Yvonne Vendrig and Helene Pex | Photo: n.a.

First Swan Lake

In March 1965, Dutch National Ballet’s first complete production of Swan Lake is premiered, in a version by the Russian choreographer Igor Belski.

Swan Lake - Willy de Boer, n.a., Yvonne Vendrig and Helene Pex | Photo: n.a.
Swan Lake - Willy de Boer, n.a., Yvonne Vendrig and Helene Pex |Photographer unknown Swan Lake - Willy de Boer, n.a., Yvonne Vendrig and Helene Pex |Photographer unknown Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Swan Lake - Willy de Boer, n.a., Yvonne Vendrig and Helene Pex | Photographer unknown

Swan Lake - Willy de Boer, n.a., Yvonne Vendrig and Helene Pex |Photographer unknown
Swan Lake | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

First Swan Lake

In March 1965, Dutch National Ballet’s first complete production of Swan Lake is premiered, in a version by the Russian choreographer Igor Belski. The role of Odette/Odile is danced alternately by Olga de Haas and Maria Koppers. Sylvester Campbell and Simon André take turns to dance the role of Prince Siegfried.

Severance scheme

Dutch National Ballet is the first Dutch company (and until 1986 the only one) to set up a severance scheme to provide financial assistance to dancers at the end of their dancing career.

De groene tafel | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
De groene tafel | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

The Green Table

Another important acquisition is The Green Table, the gripping ‘anti-war ballet’ by Kurt Jooss (one of the figureheads of German Ausdruckstanz). 

The Green Table | Photo: Siegfried Regeling The Green Table | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Green Table | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

The Green Table- Olga de Haas and Jessica Folkerts | Photo: Siegfried Regeling The Green Table- Olga de Haas and Jessica Folkerts | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Green Table - Olga de Haas and Jessica Folkerts | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

The Green Table - Helene Pex, Simon Andre, Hans Knill and Olga de Haas | Photo: Siegfried Regeling The Green Table - Helene Pex, Simon Andre, Hans Knill and Olga de Haas | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Green Table - Helene Pex, Simon Andre, Hans Knill and Olga de Haas | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

The Green Table | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
The Green Table- Olga de Haas and Jessica Folkerts | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
The Green Table - Helene Pex, Simon Andre, Hans Knill and Olga de Haas | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

The Green Table

Another important acquisition is The Green Table, the gripping ‘anti-war ballet’ by Kurt Jooss (one of the figureheads of German Ausdruckstanz). At its world premiere in Paris, in 1932, the ballet was awarded first prize. 

Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk, n.a. | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk, n.a. | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
19 June 1965

Monument for a Dead Boy

On 19 June 1965, the premiere takes place of Rudi van Dantzig’s Monument for a Dead Boy. The ballet about budding homosexuality – a taboo at the time – gains fame for Van Dantzig. The main role is impressively interpreted by guest artist Toer van Schayk, who joins the company a year later as a soloist. 

Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk en ? | Foto: Siegfried Regeling Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk en ? | Foto: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk, n.a. | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Toer van Schayk | Photo: n.a. Toer van Schayk | Photo: n.a. Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk and n.a. | Photographer unknown

n.a., José Lainez, Christina Anthony, Jean Atkinson, Yvonne Vendrig and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Atelier voor de Beeldende Kunst n.a., José Lainez, Christina Anthony, Jean Atkinson, Yvonne Vendrig and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Atelier voor de Beeldende Kunst Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Monument for a Dead Boy - n.a., José Lainez, Christina Anthony, Jean Atkinson, Yvonne Vendrig and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Atelier voor de Beeldende Kunst

Monument for a Dead Boy - Toer van Schayk en ? | Foto: Siegfried Regeling
Toer van Schayk | Photo: n.a.
n.a., José Lainez, Christina Anthony, Jean Atkinson, Yvonne Vendrig and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Atelier voor de Beeldende Kunst
19 June 1965

Monument for a Dead Boy

On 19 June 1965, the premiere takes place of Rudi van Dantzig’s Monument for a Dead Boy. The ballet about budding homosexuality – a taboo at the time – gains fame for Van Dantzig. The main role is impressively interpreted by guest artist Toer van Schayk, who joins the company a year later as a soloist. Since the foundation of Dutch National Ballet, Van Schayk had already created many costume and set designs for the company, mostly for Rudi van Dantzig’s ballets.

65 / 66

Rudi van Dantzig, Sonia Gaskell en Robert Kaesen | Photo: Hans van den Busken
Rudi van Dantzig, Sonia Gaskell en Robert Kaesen | Photo: Hans van den Busken

Van Dantzig and Kaesen as artistic directors

Rudi van Dantzig and Robert Kaesen are appointed artistic directors of Dutch National Ballet, alongside Sonia Gaskell.

Anatoli Nisnevitsj en Natalia Makarova | Photo: Joop van Bilsen / Anefo; Auteursrechthebbende: Nationaal Archief
Anatoli Nisnevitsj en Natalia Makarova | Photo: Joop van Bilsen / Anefo; Auteursrechthebbende: Nationaal Archief

First Giselle

Dutch National Ballet dances its first Giselle, one of the oldest surviving full-length Romantic ballets (from 1841), which is still danced all over the world today. The production is rehearsed by the Russian teacher Natalia Orlovskaya. 

Arrival of the two Russian principals, Anatoli Nisnevich and Natalia Makarova Arrival of the two Russian principals, Anatoli Nisnevich and Natalia Makarova Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Arrival of the two Russian principals, Anatoli Nisnevich and Natalia Makarova, who will perform with Dutch National Ballet during the Holland Festival | Photo: Joop van Bilsen / Anefo; Copyright holder: Nationaal Archief 

Jessica Folkerts and René Vincent Jessica Folkerts and René Vincent Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Jessica Folkerts and René Vincent | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Sylvester Campbell Sylvester Campbell Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Sylvester Campbell | Photo: Hans van den Busken

Arrival of the two Russian principals, Anatoli Nisnevich and Natalia Makarova
Jessica Folkerts and René Vincent
Sylvester Campbell

First Giselle

Dutch National Ballet dances its first Giselle, one of the oldest surviving full-length Romantic ballets (from 1841), which is still danced all over the world today. The production is rehearsed by the Russian teacher Natalia Orlovskaya. The main roles are danced by guest artists Natalia Makarova (one of the stars of the former Kirov Ballet who was to flee to the West in 1970) and Anatoli Nisnevitch.

Sonia Gaskell
Sonia Gaskell | Photo: Anefo

Gaskell’s twentieth anniversary

Gaskell’s 20th anniversary as artistic director (including the forerunners of Dutch National Ballet) is celebrated with a tribute performance, where she is appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

New Balanchines

Two special early Balanchine ballets are acquired: Apollon Musagète (1928) and The Prodigal Son (1929), both created for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. This brings the number of Balanchine works in Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire to eight (nowadays the total is 33). 

Dutch National Ballet on tour

First tour outside Europe

Dutch National Ballet goes over the borders of Europe for the first time, giving 11 performances in Buenos Aires, six in Bogotá, three in Puebla (Mexico) and six in Lima.

On tour | Photographer unknown

Foundation of Dutch Ballet Orchestra

Dutch Ballet Orchestra is founded. Today, the orchestra still provides the musical accompaniment to performances by Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater.

66 / 67

Hans Vonk | Photo: Jaap Pieper
Hans Vonk | Photo: Jaap Pieper

Conductors

Alongside musical director André Presser (associated with Dutch National Ballet since its foundation), Hans Vonk is appointed assistant conductor, remaining in the position for four years.

Hans Vonk | Photo: Jaap Pieper
Andre Presser

Conductors

Alongside musical director André Presser (associated with Dutch National Ballet since its foundation), Hans Vonk is appointed assistant conductor, remaining in the position for four years.

Simon André en Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen
Romeo en Julia - Simon André en Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Romeo and Juliet

At the insistence of Sonia Gaskell, Rudi van Dantzig produces the first full-length ballet created in the Netherlands: Romeo and Juliet, based on Shakespeare’s famous love tragedy. Although Van Dantzig initially finds the task a difficult one, the ballet is to grow into one of the company’s biggest audience hits of all time. 

Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Romeo and Juliet- Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Yvonne Vendrig and Olga de Haas | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen Yvonne Vendrig and Olga de Haas | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Romeo and Juliet - Yvonne Vendrig and Olga de Haas | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Romeo and Julia - Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen
Yvonne Vendrig and Olga de Haas | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen
Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Ger J. van Leeuwen

Romeo and Juliet

At the insistence of Sonia Gaskell, Rudi van Dantzig produces the first full-length ballet created in the Netherlands: Romeo and Juliet, based on Shakespeare’s famous love tragedy. Although Van Dantzig initially finds the task a difficult one, the ballet is to grow into one of the company’s biggest audience hits of all time. The title roles are danced at the premiere by principal dancer Simon André and the young soloist Yvonne Vendrig. 

Koert Stuyf and Ellen Edinoff
Koert Stuyf and Ellen Edinoff | Photographer unknown

Premiere scandal

At the end of the season, Gaskell’s preference for experiment reaches a high point according to some, and a low point according to others, with the world premiere of Koert Stuyf’s postmodern work Visibility… By Chance. Dozens of audience members walk out, fruit is thrown at the stage and one audience member even runs on stage and tears up his programme.

67 / 68

Advisory position for Gaskell

At her own request, artistic director Sonia Gaskell takes up an advisory position, but leaves following an internal conflict. From then on, the company’s artistic directors are the resident choreographers Rudi van Dantzig and Robert Kaesen.

Photo: Hans van den Busken
The Sleeping Beauty | Photo: Hans van den Busken

The Sleeping Beauty

Dutch National Ballet presents its first production of The Sleeping Beauty, in a very distinctive version by the Polish choreographer Conrad Drzewiecki. Just three well-known fragments of the original choreography by Marius Petipa are retained (rehearsed by Roland Casenave).

Photo: Hans van den Busken Photo: Hans van den Busken Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty | Photo: Hans van den Busken

René Vincent and Maria Bovet | Photo: Hans van den Busken René Vincent and Maria Bovet | Photo: Hans van den Busken Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - René Vincent and Maria Bovet | Photo: Hans van den Busken

Photo: Studio Lemaire Photo: Studio Lemaire Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Photo: Studio Lemaire

Photo: Hans van den Busken
René Vincent and Maria Bovet | Photo: Hans van den Busken
Photo: Studio Lemaire

The Sleeping Beauty

Dutch National Ballet presents its first production of The Sleeping Beauty, in a very distinctive version by the Polish choreographer Conrad Drzewiecki. Just three well-known fragments of the original choreography by Marius Petipa are retained (rehearsed by Roland Casenave).

Simon André en Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Vuurvogel - Simon André en Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Firebird

Other prominent acquisitions in this season are Michel Fokine’s fairy-tale ballet The Firebird, with a starring role for principal dancer Maria Koppers, and Ivesiana and La valse by George Balanchine. 

Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Firebird - Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Maria Bovet | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Maria Bovet | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Firebird- Maria Bovet | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Simon André and Yvonne Vendrig | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Maria Bovet | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Firebird

Other prominent acquisitions in this season are Michel Fokine’s fairy-tale ballet The Firebird, with a starring role for principal dancer Maria Koppers, and Ivesiana and La valse by George Balanchine. 

68 / 69

Ivan Kramar, Rudolf Nureyev en Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Ivan Kramar, Rudolf Nureyev en Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Rudolf Nureyev

The Russian star dancer Rudolf Nureyev makes his first guest appearances with Dutch National Ballet, in the Grand Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker (with the French étoile Noëlla Pontois), in Giselle (with Olga de Haas) and – at his own express request – in Van Dantzig’s Monument for a Dead Boy. Nureyev’s association with Dutch National Ballet, which was to continue into the late seventies, brought international fame to the company. 

Ivan Kramar, Rudolf Nureyev and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Ivan Kramar, Rudolf Nureyev and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Ivan Kramar, Rudolf Nureyev and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Ivan Kramar, Rudolf Nureyev and Benjamin Feliksdal | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Yvonne Vendrig and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Rudolf Nureyev

The Russian star dancer Rudolf Nureyev makes his first guest appearances with Dutch National Ballet, in the Grand Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker (with the French étoile Noëlla Pontois), in Giselle (with Olga de Haas) and – at his own express request – in Van Dantzig’s Monument for a Dead Boy. Nureyev’s association with Dutch National Ballet, which was to continue into the late seventies, brought international fame to the company. 

Julias Ceasar | Photo: Maria Austria

Opera productions

This season, Dutch National Ballet dancers take part in a record number of productions by De Nederlandse Operastichting (now Dutch National Opera): Un ballo in maschera, Carmen, Hänsel und Gretel, Julius Caesar, Das Rheingold, Le rossignol and Der Zigeunerbaron. 

Julias Ceasar | Photo: Maria Austria
Sylvester Campbell and Olga de Haas | Photo: Hans van den Busken
Sylvester Campbell and Olga de Haas | Photo: Hans van den Busken

Honorary titles

Rudi van Dantzig is appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Olga de Haas reaches the finals of the International Ballet Competition in Moscow and receives an honourable mention for her performance. 

Facetten - Wilma Kraaijeveld, Nino van Tijn and Ans Lubinkhof
Facetten - Wilma Kraaijeveld, Nino van Tijn and Ans Lubinkhof | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

'Jongeren in beweging'

Under the title 'Jongeren in beweging' (Youth in Movement), the company gives its first series of performances for a young audience, performed by the young dancers of the company, who thus gain stage experience.

69 / 70

Departure Sonia Gaskell - Olga de Haas, Sonia Gaskell and Maria Bovet | Photo: Pieter Kooistra
Departure Sonia Gaskell - Olga de Haas, Sonia Gaskell and Maria Bovet | Photo: Pieter Kooistra

Gaskell’s departure

Following her previous departure, an official, large-scale farewell event is held for Sonia Gaskell, whereby 'Mevrouw' – as the dancers called her – is presented with the Silver Medal of the City of Amsterdam.

Toer van Schayk | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
The Ropes of Time | Toer van Schayk | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

The Ropes of Time

Rudi van Dantzig creates his first work for Rudolf Nureyev and dancers of the prestigious Royal Ballet in London. Three months after its premiere, the ballet, The Ropes of Time, is also premiered by Dutch National Ballet, as De touwen van de tijd.

Helene Pex, Rudolf Nureyev, Sonja Marchiolli and Olga de Haas | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Apollon musagète - Helene Pex, Rudolf Nureyev, Sonja Marchiolli and Olga de Haas | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Nureyev and Fonteyn and the first tour to London

The British prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn performs for the first time with Dutch National Ballet, as the partner of Rudolf Nureyev in Giselle. And the company appears in London for the first time – with great success – giving seven performances with Nureyev as guest artist.

Helene Pex, Rudolf Nureyev, Sonja Marchiolli and Olga de Haas | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Helene Pex, Rudolf Nureyev, Sonja Marchiolli and Olga de Haas | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Apollon musagète - Helene Pex, Rudolf Nureyev, Sonja Marchiolli and Olga de Haas | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Olga de Haas and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Olga de Haas and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Apollon musagète - Olga de Haas and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Helene Pex, Rudolf Nureyev, Sonja Marchiolli and Olga de Haas | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Olga de Haas and Rudolf Nureyev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Nureyev and Fonteyn and the first tour to London

The British prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn performs for the first time with Dutch National Ballet, as the partner of Rudolf Nureyev in Giselle. And the company appears in London for the first time – with great success – giving seven performances with Nureyev as guest artist. In the Netherlands, Nureyev’s appearance in Apollon musagète  is a big hit, with Olga de Haas, Sonja Marchiolli and Hélène Pex as his muses.

70 / 71

Photo: D.G. Lanting
Benjamin Harkarvy | Photo: D.G. Lanting

Kaesen’s departure

Artistic director Robert Kaesen leaves the company, initially on a temporary basis, to choreograph some shows for Bavarian television, but he does not return. He is replaced for a short while by the American teacher and choreographer Benjamin Harkarvy, who had also previously directed Nederlands Dans Theater.e.

Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Onvoltooid verleden tijd - Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Choreographic debut by Toer van Schayk

Urged by Van Dantzig, principal dancer and set and costume designer Toer van Schayk makes his debut as a choreographer with Onvoltooid verleden tijd. “A remarkably sound and pure work (..) clear in line and form, stripped of all superfluity, without becoming cold or sterile”, wrote dance critic Ine Rietstap in NRC Handelsblad. 

Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Siegfried Regeling Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Onvoltooid verleden tijd - Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photographer unknown Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photographer unknown Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Onvoltooid verleden tijd - Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photographer unknown

Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Sonja Marchiolli and Han Ebbelaar | Photographer unknown

Choreographic debut by Toer van Schayk

Urged by Van Dantzig, principal dancer and set and costume designer Toer van Schayk makes his debut as a choreographer with Onvoltooid verleden tijd. “A remarkably sound and pure work (..) clear in line and form, stripped of all superfluity, without becoming cold or sterile”, wrote dance critic Ine Rietstap in NRC Handelsblad. 

Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Arrival of Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar

At Van Dantzig’s invitation, Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar join the company as principals, after dancing for two years with the renowned American Ballet Theatre. Radius had previously danced with the Nederlands Ballet, switching to Nederlands Dans Theater in 1959, where she got to know Ebbelaar. After their return from the US, they go on to become the most famous dance couple ever in the Netherlands.

Photo: Siegfried Regeling
Epitaaf - Toer van Schayk and Erna Droog | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Epitaaf - Toer van Schayk and Erna Droog | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Paris debut

Dutch National Ballet performs in Paris for the first time, at the international dance festival at Théâtre des Champs Elysées. The first evening, attended mainly by high society, leads to a scandal because of the – in the words of a shocked reporter – practically naked dancers in Van Dantzig’s Epitaaf and the completely naked ‘Apollos’ in his new creation Onderweg.

The 70s

The 70s

  • 89 New Productions
  • 58 World Premieres

71 / 72

Siegfried Regeling
Roland Casenave, Han Ebbelaar en Alexandra Radius | Photo: Siegfried Regeling

Van Dantzig sole artistic director

Following the departure of Benjamin Harkarvy, Rudi van Dantzig agrees to become sole artistic director. He holds this position for 20 years, until 1991. 

Photo: Kors Van Bennekom

Van Dantzig sole artistic director

Following the departure of Benjamin Harkarvy, Rudi van Dantzig agrees to become sole artistic director. He holds this position for 20 years, until 1991. During his first seasons as a director, ballet masters Roland Casenave, Robert Fisher and Ivan Kramar, and later Reuven Voremberg as well, serve as an artistic advice committee.

First Van Manens
Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar in Twilight | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

First Van Manens

In October 1971, at the request of Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar, the company dances its first work by Hans van Manen: the duet Vijf schetsen, created for the couple in 1966. It is followed eight months later by Van Manen’s first creation for the company, Twilight, which gains international success for Radius and Ebbelaar – and many generations of principal dancers after them. Van Manen already has more than 35 ballets to his name, mostly made for Nederlands Dans Theater. Even before the creation of his third ballet, Feestgericht, he had already received the State Prize for Choreography.

The first tour of the Soviet Union

As part of a cultural treaty with the Soviet Union concluded in 1971, Dutch National Ballet gives its first performances in Moscow, Leningrad and Riga. The total of 19 performances draw audiences of 42,500 – an unprecedently high figure at the time. 

Alexandria Radius and Han Ebbelaar
The Sleeping Beauty- Alexandria Radius and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

New Sleeping Beauty

Following the 1968 version of The Sleeping Beauty by Conrad Drzewiecki, the company presents a second production of The Sleeping Beauty, rehearsed by ballet master Roland Casenave, who based it on the version created in 1960 by Bronislava Nijinska and Robert Helpmann for the legendary Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas.

Monique Sand, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti Monique Sand, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Monique Sand, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Alexandria Radius en Han Ebbelaar Alexandria Radius en Han Ebbelaar Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Alexandria Radius and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Monique Sand, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti
Alexandria Radius en Han Ebbelaar

New Sleeping Beauty

Following the 1968 version of The Sleeping Beauty by Conrad Drzewiecki, the company presents a second production of The Sleeping Beauty, rehearsed by ballet master Roland Casenave, who based it on the version created in 1960 by Bronislava Nijinska and Robert Helpmann for the legendary Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. The premiere is danced by Radius and Ebbelaar. "Radius as the extremely virtuoso Aurora, graceful with clear lines and rhythmic precision; Ebbelaar with great power and expression”, writes De Telegraaf.

72 / 73

Bolsjoj-sterren te gast

Guest stars from the Bolshoi

Guest artists Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev, star dancers with the famous Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, dance the main roles in a few performances of Giselle. “The Russians excel at bringing the fairy tale to life”, wrote de Volkskrant.

Guest stars from the Bolshoi Guest stars from the Bolshoi Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Guest stars from the Bolshoi - Photographer unknown

Guest stars from the Bolshoi

Guest stars from the Bolshoi

Guest artists Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev, star dancers with the famous Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, dance the main roles in a few performances of Giselle. “The Russians excel at bringing the fairy tale to life”, wrote de Volkskrant.

Van Dantzig, Van Manen, Van Schayk

Van Dantzig, Van Manen, Van Schayk

With the new works Hier rust een zomerdag and Ramifications (both by Van Dantzig), Daphnis and Chloé (Van Manen) and The Art of Saying Bye-Bye (Van Schayk, originally created for Scottish Theatre Ballet), the 'Three Van's' – an honorary title they would later be given by the foreign press – make a big mark on the repertoire of Dutch National Ballet. 

Van Dantzig, Van Manen, Van Schayk | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Wendy Vincent Smith
Wendy Vincent Smith | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Choreologist

For the first time, the company appoints a choreologist, Wendy Vincent Smith, who writes down the ballets using Benesh notation, a system developed especially for dance.

Ivan Kramar, Christine Anthony, Rudolph Nurejev
Ivan Kramar, Christine Anthony, Rudolph Nurejev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Training course for boys

To address the shortage of talented male dancers in the Netherlands, Dutch National Ballet starts its own training course for boys aged 15 to 19, led by ballet master Ivan Kramar. Unfortunately, the course ends after just one season, due to lack of interest.

73 / 74

Hans van Manen
Hans Van Manen | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Hans van Manen resident choreographer

At the start of this season, Hans van Manen becomes Dutch National Ballet’s second resident choreographer, alongside artistic director Rudi van Dantzig.

Monique Sand, Henny Jurriëns, Alexandra Radius, Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti
Adagio Hammerklavier - Monique Sand, Henny Jurriëns, Alexandra Radius, Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Adagio Hammerklavier

The first work Van Manen creates as a resident choreographer, Adagio Hammerklavier, is an absolute hit. On tour to London, the Beethoven ballet is also a triumph for the three couples performing it: Monique Sand and Henny Jurriëns, Sonja Marchiolli and Francis Sinceretti, and Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar.

Adagio Hammerklavier - Monique Sand, Henny Jurriëns, Alexandra Radius, Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti Adagio Hammerklavier - Monique Sand, Henny Jurriëns, Alexandra Radius, Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Adagio Hammerklavier - Monique Sand, Henny Jurriëns, Alexandra Radius, Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Adagio Hammerklavier - Monique Sand, Henny Jurriëns, Alexandra Radius, Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli, Francis Sinceretti

Adagio Hammerklavier

The first work Van Manen creates as a resident choreographer, Adagio Hammerklavier, is an absolute hit. On tour to London, the Beethoven ballet is also a triumph for the three couples performing it: Monique Sand and Henny Jurriëns, Sonja Marchiolli and Francis Sinceretti, and Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar. In Vrij Nederland, Anton Koolhaas writes, “Go to see Adagio Hammerklavier (..) Hans van Manen is the best choreographer in the world.” The ballet is now regarded as one of the ‘classics of 20th-century dance’.

Sonia Gaskell
Photo: Henk Jonker

Death of Gaskell

On 9 July 1974, Sonia Gaskell dies in Paris, where she has lived since leaving Dutch National Ballet. Originally from Russia, Gaskell was crucially important to the development of ballet in the Netherlands after World War II, both in her role as a ballet teacher (of many dancers who later became famous) and in her role as founder and artistic director of Ballet Recital I, Ballet Recital II, Nederlands Ballet and Dutch National Ballet, successively. 

Swan Lake poster

Second Swan Lake

The company presents its second production of Swan Lake, this time in a version by the Croatian ballet master Zarko Prebil. Unlike the production by Igor Belski (1965), Prebil’s version reinstates the original unhappy ending: Odette and her beloved Prince Siegfried are drowned in the waves of the lake. The sets and costumes are designed by Toer van Schayk, as is also the case for the later version by Rudi van Dantzig (1988). 

74 / 75

Discussion Radio Stad 1978
Discussion Radio Stad 1978: Peter Schat, Anton Gerritsen, Hein van Royen | Photo: Kors van Bennekom

Pressing for a new theatre for opera and ballet

In a memo to its subsidisers, Dutch National Ballet urges the speeding up of the construction of a new theatre for opera and ballet. At the time, there are plans for a ‘music theatre’ on the site of the old RAI building at Ferdinand Bolstraat. It would be another 12 years before the opening of The Amsterdam Music Theatre (now Dutch National Opera & Ballet), at Waterlooplein.

Sándor Némethy, Mária Aradi
La Bayadère - Sándor Némethy, Mária Aradi | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

La Bayadère Act III

Following a previous version from the 1963/1964 season (by Elena Chikvaidze), Dutch National Ballet presents a second version of Act III of Marius Petipa's La Bayadère, this time rehearsed by Marina Shamsheva of the Kirov Ballet (now Mariinsky Ballet). The ballet is a personal triumph for principal dancer Maria Aradi, who dances the role of Nikiya at the premiere in February 1975. “Her interpretation has set an unprecedentedly high standard for the Netherlands”, writes the Volkskrant.

Robert Cooper
Photo: Robert Cooper

Honours

Principal dancers Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar are appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau, on a tour to Canada (see below). Hans van Manen is awarded the Circle of Dutch Theatre Critics Prize. 

Cast Collective Symphony
Cast Collective Symphony: Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Toer van Schayk | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Collective Symphony

On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the city of Amsterdam, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk are commissioned by the municipality to create their first – and only – joint work: Collective Symphony, to Stravinsky's Symphony in C.  The ballet is very successful, and not just for the way it challenges ballet fans to work out who choreographed which sections. Also for the 700th anniversary, Dutch National Ballet dances David Lichine’s Graduation Ball, for six consecutive evenings at the RAI, in Amsterdam, during the MOKUM-700 event.

Tour to Brazil
Photo: Rob van Woerkom

Tour to Brazil and Canada

The company goes on a one-month tour to Brazil (19 performances in Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and Canada (5 performances in Ottawa and Toronto). 

75 / 76

Blown in the gentle wind
Blown in the gentle wind - Rudolf Nurejev, Jan Willem de Roo, Boudewijn Pleines | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Alexandra Radius enjoys international success with Rudolf Nureyev

Principal dancer Alexandra Radius becomes one of the regular partners of the Russian star dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Their performances in the Netherlands and guest appearances abroad, particularly dancing the pas de deux from Le Corsaire and the third act of La Bayadère, receive high acclaim. With Dutch National Ballet, Van Dantzig creates Blown in a Gentle Wind for Nureyev.

La Corsaire La Corsaire Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

La Corsaire - Rudolf Nureyev and Alexandra Radius | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

La Corsaire

Alexandra Radius enjoys international success with Rudolf Nureyev

Principal dancer Alexandra Radius becomes one of the regular partners of the Russian star dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Their performances in the Netherlands and guest appearances abroad, particularly dancing the pas de deux from Le Corsaire and the third act of La Bayadère, receive high acclaim. With Dutch National Ballet, Van Dantzig creates Blown in a Gentle Wind for Nureyev.

Hans van Manen, Anthony Dowell
Hans van Manen, Anthony Dowell | Photo: Anthony Crickmay

Four Schumann Pieces and Metaforen

Hans van Manen creates his first work for a company abroad: Four Schumann Pieces,  made for The Royal Ballet, in London, with star dancer Anthony Dowell in the main role. A few months later, the ballet has its premiere with Dutch National Ballet, with Han Ebbelaar in Dowell’s role. Another important Van Manen acquisition this season is Metaforen, originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater, in 1965. Both works are still regularly performed to great acclaim in the Netherlands and abroad.

76 / 77

Three Van's
Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Three Van's

Toer van Schayk is appointed resident choreographer, alongside Rudi van Dantzig and Hans van Manen. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the three Van’s turn out to be an artistic gold mine. Dutch National Ballet creates an international furore with their daring contemporary creations.

New Giselle

The Englishman Peter Wright, director of Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet), creates a new production of Giselle for Dutch National Ballet. The production, with set and costume designs by Peter Farmer, goes on to become one of the big classical hits in Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire for 20 years. At the premiere in 1977, the title role is danced by Alexandra Radius with “utter poignancy”, according to Het Parool, and the newspaper deems the performance of her partner Han Ebbelaar “of an equally high standard”. 

New York tour

Debut in New York

In November 1976, the company makes its American debut in the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway, New York, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the United States. In the New York Times, the leading American dance critic Clive Barnes wrote, "Most national companies are very safe and play secure. The Dutch do not. They are perfectly prepared to be outrageous and do not care if they outrage (..) The company is a strong one, and its refreshingly irreverent approach to classic ballet is extraordinarily welcome." 

Four Last Songs

Rudi van Dantzig makes a big impression with his new ballet Four Last Songs, set to Richard Strauss’s swan song of the same name. The work is still performed today in the Netherlands and abroad. At the world premiere, the ballet is danced – according to the press ‘with unsurpassable devotion’ – by Monique Sand and Francis Sinceretti, Valerie Valentine and Wade Walthall, Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar, Sonja Marchiolli and Henny Jurriëns, and Clint Farha in the role of the Angel of Death. 

Toer van Schayk, Mária Aradi
Toer van Schayk, Mária Aradi | Photo: Kors van Bennekom

In het Voetspoor van de Dans

Dutch National Ballet gives its first education programme: In het Voetspoor van de Dans (In the Footsteps of Dance), compiled by Toer van Schayk, who also presents the programme. Before the interval, there is an overview of the history of dance, presented in words, with slide and film projections and danced excerpts. After the interval, Van Dantzig’s Nachteiland and Ogenblikken and Van Manen’s Kwintet are danced in their entirety by the younger generation of dancers. 

In het Voetspoor van de Dans

In het Voetspoor van de Dans

Dutch National Ballet gives its first education programme: In het Voetspoor van de Dans (In the Footsteps of Dance), compiled by Toer van Schayk, who also presents the programme. Before the interval, there is an overview of the history of dance, presented in words, with slide and film projections and danced excerpts. After the interval, Van Dantzig’s Nachteiland and Ogenblikken and Van Manen’s Kwintet are danced in their entirety by the younger generation of dancers. 

Balanchine-programme

Dutch National Ballet presents its first complete programme by the Russian-American master choreographer George Balanchine. It includes Donizetti Variations, The Four Temperaments, Symphony in C and the new addition Le Tombeau de Couperin, the 15th Balanchine ballet in Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire. Later in the season, the company also acquires Capriccio (better known as Rubies), with a starring role for soloist Jeanette Vondersaar.

Mária Aradi, Zoltán Péter, Johan Mittertreiner, Hlif Svavarsdottir, John Brown
Jeux - Mária Aradi, Zoltán Péter, Johan Mittertreiner, Hlif Svavarsdottir, John Brown | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Johan Mittertreiner’s anniversary

Character dancer Johan Mittertreiner celebrates his 40th anniversary as a performer – an unprecedented event. At his anniversary performance, he appears in the role created for him by Toer van Schayk in his new ballet Jeux.

77 / 78

Choreographic workshop
Choreographic workshop

Choreographic workshop

Following an earlier incidental initiative, Dutch National Ballet now starts up an annual choreographic workshop, where company dancers get the chance to explore and develop their talents as a choreographer. Eight dancers/choreographers take part in the first edition.

Choreographic workshop
Choreographic workshop

Choreographic workshop

Following an earlier incidental initiative, Dutch National Ballet now starts up an annual choreographic workshop, where company dancers get the chance to explore and develop their talents as a choreographer. Eight dancers/choreographers take part in the first edition.

Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha
5 Tangos - Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

5 Tangos

In the autumn of 1977, Hans van Manen creates the world hit 5 Tangos. The ballet, starring principal dancers Clint Farha and Sonja Marchiolli at the premiere, is still danced by companies all over the world today. Through 5 Tangos, Van Manen also introduces the Netherlands to the music of Astor Piazzolla, king of the tango nuevo. 

Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

5 Tangos - Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

5 Tangos - Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha
Sonja Marchiolli and Clint Farha

5 Tangos

In the autumn of 1977, Hans van Manen creates the world hit 5 Tangos. The ballet, starring principal dancers Clint Farha and Sonja Marchiolli at the premiere, is still danced by companies all over the world today. Through 5 Tangos, Van Manen also introduces the Netherlands to the music of Astor Piazzolla, king of the tango nuevo. 

Adam Gatehouse
Adam Gatehouse | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Adam Gatehouse

After previously working with Dutch National Ballet as a guest conductor, this season Adam Gatehouse is appointed as regular conductor and musical director, a position he will hold until 1988.

Rudolf Nurejev in Faun
Faun - Rudolf Nurejev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Ballets for Nureyev

Following The Ropes of Time and Blown in a Gentle Wind, Rudi van Dantzig creates another ballet for Rudolf Nureyev, About a Dark House. Toer van Schayk also creates a premiere work for the Russian star dancer, Faun. And Nureyev dances the main role in Hans van Manen’s Four Schumann Pieces for the first time.

Rudolf Nurejev in Faun Rudolf Nurejev in Faun Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Faun - Rudolf Nurejev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Rudolf Nurejev in 'Onder een donker huis'| Photo: Jorge Fatauros Rudolf Nurejev in 'Onder een donker huis'| Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Onder een donker huis - Rudolf Nurejev | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Rudolf Nurejev and Henny Jurriëns in 'Four Schumann Pieces' | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Rudolf Nurejev and Henny Jurriëns in 'Four Schumann Pieces' | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Four Schumann Pieces - Rudolf Nurejev and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Rudolf Nurejev in Faun
Rudolf Nurejev in 'Onder een donker huis'| Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Rudolf Nurejev and Henny Jurriëns in 'Four Schumann Pieces' | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Ballets for Nureyev

Following The Ropes of Time and Blown in a Gentle Wind, Rudi van Dantzig creates another ballet for Rudolf Nureyev, About a Dark House. Toer van Schayk also creates a premiere work for the Russian star dancer, Faun. And Nureyev dances the main role in Hans van Manen’s Four Schumann Pieces for the first time.

At the foot of the Acropolis | Photographer unknown
At the foot of the Acropolis | Photographer unknown

Acropolis

Besides touring once again to New York and London (both with Nureyev as a guest artist), the company performs for the first time at the Herodes Atticus Theatre in Athens, the famous open-air theatre at the foot of the Acropolis.

Mária Aradi en Pieter Rowaan
The Dream - Mária Aradi en Pieter Rowaan | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

The Dream

The Dream, by the British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton, who is regarded as one of the most important founders of the traditional English ballet style and technique, is the first of his ballets to be taken into Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire.

78 / 79

Clint Farha and Rudi van Dantzig
Clint Farha and Rudi van Dantzig | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Clint Farha promoted to principal

During a tour of the Federal Republic of Germany, the young American dancer Clint Farha replaces an injured Rudolf Nureyev, partnering Alexandra Radius in the pas de deux from Le Corsaire. Farha’s performance is so spectacular that Rudi van Dantzig promotes him to principal straight after the performance, in his dressing room.

Live
Live - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Live/Life

One of the biggest crowd-pullers of the seventies is the double bill Live/Life. The six performances in the Carré Theatre draw audiences of over 7200, and when the production is revived in the 1979/1980 season, the total rises to 10,180 – divided over ten performances. The large-scale, politically engaged (and therefore linked to current events) Life, created by Rudi van Dantzig and Toer van Schayk, is never performed again. But over 40 years later, the success of Hans van Manen’s iconic video ballet Live is undiminished.

Jeanette Vondersaar in Life | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Jeanette Vondersaar in Life | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Life - Jeanette Vondersaar | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Live - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Live - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Live - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros 

Jeanette Vondersaar in Life | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Live - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Live/Life

One of the biggest crowd-pullers of the seventies is the double bill Live/Life. The six performances in the Carré Theatre draw audiences of over 7200, and when the production is revived in the 1979/1980 season, the total rises to 10,180 – divided over ten performances. The large-scale, politically engaged (and therefore linked to current events) Life, created by Rudi van Dantzig and Toer van Schayk, is never performed again. But over 40 years later, the success of Hans van Manen’s iconic video ballet Live is undiminished. At its world premiere, the ballet was interpreted sublimely by Coleen Davis (just eighteen at the time), principal dancer Henny Jurriëns and cameraman Henk van Dijk (who still regularly performs the role). 

Olga De Haas
Olga De Haas | Photo: Drukkerij De Spaarnestad

Death of Olga de Haas

On 1 September 1978, principal dancer and darling of the Dutch ballet audience, Olga de Haas, dies at the age of just 33. Her tragic death, partly due to anorexia nervosa, still stirs the emotions. Following previous publications about her by Rudi van Dantzig and Anna Aalten, the journalist Femke van Weggen wrote a new biography, in 2016, of De Haas, who gave her final, moving performance in 1975, as Juliet in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet. 

Toer van Schayk
Toer van Schayk | Photographer unknown

Royal honour for Toer van Schayk

Choreographer and designer Toer van Schayk (who ended his dancing career in 1976) is appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

79 / 80

Life
Life | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Rudi van Dantzig’s anniversary

Artistic director Rudi van Dantzig celebrates his 25th anniversary as a choreographer. The anniversary programme presents his debut work, Nachteiland, alongside three of his most famous ballets: Monument for a Dead Boy, Ramifications and Four Last Songs.

Jeanette Vondersaar and Marco Carrabba | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Een verwaarloosde tuin - Jeanette Vondersaar en Marco Carrabba | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

A Garden Unkempt

Toer van Schayk creates his second ballet for a foreign company. Following The Art of Saying Bye-Bye in 1973 (originally created for Scottish Theatre Ballet), he now makes a ballet for the Norwegian National Ballet, En gjengrud have (A garden unkempt), which also premieres with Dutch National Ballet in March 1980 as Een verwaarloosde tuin. NRC Handelsblad calls the ballet “a very important acquisition”. 

Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar in Voorbij gegaan

Anniversary of Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar

Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar also celebrate their 20th anniversary as a dance couple. Many guest artists from abroad perform at two anniversary performances, for which Van Dantzig creates the duet Voorbij gegaan. On the occasion, the couple are also presented with the Silver Medal of the City of Amsterdam. Radius and Ebbelaar use the anniversary gifts from their admirers to set up the foundation Stichting Dansersfonds '79, which is still encouraging, honouring and supporting Dutch dancers today.

Voorbij gegaan - Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Works Council

Dutch National Ballet gets an official Works Council, after having had a ‘Ballet Council’ since 1970 (which also included representatives from the management and the board). 

80 / 81

Peter Martin
Peter Martin | Photographer unknown

Guest artist Peter Martins

Peter Martins, star dancer (and later artistic director) of the famous New York City Ballet, appears as a guest artist on the occasion of the Dutch premiere of his ballet Sonate di Scarlatti. He dances the title role in Balanchine’s Apollon musagète, with Alexandra Radius, Jeanette Vondersaar and Joanne Zimmerman as his three muses.

Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns
The Sleeping Beauty - Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

The Sleeping Beauty

A milestone in Dutch National Ballet’s history is Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty, which premieres on 2 July 1981 at the Stadsschouwburg, in Amsterdam. Costing over 600,000 guilders, it is the most expensive production the company has presented to date.

Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Alexandra Radius and Henny Jurriëns | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

The Sleeping Beauty

A milestone in Dutch National Ballet’s history is Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty, which premieres on 2 July 1981 at the Stadsschouwburg, in Amsterdam. Costing over 600,000 guilders, it is the most expensive production the company has presented to date. The ballet – still regarded as one of the crown jewels of the repertoire – is a real triumph for prima ballerina Alexandra Radius, who dances the role of Princess Aurora at the world premiere, and for Henny Jurriëns in the role of Prince Florimund. The magnificently ornate golden sets and costumes are designed by Philip Prowse. The first completely sold-out series of performances of the ballet draws audiences totalling 11,155. The ballet is also presented on television in December 1981, directed by Hans Hulscher for the NOS.

Tour to Hong Kong and Indonesia

Dutch National Ballet goes on its first Asian tour, performing in Hong Kong and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers
Situation - Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Situation

Of an entirely different order is Dutch National Ballet’s premiere of Hans van Manen’s Situation, originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1970. For this work, the choreographer deliberately opts for irritating sounds – a volley of gunshots, the roar of fighter jets, the whine of mosquitos – “because”, as he said recently, “the whole ballet is about aggression and violence”. 

Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Situation - Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Situation - Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Situation - Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Situation - Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Situation - Coleen Davis and Ab Berbers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Situation

Of an entirely different order is Dutch National Ballet’s premiere of Hans van Manen’s Situation, originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1970. For this work, the choreographer deliberately opts for irritating sounds – a volley of gunshots, the roar of fighter jets, the whine of mosquitos – “because”, as he said recently, “the whole ballet is about aggression and violence”. 

The 80s

The 80s

  • 124 New Productions
  • 95 World Premieres

81 / 82

Building site Stopera
Building site Stopera 1982 | Photo: Kors van Bennekom
5 July 1982

Construction of the Music Theatre starts

On 5 July 1982, the foundation stone is laid for the new City Hall and Music Theatre (now Dutch National Opera & Ballet) at Waterlooplein, Amsterdam, based on a design by the architects Wilhelm Holzbauer (City Hall) and Cees Dam (Music Theatre). The building is still popularly known by its nickname ‘Stopera’; wrongly so, as this name refers to earlier protests against the new building called ‘Stop Opera’. 

I hate you too Johnny - Alexandra Radius
I hate you too Johnny - Alexandra Radius | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Anniversary

On the occasion of Dutch National Ballet’s 20th anniversary, the three resident choreographers each create a new work: Onder mijne voeten (Rudi van Dantzig), I Hate You Too, Johnny (Toer van Schayk) and the still regularly performed 'ballet for two' Sarcasmen (Hans van Manen), which was danced in inimitable style at the premiere by principal dancers Rachel Beaujean and Clint Farha.

Onder mijne voeten  - Ted Brandsen, Charles Flanagan Onder mijne voeten  - Ted Brandsen, Charles Flanagan Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Onder mijne voeten  - Ted Brandsen, Charles Flanagan | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

I hate you too Johnny - Alexandra Radius I hate you too Johnny - Alexandra Radius Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

I hate you too Johnny - Alexandra Radius | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Sarcasmen - Rachel Beaujean, Clint Farha Sarcasmen - Rachel Beaujean, Clint Farha Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Sarcasmen - Rachel Beaujean, Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Onder mijne voeten  - Ted Brandsen, Charles Flanagan
I hate you too Johnny - Alexandra Radius
Sarcasmen - Rachel Beaujean, Clint Farha

Anniversary

On the occasion of Dutch National Ballet’s 20th anniversary, the three resident choreographers each create a new work: Onder mijne voeten (Rudi van Dantzig), I Hate You Too, Johnny (Toer van Schayk) and the still regularly performed 'ballet for two' Sarcasmen (Hans van Manen), which was danced in inimitable style at the premiere by principal dancers Rachel Beaujean and Clint Farha. For the anniversary, a new Balanchine ballet was also taken into the repertoire: Theme and Variations, with a monumental backdrop inspired by the canopy and dome of St Peter’s in Rome, which was largely hand-painted by the Dutch artist Gerti Bierenbroodspot.

2 March 1982

State visit to Bonn

On 2 March 1982, Dutch National Ballet performs (as is often the case) during a state visit by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, this time to Bonn. At the last moment, there are changes to the programme. For instance, Hans van Manen’s Sarcasmen is cancelled, which leads to a minor commotion or myth, as the choreographer initially presumes that one scene in the ballet – where the female dancer puts her hand on the male dancer’s crotch – is deemed ‘unsuitable’ by the Royal Family.

Landscape - Clint Farha
Landscape - Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Landscape

Toer van Schayk also creates his first full-length ballet: Landscape. After Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, this is the second full-length work by a Dutch choreographer. In the kaleidoscopic, often surrealist dance spectacle, Van Schayk holds a mirror up to his audience. In a peaceful Dutch river landscape, he shows images of war, oppression, commercial science, and environmental pollution. 

Tour Israël

The company goes on its first tour of Israel, with performances in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ein Gev.

Grosse Fuge - Leon Koning, Coleen Davis, Clint Farha, Jeanette Vondersaar, Lindsay Fischer, Valerie Valentine, John Wisman and Rachel Beaujean
Grosse Fuge - Leon Koning, Coleen Davis, Clint Farha, Jeanette Vondersaar, Lindsay Fischer, Valerie Valentine, John Wisman and Rachel Beaujean | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Grosse Fuge

Another important addition to the repertoire is Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge, originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1971, when it was immediately proclaimed the “most interesting European ballet of the decade”. Today, Grosse Fuge is still one of the master choreographer’s most often performed works worldwide.

Grosse Fuge - Leon Koning, Coleen Davis, Clint Farha, Jeanette Vondersaar, Lindsay Fischer, Valerie Valentine, John Wisman and Rachel Beaujean Grosse Fuge - Leon Koning, Coleen Davis, Clint Farha, Jeanette Vondersaar, Lindsay Fischer, Valerie Valentine, John Wisman and Rachel Beaujean Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Grosse Fuge - Leon Koning, Coleen Davis, Clint Farha, Jeanette Vondersaar, Lindsay Fischer, Valerie Valentine, John Wisman and Rachel Beaujean | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Grosse Fuge - Jeanette Vondersaar, Coleen Davis, Valerie Valentine, Rachel Beaujean, John Wisman, Leon Koning, Clint Farha, Lindsay Fischer Grosse Fuge - Jeanette Vondersaar, Coleen Davis, Valerie Valentine, Rachel Beaujean, John Wisman, Leon Koning, Clint Farha, Lindsay Fischer Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Grosse Fuge - Jeanette Vondersaar, Coleen Davis, Valerie Valentine, Rachel Beaujean, John Wisman, Leon Koning, Clint Farha, Lindsay Fischer | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Grosse Fuge - Leon Koning, Coleen Davis, Clint Farha, Jeanette Vondersaar, Lindsay Fischer, Valerie Valentine, John Wisman and Rachel Beaujean
Grosse Fuge - Jeanette Vondersaar, Coleen Davis, Valerie Valentine, Rachel Beaujean, John Wisman, Leon Koning, Clint Farha, Lindsay Fischer

Grosse Fuge

Another important addition to the repertoire is Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge, originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1971, when it was immediately proclaimed the “most interesting European ballet of the decade”. Today, Grosse Fuge is still one of the master choreographer’s most often performed works worldwide.

82 / 83

BAM Dance Festival, New York

Dutch National Ballet performs in New York for the third time. At a dance festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), 13 performances are given (to audiences of 15,050) of an all-Dutch programme, with works by resident choreographers Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk.

"By offering a repertory consisting entirely of serious contemporary works, the Dutch have paid tribute to the intelligence of New York dancegoers, and for this they deserve great praise", writes The New York Times. 

Production for small theatres in Bellevue

Production for small theatres in Bellevue

As an exception, Dutch National Ballet produces a programme for small theatres, presented in Theater Bellevue, in Amsterdam. For the programme, artistic director Rudi van Dantzig creates Ik hou gewoon m'n adem in, to music by Boudewijn Tarenskeen and De Gebroeders Flint. 

Ik hou gewoon mijn adem in - Nicola Tranah, Reinbert Martijn, Felix Strategier, Julie Stanzak, Francis Sinceretti | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Production for small theatres in Bellevue Production for small theatres in Bellevue Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Ik hou gewoon mijn adem in - Nicola Tranah, Reinbert Martijn, Felix Strategier, Julie Stanzak, Francis Sinceretti | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Production for small theatres in Bellevue

Production for small theatres in Bellevue

As an exception, Dutch National Ballet produces a programme for small theatres, presented in Theater Bellevue, in Amsterdam. For the programme, artistic director Rudi van Dantzig creates Ik hou gewoon m'n adem in, to music by Boudewijn Tarenskeen and De Gebroeders Flint. Hans van Manen’s choice of music is also remarkable: he sets his In and Out (recently danced by the Junior Company in 2020) to songs by Laurie Anderson and Nina Hagen. Other premieres in this programme are by Toer van Schayk (Confectiepassen) and dancer/choreographer Jan Linkens (Momentum).

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Alexandra Radius
Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Alexandra Radius | Photographer unknown

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Alexandra Radius

Alongside its annual theatre awards, the Dutch Association of Theatres and Concert Halls (VSCD) presents its first dance awards this season. Principal dancer Alexandra Radius receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize for her excellent interpretation of the main role in The Sleeping Beauty

Les Biches
Les Biches - Irina Nijinska, Lindsay Fischer, Jeanette Vondersaar | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Nijinska's Les Biches

This season, Dutch National Ballet adds its first ballet to the repertoire by Bronislava Nijinska, the sister of the legendary dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky. Nijinska created Les Biches in 1924 for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, when she danced the role of the hostess herself. Les Biches is taught to Dutch National Ballet by her daughter, Irina Nijinska.

George Balanchine
George Balanchine | Photo: Tanaquil LeClercq
30 April 1983

George Balanchine dies at the age of 79

George Balanchine, the Russian-American master of 20th-century ballet, dies on 30 April 1983. From the year the company was founded up to the present day, his ingenious ballets have occupied a special place in Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire.

Young Stars of Dance

Young Stars of Dance

A new initiative is the programme Young Stars of Dance, with which Dutch National Ballet tours the Netherlands, giving upcoming young soloists the chance to gain experience in the classical and neo-classical repertoire. 

Young Stars of Dance | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

83 / 84

Four Last Songs - Wade Walthall, Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Four Last Songs - Wade Walthall, Clint Farha | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Clint Farha

Principal dancer Clint Farha receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize from the VSCD, for his performances in Giselle (as Count Albrecht), Hans van Manen’s 5 Tangos and Sarcasmen, Rudi van Dantzig’s Four Last Songs and George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son.  

Hans van Manen in Carré and Londen, with dancers Henny Jurriëns and Caroline Sayo Iura
Hans van Manen in Carré and Londen, with dancers Henny Jurriëns and Caroline Sayo Iura | Photo: Leslie Spatt

Hans van Manen in Carré and London

A big crowd-puller this season is the Hans van Manen programme performed at Theater Carré, comprising In and Out, Adagio Hammerklavier and four of his five Pianovariaties: Sarcasmen, Trois gnossiennes, Pose and Portrait (the latter work is performed by guest dancer Pauline Daniëls, for whom Van Manen had created this solo a few months earlier).

Hans van Manen in Carré and Londen, with dancers Henny Jurriëns and Caroline Sayo Iura Hans van Manen in Carré and Londen, with dancers Henny Jurriëns and Caroline Sayo Iura Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Hans van Manen in London | Photo: Leslie Spatt

Hans van Manen in Carré and Londen, with dancers Henny Jurriëns and Caroline Sayo Iura

Hans van Manen in Carré and London

A big crowd-puller this season is the Hans van Manen programme performed at Theater Carré, comprising In and Out, Adagio Hammerklavier and four of his five Pianovariaties: Sarcasmen, Trois gnossiennes, Pose and Portrait (the latter work is performed by guest dancer Pauline Daniëls, for whom Van Manen had created this solo a few months earlier). In June 1984, Dutch National Ballet gives seven performances of almost the same programme (alternating Adagio Hammerklavier with Situation and excluding In and Out), under the title Hans van Manen Festival, at the Coliseum in London.

Partnership with the Nel Roos Academy
Partnership with the Nel Roos Academy | Photo: Peter van der Stap

Partnership with the Nel Roos Academy

In January 1984, a partnership agreement is signed between Dutch National Ballet and the Nel Roos Academy of Ballet (part of the Amsterdam University of the Arts and one of the forerunners of the Dutch National Ballet Academy). From now on, pupils and students of the academy take part in Dutch National Ballet’s performances, and ballet masters and dancers from the company give classes at the academy. 

Controversial

Controversial

Exceptional new additions to the repertoire this season are Rodin, by the Soviet Russian choreographer Leonid Jakobson, inspired by the sculptures of Auguste Rodin (the press calls the ballet “a historical curiosity”), and the minimalist, repetitive Slow, heavy and blue by the American post-modern choreographer Carolyn Carlson.

"Slow, heavy and blue is like one big trip", writes Het Vrije Volk. 

Slow, heavy and blue - Belle Bonarius, John Wisman, Mikko Nissinen, Jane Matty, Sjoerd van den Berg | Photo: Jorge Fatauros, niet op de foto: Mirjam Braam, Nicola Tranah, Robert Poole, Ted Brandsen
Reuven Voremberg
Gesang der Jünglinge - Reuven Voremberg | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Head of the artistic staff

Ballet master Reuven Voremberg is appointed head of the artistic staff. Voremberg, born in Israel, joined the Nederlands Ballet in 1958 and danced with Dutch National Ballet from 1961 to 1972. He then became assistant ballet master and ballet master respectively. Voremberg remains associated with the company until 2000, for the last two years in the position of artistic advisor.

84 / 85

Rehearsal Piano variations I, 1980 - Hans van Manen

Choreography Prize for Hans van Manen

Hans van Manen is the first recipient of the new Choreography Prize, awarded by the VSCD.

Rehearsal Piano variations I, 1980 - Hans van Manen | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

The first 'block programmes'

Up to now Dutch National Ballet has alternated the repertoire per performance, but this is the first season it presents ‘block programmes’, which comprise a series of performances of the same ballet(s).

Romeo and Juliet - Barry Watt, Jane Lord | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Romeo and Juliet - Barry Watt, Jane Lord | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Romeo and Juliet in Carré

Dutch National Ballet achieves record figures (audiences of 19,915) with a series of performances of Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, specially adapted for performance in the round at Theater Carré. The first night is danced by Alexandra Radius ("a phenomenal interpretation of Juliet") and Henny Jurriëns (“a balanced, mature, serious interpretation”). However, most of the attention this time is directed at the young couple Jane Lord – just recently promoted to soloist – and Barry Watt.

Romeo and Juliet - Barry Watt, Jane Lord | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Romeo and Juliet - Barry Watt, Jane Lord | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Romeo and Juliet - Barry Watt, Jane Lord | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Romeo and Juliet - Barry Watt, Jane Lord | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Romeo and Juliet in Carré

Dutch National Ballet achieves record figures (audiences of 19,915) with a series of performances of Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, specially adapted for performance in the round at Theater Carré. The first night is danced by Alexandra Radius ("a phenomenal interpretation of Juliet") and Henny Jurriëns (“a balanced, mature, serious interpretation”). However, most of the attention this time is directed at the young couple Jane Lord – just recently promoted to soloist – and Barry Watt.

“She seems born to the role of Juliet, thanks to looking like a Botticelli princess and the great expressive power of her dancing”, writes de Volkskrant about Lord. 

Directie Overleg Dansgezelschappen

Dutch National Ballet is one of the founders of ‘Directie Overleg Dansgezelschappen’ (DOD), a consultative body in which another eight Dutch dance companies are represented besides Dutch National Ballet. 

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen
Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Clint Farha, Leo Besseling | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen

Van Dantzig’s new, controversial ballet Want wij weten niet wat wij doen also draws great attention. The ballet includes a ‘Christ figure’, danced by Clint Farha, and a major role for the current artistic director Ted Brandsen as Adam, the first human. It sketches a bleak yet very impressive picture of how we humans deal with the world and one another.

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen Want wij weten niet wat wij doen Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Clint Farha, Leo Besseling | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen

Van Dantzig’s new, controversial ballet Want wij weten niet wat wij doen also draws great attention. The ballet includes a ‘Christ figure’, danced by Clint Farha, and a major role for the current artistic director Ted Brandsen as Adam, the first human. It sketches a bleak yet very impressive picture of how we humans deal with the world and one another. At the end, a dispirited saviour returns to the cross of his own accord. Want wij weten niet wat wij doen is one of the engaged, socially critical ballets that earned Van Dantzig the nickname ‘Preacher of dance’. 

Bulletin - Friends of Dutch National Ballet
Bulletin - Friends of Dutch National Ballet

Friends of Dutch National Ballet

Fans of Dutch National Ballet had already set up their own Friends Association in The Hague, but this season Dutch National Ballet takes the initiative of setting up its own Friends of Dutch National Ballet Foundation. From now on, the foundation publishes its own magazine several times a year and organises numerous activities for new Friends, including meet and greets, open classes and rehearsals, guided tours and trips abroad to visit ballet Meccas.

85 / 86

Last season in the Stadsschouwburg

Dutch National Ballet’s 25th season is its last one in the Stadsschouwburg, in Amsterdam. On 3 April 1986, the company gives its last performance (for the time being) in the theatre, to which everyone who has worked with the company over the past 25 years is invited. 

Bacchanten
Bacchanten | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Bacchanten

With the ambitious Bacchanten, artistic director Rudi van Dantzig underlines his preference for experiment. For this production, he invites stage director Gerardjan Rijnders to come and create a large-scale, oppressive and totally unique adaptation of Euripides' famous satirical tragedy, along with composer Boudewijn Tarenskeen and dramaturge Janine Brogt, assisted by choreographer Ted Brandsen.

Bacchanten

Bacchanten

With the ambitious Bacchanten, artistic director Rudi van Dantzig underlines his preference for experiment. For this production, he invites stage director Gerardjan Rijnders to come and create a large-scale, oppressive and totally unique adaptation of Euripides' famous satirical tragedy, along with composer Boudewijn Tarenskeen and dramaturge Janine Brogt, assisted by choreographer Ted Brandsen. The 14 performances in the round, at Theater Carré, draw audiences of 16,797.

"Bacchanten overwhelms and stupefies you (..) Euripides in a hermetically sealed madhouse”, writes Ariejan Korteweg in the newspaper Leidsch Dagblad. 

Moving to the Music Theatre
Moving to the Music Theatre | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
21 April 1986

Moving to the Music Theatre

On 21 April, the company moves, along with De Nederlandse Opera (now Dutch National Opera) to the Music Theatre (now Dutch National Opera & Ballet) at Waterlooplein. Both companies then have a few months to prepare for the grand opening of the theatre in September 1986. 

Toer van Schayk  - 7e Symfonie
Toer van Schayk - 7e Symfonie | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

7th Symphony

On the occasion of leaving the Stadsschouwburg, Van Dantzig creates the male duet Afzien, for principals Han Ebbelaar and Francis Sinceretti. The latter is ending his dancing career with this performance. For the final Stadsschouwburg programme, Toer van Schayk creates his masterpiece 7th Symphony, which is awarded the VSCD Choreography Prize less than a year later. The ballet still receives standing ovations today. 

Toer van Schayk  - 7e Symfonie Toer van Schayk  - 7e Symfonie Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Toer van Schayk  - 7th Symphony | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Toer van Schayk  - 7e Symfonie

7th Symphony

On the occasion of leaving the Stadsschouwburg, Van Dantzig creates the male duet Afzien, for principals Han Ebbelaar and Francis Sinceretti. The latter is ending his dancing career with this performance. For the final Stadsschouwburg programme, Toer van Schayk creates his masterpiece 7th Symphony, which is awarded the VSCD Choreography Prize less than a year later. The ballet still receives standing ovations today. The VSCD jury praises Van Schayk for the way his creation “not only comes into its own alongside Beethoven’s wonderful music, but also adds an extra dimension, as a true ‘apotheosis of dance’”.

Clint Farha and Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Clint Farha and Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Coleen Davis

In May 1986, principal dancer Coleen Davis receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize at the VSCD congress in Maastricht, which is presented to her by fellow dancer Alexandra Radius. 

Twentieth Balanchine
Tsjaikovski Pas de Deux - Fred Berlips and Caroline Sayo Iura | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Twentieth Balanchine

Dutch National Ballet adds its 20th Balanchine ballet to the repertoire: Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. “A duet like a fresh spring breeze; playful, spirited, brilliant and high-speed (..) excellently danced with great bravura by Caroline Iura and Fred Berlips”, writes NRC Handelsblad. 

86 / 87

Opening of the Music Theatre
23 September 1986

Opening of the Music Theatre

The official opening of the Music Theatre takes place on 23 September 1986, attended by Queen Beatrix, Prince Claus, 13 members of the Cabinet, the full board of the City of Amsterdam and many other invitees. The joint performance by Dutch National Ballet and Dutch National Opera is broadcast live on television by the NOS. In the following weeks, various extra opening performances are given for other groups of invitees. 

Opening of the Music Theatre - Koningin Beatrix, Prins Claus, Caroline Sayo Iura, Jane Lord, Alan Land, Clint Farha, Anton Gerritsen | Photo: Kors van Bennekom
Margus Spekkers, Coleen Davis, Wim Broeckx | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Margus Spekkers, Coleen Davis, Wim Broeckx | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Zoals Orpheus and Opening

For the joint official opening performance, Toer van Schayk creates Zoals Orpheus, which forms a double bill with Otto Ketting’s Ithaka, presented by De Nederlandse Opera. Two days later, Dutch National Ballet presents its own opening programme, comprising a new work by Hans van Manen, Opening, and revivals of 7th Symphony by Van Schayk and Collective Symphony by Van Dantzig, Van Manen and Van Schayk. 

Farewell performance for Han Ebbelaar
Farewell performance for Han Ebbelaar - Alexandra Radius and Han Ebbelaar | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
12 October 1986

Farewell performance for Han Ebbelaar

On 12 October 1986, principal dancer Han Ebbelaar ends his dancing career with Dutch National Ballet. For the occasion, he dances Hans van Manen’s Twilight – partnering his wife Alexandra Radius – and Toer van Schayk’s 7th Symphony. However, he keeps performing with Radius in the couple’s own dance programmes until May 1988. From the 1987/1989 season, Ebbelaar spends two years as associate artistic director of the company.

Cinderella
Cinderella - Jane Lord and Wim Broeckx | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Cinderella

In April 1987, the company takes Frederick Ashton’s full-length Cinderella into the repertoire, set to the composition of the same name by Sergei Prokofiev, with sets and costumes by David Walker. The ballet quickly becomes one of Dutch National Ballet’s big audience favourites. At the premiere, the main roles are danced by soloists Jane Lord and Wim Broeckx, who at the time are actually in love in real life, which lends extra magic to their performance. “A delightful ballet classic”, in the view of Het Parool.

First New Year Gala- with 'living artwork' Fabiola
First New Year Gala- with 'living artwork' Fabiola | Photo: Kors van Bennekom
1 January 1987

First New Year Gala

To close the 25th anniversary celebrations, Dutch National Ballet organises its first New Year Gala on 1 January 1987. The occasion also marks the presentation of the book 25 Years of Dutch National Ballet, compiled by Luuk Utrecht, Caroline Willems and Astrid van Leeuwen.

The photo shows 'living artwork' Fabiola, who is in flamboyant attendance at the first New Year Gala.

Departure of Hans van Manen

After 15 years as resident choreographer with Dutch National Ballet, Hans van Manen leaves the company, dissatisfied with the limited scope offered to him at the time in the programming. Before leaving, he presents one more premiere work: Symphonieën der Nederlanden (see repertoire). From 1988 to 2003, Van Manen is resident choreographer with Nederlands Dans Theater, after which he returns to Dutch National Ballet in the same position in 2005. 

Amsterdam Cultural Capital of Europe
Symphonieën der Nederlanden - Simonetta Lysy, Barbara Leach, Kerrie Szuch, Silvia Petranca | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
18 May 1987

Amsterdam Cultural Capital of Europe

On 18 May 1987, Dutch National Ballet takes part in the opening event of Amsterdam Cultural Capital of Europe 1987. In Theater Carré, Hans van Manen’s iconic video ballet Live is presented, attended by Queen Beatrix, Prince Claus and the Ministers of Culture from various European countries. At the same time, the audience in the Music Theatre can see the ballet on a large video wall through a digital connection. Afterwards, Van Manen’s ballets Corps and Symphonieën der Nederlanden will be danced in the Music Theatre.

87 / 88

Programme book Guest programming
Programme book Guest programming

Guest programming at the Music Theatre

The opening of the Music Theatre also sees the foundation of the Guest Programming department, under the inspirational leadership of director Pieter Hofman, bringing ballet, opera and music theatre productions from all over the world to Amsterdam, between 1987 and 2009. The ball is set rolling by the famous Bolshoi Ballet from Moscow, which gives performances of the full-length ballets Raymonda and The Golden Age.

Programme book Guest programming

Guest programming at the Music Theatre

The opening of the Music Theatre also sees the foundation of the Guest Programming department, under the inspirational leadership of director Pieter Hofman, bringing ballet, opera and music theatre productions from all over the world to Amsterdam, between 1987 and 2009. The ball is set rolling by the famous Bolshoi Ballet from Moscow, which gives performances of the full-length ballets Raymonda and The Golden Age. In the following season, guests include prestigious companies like The Royal Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Hamburg Ballett, Tokyo Ballet, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Ballett Frankfurt and Béjart Ballet Lausanne. 

Swan Lake
Swan Lake - Zoltán Solymosi, Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
31 March 1988

First completely Dutch Swan Lake

The first completely Dutch Swan Lake, with choreography by Rudi van Dantzig and sets and costumes by Toer van Schayk (who also choreographs the Act 3 character dances) premieres on 31 March 1988. Despite initially mixed press reviews, the production soon comes to be regarded as one of the important milestones in Dutch dance history. The headline in De Volkskrant reads, “Van Dantzig’s Swan Lake is the most beautiful to date”.

Swan Lake Swan Lake Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Swan Lake - Zoltán Solymosi, Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Swan Lake Swan Lake Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Swan Lake - Rachel Beaujean, Alexandra Radius, Amanda Beck | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Swan Lake
Swan Lake

First completely Dutch Swan Lake

The first completely Dutch Swan Lake, with choreography by Rudi van Dantzig and sets and costumes by Toer van Schayk (who also choreographs the Act 3 character dances) premieres on 31 March 1988. Despite initially mixed press reviews, the production soon comes to be regarded as one of the important milestones in Dutch dance history. The headline in De Volkskrant reads, “Van Dantzig’s Swan Lake is the most beautiful to date”. At the premiere, the main roles are danced by Alexandra Radius and Alan Land. For the live television broadcast a few days later, the roles are taken by Coleen Davis and Zoltán Solymosi. “Davis’s pure beauty, breathtaking control and incredible lightness lend poignancy to her White Swan”, writes Algemeen Dagblad. 

Hans van Manen
Inaugural address by Hans van Manen
1 November 1987

Inaugural address by Hans van Manen

On 1 November 1987, Hans van Manen gives his inaugural address as endowed professor at the Catholic Univeristy of Nijmegen. For the occasion, Dutch National Ballet performs his ballets Sarcasmen and Twilight.

Shamrock - Belle Bonarius, Andrew Kelley, Sabrino van der Kamp, Bruno Barat, Peter Koppers
Shamrock - Belle Bonarius, Andrew Kelley, Sabrino van der Kamp, Bruno Barat, Peter Koppers | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Shamrock

The American modern choreographer Carolyn Carlson, who works in Paris, creates Shamrock, a full-length work for 34 dancers of Dutch National Ballet, to specially written music by the famous film composer Gabriel Yared. NRC Handelsblad describes the production as having, “a very subtle, clear movement style, an often poetic and almost fragile atmosphere and a marvellous power of expression in surrealist images and situations”. 

Alexandra Radius
30th dance anniversary Alexandra Radius | Photographer unknown

Alexandra Radius appointed Officer

On the occasion of her 30th dance anniversary, principal dancer Alexandra Radius is appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Bread Dances
Bread Dances - Pierre Paradis, Krzysztof Pastor | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Bread Dances

Another striking premiere this season is Bread Dances by Édouard Lock, the figurehead of the newest dance sensation in Canada at the time: the distinctive LaLaLa Human Steps. "A sublime ballet (..) The sharpness, precision and capriciousness of the dancing borders on the incredible”, writes Trouw. 

Rudi van Dantzig and Johan Cruijff

Schijnbewegingen

In a special NOS television documentary, Schijnbewegingen (Feints), director Piet Erkelens draws a comparison between dance and football. In the documentary, the Ajax football team is represented by Johan Cruijff and Marco van Basten, and Dutch National Ballet by Rudi van Dantzig and Clint Farha. During the filming period, Cruijff also visits some rehearsals and performances by Dutch National Ballet, whereby he remarks that “dancers work much harder than footballers”. 

Rudi van Dantzig and Johan Cruijff | Photo: Nederlandse Omroep Stichting

88 / 89

Henny Jurriëns and Judith James
Henny Jurriëns and Judith James | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
4 May 1989

Henny Jurriëns and Judith James

On 9 April 1989, former principal dancer Henny Jurriëns and former soloist Judith James are killed in a car crash in Canada, where they have lived since 1986. Their three-year-old daughter Isa survives the accident. The news devastates the Dutch dance world. On 4 May 1989, Dutch National Ballet holds a commemorative event for the couple, at the Stadsschouwburg, in Amsterdam.

Groosland
Groosland - Kerrie Szuch, Ted Brandsen | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Groosland

An audience favourite right from the start is Maguy Marin’s Groosland, also known as the ‘fatties ballet’, due to the costumes by Casanova, which make the dancers appear naked and grossly overweight. “A delightful, cleverly constructed work with a candid playfulness seldom seen in dance any more”, writes NRC Handelsblad.

Swan Lake - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fataurus
Swan Lake - Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fataurus

Shower of prizes

At the annual VSCD Theatre Gala, former principal dancer Han Ebbelaar receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize. The VSCD Choreography Prize goes to Rudi van Dantzig, in honour of his Swan Lake. At the Dutch National Ballet’s New Year Gala, on 1 January 1989, dancer Coleen Davis receives the first Alexandra Radius Prize from the Friends of Dutch National Ballet Foundation. 

The Sleeping Beauty - Coleen Davis, Zoltán Solymosi
The Sleeping Beauty - Coleen Davis, Zoltán Solymosi | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Sleeping Beauty in the Music Theatre for the first time

In March 1989, Sir Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty has its first performance in the Music Theatre (now Dutch National Opera & Ballet). The choreographer and the designer Philip Prowse adapt their 1981 production for the much larger stage dimensions of the new theatre.

The Sleeping Beauty - Coleen Davis, Zoltán Solymosi The Sleeping Beauty - Coleen Davis, Zoltán Solymosi Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Coleen Davis, Zoltán Solymosi | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

The Sleeping Beauty - Andrew Butling, Alan Land, Esther Protzman, Susan Pond The Sleeping Beauty - Andrew Butling, Alan Land, Esther Protzman, Susan Pond Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Sleeping Beauty - Andrew Butling, Alan Land, Esther Protzman, Susan Pond | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

The Sleeping Beauty - Coleen Davis, Zoltán Solymosi
The Sleeping Beauty - Andrew Butling, Alan Land, Esther Protzman, Susan Pond

Sleeping Beauty in the Music Theatre for the first time

In March 1989, Sir Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty has its first performance in the Music Theatre (now Dutch National Opera & Ballet). The choreographer and the designer Philip Prowse adapt their 1981 production for the much larger stage dimensions of the new theatre. 

Taiwan and Canada

Dutch National Ballet gives its first performances in Taiwan. Five performances of Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle are given in the capital city Taipei. The company also provides the ‘reciprocal entertainment’ during a state visit to Canada by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, performing Van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier and Van Dantzig’s Four Last Songs.

Voor, tijdens en na het feest, Erna Droog | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Dutch National Ballet Academy

In 1988, following a merger between the Nel Roos Academy for Ballet and the Scapino Dance Academy, in 1987, the merged Classical Ballet School is rechristened the Dutch National Ballet Academy, with Erna Droog as its first artistic director. 

Voor, tijdens en na het feest, Erna Droog | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

89 / 90

Departure of Alexandra Radius
Departure of Alexandra Radius - Han Ebbelaar, Fred Berlips | Photo: Joris van Bennekom
20 June1990

Departure of, and royal honour for Alexandra Radius

On 20 June 1990, principal dancer Alexandra Radius leaves Dutch National Ballet, at the age of nearly 48, which is exceptionally high for a ballet dancer. At her farewell performance, she dances Michel Fokine’s famous solo The Dying Swan, the balcony pas de deux from Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet and Hans van Manen’s De maan in de trapeze (from 1959) and Corps.

Departure of Alexandra Radius Departure of Alexandra Radius Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Departure of Alexandra Radius - Han Ebbelaar, Fred Berlips | Photo: Joris van Bennekom

Departure of Alexandra Radius
20 juni 1990

Departure of, and royal honour for Alexandra Radius

On 20 June 1990, principal dancer Alexandra Radius leaves Dutch National Ballet, at the age of nearly 48, which is exceptionally high for a ballet dancer. At her farewell performance, she dances Michel Fokine’s famous solo The Dying Swan, the balcony pas de deux from Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet and Hans van Manen’s De maan in de trapeze (from 1959) and Corps. Two days after the performance, she is received at Huis ten Bosch Palace, where Queen Beatrix presents her with the Honorary Medal for Art and Science of the Order of the House of Orange. Earlier in the season, Radius and her husband Han Ebbelaar had also received the Oeuvre Prize from the VSCD.

Requiem - Toer van Schayk
Requiem - Caroline Sayo Iura, Andrew Kelley | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Requiem

The most important premiere this season is Toer van Schayk’s Requiem, set to Mozart’s music of the same name. The first run of performances is accompanied by the Nederlands Theaterkoor and four vocal soloists, alongside Dutch Ballet Orchestra.

Straight after the premiere, Anton Koolhaas writes in Vrij Nederland that the work is “a major acquisition for Dutch National Ballet”. 

Requiem Requiem Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Requiem - Bruno Barat | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Requiem

Requiem - Toer van Schayk

The most important premiere this season is Toer van Schayk’s Requiem, set to Mozart’s music of the same name. The first run of performances is accompanied by the Nederlands Theaterkoor and four vocal soloists, alongside Dutch Ballet Orchestra.

Straight after the premiere, Anton Koolhaas writes in Vrij Nederland that the work is “a major acquisition for Dutch National Ballet”. 

Farewell Joanne Zimmerman
Farewell Joanne Zimmerman - Joanne Zimmerman, Peter Wright | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Joanne Zimmerman

Principal dancer Joanne Zimmerman also says farewell to the stage after 18 years with the company. In the latter years of her career, she was an unsurpassed Carabosse in Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty, besides her interpretations of major roles in the works of Rudi van Dantzig, Toer van Schayk and George Balanchine. In 1991, Dansersfonds '79 honours her achievements by presenting her with its Merit Award. 

Second tour to Greece
Second tour to Greece

Second tour to Greece

At the end of the season, Dutch National Ballet performs for the second time at the Herodes Atticus open-air theatre, at the foot of the Acropolis, in Athens. Performances include works by Van Dantzig, Van Manen, Van Schayk and Balanchine. 

90 / 91

Rudi van Dantzig and Wayne Eagling
Rudi van Dantzig and Wayne Eagling | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Wayne Eagling appointed advisor

Ahead of his appointment as artistic director, the Canadian dancer Wayne Eagling is appointed artistic advisor. At the time, Eagling is still with The Royal Ballet in London, at the end of his impressive career as a principal dancer. 

Artifact - Rachel Beaujean, Pierre Paradis, Jeanette Vondersaar, Alan Land, Coleen Davis
Artifact - Rachel Beaujean, Pierre Paradis, Jeanette Vondersaar, Alan Land, Coleen Davis | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

William Forsythe's Artifact

On the occasion of the 1991 Holland Festival, Dutch National Ballet presents part 2 of Artifact, the company’s first work by William Forsythe, one of the greatest dance innovators of the 20th century. Two years later, the company adds the complete ballet to its repertoire. Algemeen Dagblad describes the work as “masterly, overwhelming and impalpable”. 

Corps
Corps - Rachel Beaujean, Andrew Kelley | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
11 May 1991

Silver wedding of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus

On 11 May 1991, Dutch National Ballet dances Rudi van Dantzig’s Four Last Songs, Hans van Manen’s Corps and Toer van Schayk’s duet The Chimera of LA on the occasion of the silver wedding of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. The performance is broadcast live on television by the NOS. 

Pyrrhische dansen IV - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat, Valerie Valentine | Foto: Jorge Fatauros
Pyrrhische dansen IV - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat, Valerie Valentine | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Pyrrhische Dansen IV and Les Noces

In the same edition of the Holland Festival, the company also dances the world premiere of Pyrrhische Dansen IV (the fourth part of a series of works by Van Schayk) and the Dutch premiere of Bronislava Nijinska's masterpiece Les Noces.

Les Noces - Rachel Beaujean | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Les Noces - Rachel Beaujean | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Les Noces - Rachel Beaujean | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Pyrrhische dansen IV - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat, Valerie Valentine | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Pyrrhische dansen IV - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat, Valerie Valentine | Photo: Jorge Fatauros Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Pyrrhische dansen IV - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat, Valerie Valentine | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Les Noces - Rachel Beaujean | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
Pyrrhische dansen IV - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat, Valerie Valentine | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Pyrrhische dansen IV and Les Noces

In the same edition of the Holland Festival, the company also dances the world premiere of Pyrrhische Dansen IV (the fourth part of a series of works by Van Schayk) and the Dutch premiere of Bronislava Nijinska's masterpiece Les Noces. Nijinska was one of the first female choreographers, and she created the masterpiece in 1923 for Diaghilev’s legendary Ballets Russes. Dutch National Ballet had previously added Nijinska's Les Biches to its repertoire in 1983.

Alan Land

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Alan Land

This season, principal dancer Alan Land receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize from the VSCD, for his interpretations of the leading male roles in Giselle, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake, among others. 

Alan Land | Photo: Deen van Meer
Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Margus Spekkers, Rob van Woerkom, Rudi van Dantzig, Leo Besseling, Valerie Valentine, Hein Hazenberg
Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Margus Spekkers, Rob van Woerkom, Rudi van Dantzig, Leo Besseling, Valerie Valentine, Hein Hazenberg | Photo: Jorge Fatauros
5 July 1991

Farewell performance for Rudi van Dantzig

On 5 July 1991, Rudi van Dantzig leaves his position as artistic director of Dutch National Ballet. On the occasion, he is appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, and the same title is awarded to managing director Anton Gerritsen, who has been with the company for 25 years. Van Dantzig remains with Dutch National Ballet as resident choreographer until 1994. 

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Margus Spekkers, Rob van Woerkom, Rudi van Dantzig, Leo Besseling, Valerie Valentine, Hein Hazenberg Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Margus Spekkers, Rob van Woerkom, Rudi van Dantzig, Leo Besseling, Valerie Valentine, Hein Hazenberg Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Margus Spekkers, Rob van Woerkom, Rudi van Dantzig, Leo Besseling, Valerie Valentine, Hein Hazenberg | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Want wij weten niet wat wij doen - Margus Spekkers, Rob van Woerkom, Rudi van Dantzig, Leo Besseling, Valerie Valentine, Hein Hazenberg
5 July 1991

Farewell performance for Rudi van Dantzig

On 5 July 1991, Rudi van Dantzig leaves his position as artistic director of Dutch National Ballet. On the occasion, he is appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, and the same title is awarded to managing director Anton Gerritsen, who has been with the company for 25 years. Van Dantzig remains with Dutch National Ballet as resident choreographer until 1994. One month before his official departure, the Friends of Dutch National Ballet pay tribute to Van Dantzig with a special evening in the Stadsschouwburg, with performances by several artists who are important to Van Dantzig. 

Romeo and Juliet in London

Following Van Dantzig’s farewell performance in the Netherlands, Dutch National Ballet gives six performances of his masterpiece Romeo and Juliet at the London Coliseum. The first night is attended by Princess Sarah Windsor-Ferguson, Duchess of York (as she was at the time). The renowned British dance critic John Percival writes in The Times, "Rudi van Dantzig's production of the Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet is probably the most clear and logical I have ever seen in its dramatic detail and development." 

The 90s

The 90s

  • 151 New productions
  • 125 World premieres

91 / 92

Wayne Eagling
Wayne Eagling | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Wayne Eagling starts as artistic director

The Canadian dancer and choreographer Wayne Eagling (1950), former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London, succeeds Rudi van Dantzig as artistic director of Dutch National Ballet at the start of the 1991/1992 season. In the following years, Eagling raises the standard of the company even further, through his emphasis on technical perfection.

Wayne Eagling

Wayne Eagling starts as artistic director

The Canadian dancer and choreographer Wayne Eagling (1950), former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London, succeeds Rudi van Dantzig as artistic director of Dutch National Ballet at the start of the 1991/1992 season. In the following years, Eagling raises the standard of the company even further, through his emphasis on technical perfection. His aim is to make Dutch National Ballet one of the top ten dance companies in the world. He describes it in an interview with Trouw, “It’s like car brands. I’d rather Dutch National Ballet was compared to a Ferrari than a Volkswagen.”

Four sections - Robert Bell, Claire Philippart, Rob Sjouke, Joy Bain, Ted Brandsen
Four sections - Robert Bell, Claire Philippart, Rob Sjouke, Joy Bain, Ted Brandsen | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Four Sections

After creating several works for the annual choreographic workshop and doing the choreography for Gerardjan Rijnders' Bacchanten, Ted Brandsen (artistic director of Dutch National Ballet since 2003) choreographs his first autonomous work for Dutch National Ballet’s regular programme. His Four Sections, to the music of the same name by Steve Reich, is received with great enthusiasm.

Four sections - Robert Bell, Claire Philippart, Rob Sjouke, Joy Bain, Ted Brandsen Four sections - Robert Bell, Claire Philippart, Rob Sjouke, Joy Bain, Ted Brandsen Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Four sections - Robert Bell, Claire Philippart, Rob Sjouke, Joy Bain, Ted Brandsen | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Four sections - Robert Bell, Claire Philippart, Rob Sjouke, Joy Bain, Ted Brandsen

Four Sections

After creating several works for the annual choreographic workshop and doing the choreography for Gerardjan Rijnders' Bacchanten, Ted Brandsen (artistic director of Dutch National Ballet since 2003) choreographs his first autonomous work for Dutch National Ballet’s regular programme. His Four Sections, to the music of the same name by Steve Reich, is received with great enthusiasm. “The work is a milestone in the choreographer’s still early career. Brandsen surprises the audience with a breathtaking ballet that exudes the joy of dance”, writes NRC Handelsblad. At the beginning of 1992, Brandsen receives the Perspective Prize for young creative talent, partly for Four Sections

1 January 1991

Guest artists

On 1 January 1991, the Canadian star dancers Evelyn Hart and Rex Harrington dance the main roles in Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, at Dutch National Ballet’s annual New Year Gala. “Juliet’s emotions were portrayed with a fervour and depth that is rarely seen, and Romeo left no wish unfulfilled as a dance partner and lover”, writes De Telegraaf about their performance.

Touch your coolness to my fevered brow - Nathalie Caris, Wim Broeckx | Foto: Deen van Meer
Touch your coolness to my fevered brow - Nathalie Caris, Wim Broeckx | Photo: Deen van Meer

Touch your coolness to my fevered brow

One of the first new names that Wayne Eagling introduces is Ashley Page. The British choreographer, known in his homeland as 'The Royal Maverick' because of his rebellious works, creates Touch your coolness to my fevered brow. Algemeen Dagblad calls it “a splendid piece”, in which he “transports the viewer to a surrealist fairground filled with secret fantasies”.

For a Lost Soldier
For a Lost Soldier

For a Lost Soldier

Director Roeland Kerbosch makes a film of Rudi van Dantzig’s award-winning, autobiographical debut novel, For a Lost Soldier, about his memories of the winter of starvation in 1944/1945, which he spent in Friesland.

Still uit de film Voor een verloren soldaat
For a Lost Soldier

For a Lost Soldier

Director Roeland Kerbosch makes a film of Rudi van Dantzig’s award-winning, autobiographical debut novel, For a Lost Soldier, about his memories of the winter of starvation in 1944/1945, which he spent in Friesland. Dancer Andrew Kelley plays the role of the soldier with whom Van Dantzig had his first sexual experience. There is also a role in the film for principal dancer Valerie Valentine. 

92 / 93

Eagling Audi Hofman
Wayne Eagling, Pierre Audi, Pieter Hofman | Photographer unknown

New management structure and joint education department

After the boards of Dutch National Ballet and De Nederlandse Opera merged in 1991 to form the foundation board of the Music Theatre (now Dutch National Opera & Ballet), from October 1992 the management of the theatre now comprises the directors of both companies. Along with the three assistant directors of the Theatre Organisation, Technical Organisation and Guest Programming departments, from now on they form the Music Theatre team of directors. From this season on, the organisation also has a joint Education Department, led by Liesbeth Osse.

Symphony
Shostakovich Chamber Symphony - Anna Seidl, Andrew Butling, Clint Farha | Photo: Deen van Meer

Programme in the round

Dutch National Ballet gives its first performance in the round in the Music Theatre. On a stage built in front of the proscenium, the company dances Maguy Marin’s Groosland and Hans van Manen’s Situation, as well as the first work created for the company’s regular programme by dancer/choreographer Krzysztof Pastor: Shostakovich Chamber Symphony, which has a large cast.

Les Sylphides - Karin Schnabel
Les Sylphides - Karin Schnabel | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Merit Award for Karin Schnabel

In 1992, Dansersfonds '79 honours principal dancer Karin Schnabel with the Merit Award. Schnabel, who joined the group in 1974, made her debut as Juliet in Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet at the age of 20 and went on to dance the leading roles in Giselle, Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty, among other ballets. For The Sleeping Beauty, she received personal coaching in London from Sir Peter Wright.

Petroesjka - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat | Foto: Deen van Meer

Christmas with Stravinsky

Christmas with Stravinsky is the first large-scale Stravinsky programme presented by Dutch National Ballet in the winter of 1992/1993. The programme includes revivals of three masterpieces from the repertoire of the famous Ballets Russes initiated by impresario Serge Diaghilev: Petrushka (1911) by Michel Fokine, Les Noces (1923) by Bronislava Nijinska and Apollon musagète (1928) by George Balanchine.

Petrushka - Caroline Sayo Iura, Bruno Barat | Photo: Deen van Meer
Diversion of angels - Boris de Leeuw, Karin Schnabel, Jeanette Vondersaar | Foto: Deen van Meer
Diversion of angels - Boris de Leeuw, Karin Schnabel, Jeanette Vondersaar | Photo: Deen van Meer

Martha Graham

Dutch National Ballet dances Diversion of Angels, its first work by Martha Graham, the ‘mother of American modern dance’. It is the first classically trained company worldwide to dance a Graham work. “Graham’s portrayal of the sublimating power of love was wonderfully cast (..) Eagling’s wish for more Graham classics is fully justified”, writes Trouw.

Ruins of time

First ballets by Wayne Eagling

Artistic director Wayne Eagling creates his first work for Dutch National Ballet: Ruins of Time. It is a melancholy ballet, inspired by the death of star dancer Rudolf Nureyev (on 6 January 1993) and by 'all those who died before their time'. Later in the season, Dutch National Ballet gives its first performance of Eagling’s Frankenstein, created in 1985 for The Royal Ballet.

Ruins of time - NIcolas Rapaic, Jeanette Vondersaar | Photo: Deen van Meer

93 / 94

Aartsengelen slachten de hemel rood - Rachel Beaujean
Aartsengelen slachten de hemel rood - Rachel Beaujean - during rehearsal 1990, choreographer Rudi van Dantzig | Photo: Deen van Meer

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Rachel Beaujean

In October 1993, soloist Rachel Beaujean is awarded the Golden Theatre Dance Prize by the VSCD. The jury praises her for her ability to dance a variety of styles equally well and for her strong stage presence, whether she is dancing a solo or in a group, stating,  “She once said herself that the key to her dancing was willpower and conviction. To that we can add dedication and devotion.”

Artifact

Complete Artifact in the repertoire

Following Dutch National Ballet’s presentation of the second part of William Forsythe’s Artifact, in 1991, this season the company takes the complete masterpiece into its repertoire. The world premiere of the piece, by Ballett Frankfurt in 1984, ‘came as a bombshell’. NRC Handelsblad writes about the premiere by Dutch National Ballet, “Re-watching Artifact confirmed Forsythe’s unique position in the choreographic landscape. The richness of variation and the way he strips sections to the bone and crafts them into new shapes remain overwhelming, as does his suggestive and bewildering theatrical mastery.”

Artifact - Rachel Beaujean, Jahn Magnus Johansen, Coleen Davis | Photo: Deen van Meer
Afscheid Rudi van Dantzig
Saying farewell to Rudi van Dantzig | Photo: Deen van Meer

Rudi van Dantzig leaves the position of resident choreographer

At the end of the 1993/1994 season, Dutch National Ballet says farewell to Rudi van Dantzig, who had stayed on as resident choreographer after leaving the position of artistic director in 1991. For the occasion, the company dances a tribute programme, comprising his debut work Nachteiland and the world premieres of Van Dantzig’s Pleisterplaats and Toer van Schayk’s De omkeerbaarheid van roest, as well as Collective Symphony by Van Dantzig, Van Manen and Van Schayk. 

94 / 95

Lissabon - Artifact | Foto: Deen van Meer

Lisbon Cultural Capital of Europe

A highlight of this season is Dutch National Ballet’s appearance at the event Lisbon Cultural Capital of Europe, in 1994. William Forsythe’s Artifact gets an enthusiastic reception at three sold-out performances at the Centro Cultural de Bélem.

Lisbon - Artifact | Photo: Deen van Meer
Even the angels fall ...
Even the angels fall... - Kumiko Hayakawa, Alfredo Fernandez, Marieke Simons, Boris de Leeuw | Photo: Deen van Meer

Two programmes in Carré

In October 1994, Dutch National Ballet presents two programmes in Theater Carré. The first comprises the world premiere of Even the Angels fall…  by the rising French-Algerian choreographer Redha Benteifour, in combination with Hans van Manen’s iconic video ballet Live. The second comprises the world premiere of Toer van Schayk’s full-length Amphitheater, in which he “summarises forty years of artistry in dance”, according to Trouw. 

Amphitheater - Jane Lord Amphitheater - Jane Lord Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Amphitheater - Jane Lord | Photo: Ben van Duin

Even the angels fall ... Even the angels fall ... Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Even the Angels fall… - Kumiko Hayakawa, Alfredo Fernandez, Marieke Simons, Boris de Leeuw | Foto: Deen van Meer

Amphitheater - Jane Lord
Even the angels fall ...

Two programmes in Carré

In October 1994, Dutch National Ballet presents two programmes in Theater Carré. The first comprises the world premiere of Even the Angels fall…  by the rising French-Algerian choreographer Redha Benteifour, in combination with Hans van Manen’s iconic video ballet Live. The second comprises the world premiere of Toer van Schayk’s full-length Amphitheater, in which he “summarises forty years of artistry in dance”, according to Trouw. 

23 February 1995

Ted Brandsen’s Blue Field

The world premiere of Ted Brandsen’s new creation Blue Field takes place on 23 February 1995 in Amsterdam. In May 1995, Dutch National Ballet performs it in San Francisco at the United We Dance Festival, organised by San Francisco Ballet to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

Quando la terra si rimette in movimento - Valerie Valentine
Quando la terra si rimette in movimento - Valerie Valentine | Photo: Ben van Duin

Jan Fabre

The most controversial premiere this season is Jan Fabre’s full-length Quando la terra si rimette in movimento, to music by the Polish composer Eugeniusz Knapik. Opinions about this creation are very divided, ranging from "Fabre creates a furore with this dance work – you could call it an exercise – but it remains powerfully beautiful” to “The main conclusion is that Fabre is not a choreographer (..) At a slow, monotonous tempo, the dancers hop and slide over the stage in changing formations”.

Gouden Theaterdansprijs 1994 - Jeanette Vondersaar
Golden Theatre Dance Prize 1994 - Jeanette Vondersaar, Merel Laseur | Photo: Deen van Meer

Golden Theatre Dance Prize for Jeanette Vondersaar

The VSCD awards the Golden Theatre Dance Prize 1994 to principal dancer Jeanette Vondersaar. “She has remarkable technique and enormous energy. Her inner drive and sensual, temperamental presence make her a powerful female soloist”, states the jury. This season, Vondersaar also receives the Alexandra Radius Prize from the Friends of Dutch National Ballet. 

Etudes - Alexander Gouliaev, Larissa Lezhnina

Stars exchange Kirov Ballet for Dutch National Ballet

This season, the Dutch National Ballet’s principal dancer ranks are swelled by the addition of two former stars of the famous Kirov Ballet (now Mariinsky Ballet), Larissa Lezhnina and Alexander Gouliaev. On a tour to Amsterdam in 1992, the dancers were spotted at a rehearsal by artistic director Wayne Eagling, who offered them a contract on the spot. 

Etudes - Alexander Gouliaev, Larissa Lezhnina | Photo: Deen van Meer

95 / 96

Boris de Leeuw
Boris de Leeuw | Photo: Deen van Meer

Boris de Leeuw promoted to principal

At the start of the 1995/1996 season, the 23-year-old Boris de Leeuw is promoted to principal dancer, as the first Dutch male dancer to join that rank since Henny Jurriëns. He is also the youngest Dutch principal dancer with Dutch National Ballet since its foundation in 1961. Only Olga de Haas was younger (aged 19) when she was promoted to principal in 1964. In January 1996, De Leeuw is presented with the Alexandra Radius Prize, after already receiving the Incentive Award from Stichting Dansersfonds '79 in 1993. 

Language of letting go - Marieke Simons, Alfredo Fernandez | Foto: Deen van Meer

Awards for Marieke Simons and Rachel Beaujean

The 25-year-old Marieke Simons, coryphée with Dutch National Ballet, receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize from the VSCD. The jury calls her “an extremely versatile dancer, who practises her profession with technical perfection and great vitality”. This season, soloist Rachel Beaujean receives the Merit Award from Stichting Dansersfonds '79. 

Language of letting go - Marieke Simons, Alfredo Fernandez | Photo: Deen van Meer
Kraton Surakarta
Kraton Surakarta | Photo: Maria-Pia Kille

The first non-Western dance in the Music Theatre

From this season on, the Music Theatre’s Guest Programming department, led by Pieter Hofman, also brings many non-Western productions to the Netherlands. The ball is set rolling in April 1996 by the Indonesian Ensemble of the Kraton Surakarta. 

96 / 97

Sarcasmen rehearsal - Rachel Beaujean, Clint Farha
Sarcasmen rehearsal - Rachel Beaujean, Clint Farha | Photo: Kors van Bennekom
19 June 1997

Rachel Beaujean ends her dancing career

Soloist Rachel Beaujean gives her last performance on 19 June 1997. Twenty years after joining Dutch National Ballet, she swaps the stage for a position as ballet mistress (she is now associate artistic director of the company). As one of Hans van Manen’s most important muses for many years, her farewell performance is Sarcasmen, Van Manen’s iconic ‘ballet for two’, which she has danced with Clint Farha on numerous occasions, in the Netherlands and abroad. 

Notenkraker & Muizenkoning | Photo: Deen van Meer
13 December 1996

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

The world premiere of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a completely Dutch interpretation of the ballet by artistic director Wayne Eagling and resident choreographer and designer Toer van Schayk, takes place on 13 December 1996.

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King | Photo: Deen van Meer
Notenkraker & Muizenkoning Notenkraker & Muizenkoning Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - Boris de Leeuw, Jane Lord, Alfredo Fernandez | Photo: Deen van Meer

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, set design by Toer van Schayk The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, set design by Toer van Schayk Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, set design by Toer van Schayk

Notenkraker & Muizenkoning
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, set design by Toer van Schayk
13 December 1996

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

The world premiere of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a completely Dutch interpretation of the ballet by artistic director Wayne Eagling and resident choreographer and designer Toer van Schayk, takes place on 13 December 1996. The full-length production soon becomes one of the greatest audience hits in Dutch theatre history. It is still drawing full houses today and has now been seen by over 325,000 people. The press are also unanimous in their praise of the premiere: “Magnificent Nutcracker” and “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a feast of dazzling colours, sets and costumes, unparalleled in the Netherlands.” 

Hans van Manen - Three pieces for HET
Hans van Manen - Three pieces for HET - Gaël Lambiotte, Sofiane Sylve | Photo: Deen van Meer

A new Van Manen again at last

For the first time since Hans van Manen’s departure in 1987, Dutch National Ballet once again presents a new work by the Netherlands’ most celebrated choreographer: Three Pieces for HET. The ballet is received with great enthusiasm, with high praise for dancers Sofiane Sylve and Gaël Lambiotte – who were then still grand sujet and coryphée, respectively.

Rehearsal Three Pieces for HET Rehearsal Three Pieces for HET Open afbeelding in een nieuw tabblad

Rehearsal Three Pieces for HET - Kumiko Hayakawa, Sjef Annink, Hans van Manen, Marieke Simons | Photo: Willem Middelkoop

Rehearsal Three Pieces for HET

A new Van Manen again at last

For the first time since Hans van Manen’s departure in 1987, Dutch National Ballet once again presents a new work by the Netherlands’ most celebrated choreographer: Three Pieces for HET. The ballet is received with great enthusiasm, with high praise for dancers Sofiane Sylve and Gaël Lambiotte – who were then still grand sujet and coryphée, respectively. “New Van Manen work is polished and refined”, writes NRC Handelsblad. Later on, Van Manen scraps the first part of the ballet, following which the work often returns to the repertoire as Two Pieces for HET.

Rooster - Nicolas Rapaic, Enrichetta Cavallotti
Rooster - Nicolas Rapaic, Enrichetta Cavallotti | Photo: Tza Tza

Rolling Stones

For the fourth time, Dutch National Ballet dances a piece set to music by The Rolling Stones. Following Visibility… By Chance by Koert Stuyf (1967), and Spoef (1968) and You can't always get what you want (1970) by Robert Kaesen, this season the company adds Rooster to its repertoire; a work by the British choreographer Christopher Bruce. “Dutch National Ballet is going down the macho route (..) Rooster is an uncomplicated, purely entertaining piece”, writes de Volkskrant. 

Lamentation - Jeanette Vondersaar | Foto: Deen van Meer
Lamentation - Jeanette Vondersaar | Photo: Deen van Meer

New Grahams

After last season’s performances by the American Martha Graham Dance Company, as part of the Guest Programming, this season Dutch National Ballet adds another two works to its repertoire by the ‘high priestess of modern dance’: Embattled Garden and Lamentation. In 1999, they are followed by Acts of Light and Errand into the Maze. 

97 / 98

Apollon Musagète - Valerie Valentine | Foto: Deen van Meer
Apollon Musagète - Valerie Valentine | Photo: Deen van Meer

Prizes for Valerie Valentine and Caroline Sayo Iura

The American principal dancers Valerie Valentine and Caroline Sayo Iura both receive awards. Valentine, who has danced with Dutch National Ballet since 1973, receives the Golden Theatre Dance Prize from the VSCD for her whole oeuvre. Iura, who joined the company in 1978, receives the Merit Award from Dansersfonds '79. The jury calls her “a small ballerina who can fill the whole space with her presence”.