Han Ebbelaar and Alexandra Radius in Collective Symphony
Han Ebbelaar and Alexandra Radius in Collective Symphony (1975) | Photo: Jorge Fatauros

Han Ebbelaar celebrates 80th birthday

15 April 2023

Former principal of Dutch National Ballet Han Ebbelaar, who, together with his wife Alexandra Radius, is part of the most famous d8ance couple the Netherlands has ever known, turned 80 today. On behalf of everyone at Dutch National Opera & Ballet, we wish him a happy birthday.

Han Ebbelaar started his professional dance career in 1959 with Nederlands Dans Theater, where he met his dance partner and future wife Alexandra Radius. Together they would grow to be the muses of choreographer Hans van Manen. In 1968 they decided to transfer to the American Ballet Theatre in New York, where they would dance among the international top. Two years later, ‘Han and Lex’ joined – by invitation from artistic leader Rudi van Dantzig – Dutch National Ballet as principals. They danced a verity of classic and contemporary choreographies, including many works of Hans van Manen. In 1979, the year they celebrated their 20th anniversary as dancers, Ebbelaar and Radius founded Stichting Dansersfonds ’79, with the purpose of supporting and stimulating the Dutch art of dance.

On 12 October 1986, Ebbelaar ended his dancing career at Dutch National Ballet. Together with his partner Radius, he danced the duet Twilight – a choreography created for the couple by Hans van Manen in 1972 – and Toer van Schayks 7th Symphony. Until May 1988, he kept performing, together with Radius, in their own dance programmes . From 1988, Ebbelaar served as adjunct artistic director at Dutch National Ballet for two years and he was part of the company’s management from 1999 until 2006.

Han Ebbelaar has won many awards, such as the Silver Medal of the City of Amsterdam, the Gouden Theaterdansprijs, the VSCD Oeuvreprijs and the Jiří Kylián Ring. Together with his wife, he was appointed Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau in 1975 and Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2009.