Yesterday was the release of Gelukskind – het leven van Hans van Manen (Child of fortune – the life of Hans van Manen). The biography of Hans van Manen, one of the grand masters of contemporary ballet and resident choreographer of Dutch National Ballet, was written by Sjeng Scheijen and is now available.
Many people consider Hans van Manen (1932) to be the world’s most important post-war choreographer. In Gelukskind, biographer Sjeng Scheijen tells Van Manen’s life story. How, without completing his primary school education, he had to start working at the age of 12, and created his first choreography ten years later. Since then, he has continuously enchanted his audiences and rediscovered his great gift again and again. A child of fortune.
For his book, Scheijen was granted exclusive access to Hans van Manen’s archive and he spoke extensively to Van Manen himself, his friends and love ones, and with the artists and dancers he worked with.
The release event of Gelukskind took place in Dutch National Opera & Ballet last night, with Hans van Manen and his partner Henk van Dijk as guests of honour. The event was opened by Mai Spjikers, director of publishing house Prometheus. Joseph Massarelli, Edo Wijnen and Daniel Silva danced Van Manen’s Solo on the occasion of the release.
Sjeng Scheijen (1972) previously wrote the biography of dance and art pioneer Sergej Disghilev, which is recognized worldwide as the absolute standard work, as well as De avant-gardisten (The Avand-Gardists), for which he was awarded with the 2019 Bookspot Literature Prize, the most important non-fiction award. His books have been translated into French, Russian, English, Czech, Bulgarian, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.