Dutch National Ballet presents

Requiem David Dawson

This show was to been seen in February 2019

Double-bill by David Dawson

Duration 1:45 incl. 1 break

Breaks 1

You can enjoy Requiem | David Dawson 25 years with the Dutch National Ballet ONLINE from Sunday 15 November until Saturday 12 December 23:59. You can watch the online performance here


Dutch National Ballet associate artist David Dawson is one of the most-sought after choreographers today. This season includes two works by this British artist: the world première of Requiem and his recent hit Citizen Nowhere.

"It is a Requiem for our time”

Requiem will be more than a lamento for lost lives, it's for all of us who make the world what it is today.

David Dawson: “A Requiem is usually for the lives that have already passed - to remember, but I feel this Requiem is also for all of us now, today - to think. I think a lot about the way we treat and relate to our world, and to each other. But it is not a narrative work, it is inspired by the behaviour of the soul and what is pure about being. It is a Requiem for our time.”


Dawson’s Requiem is a monumental new work that explores the essence of faith as a fundamental belief in life. 'Assuming no answers, Requiem seeks to find the human and spiritual connections between past generations and those of the eternal future. In observation of time and life passing Dawson considers ‘what we have learned and what we are leaving behind.’  His choreography explores the behaviour of Angels and the concept of separating the soul from the body while imagining an existence free from the fear of death. Considering ‘the body as a tool for the soul to inhabit its higher self,’ Requiem is an acknowledgment that the human miracle exists.

Gavin Bryars’ Requiem
For this world première, renowned British composer Gavin Bryars wrote a new Requiem for orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists. He and Dawson studied the impact and structure of earlier requiems for this new composition, but ultimately it, like the choreography, is a product of their own life experiences and personal vision.


Citizen Nowhere

The second half of this double bill is Citizen Nowhere, which was a tremendous success when it premièred at Dutch National Ballet in 2017. The source for this solo piece was Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince, but Dawson and composer Szymon Brzóska were also deeply influenced by current events during its creation. ‘The little prince’ stands for many things, such as the solitary, stateless refugee. Dancer Edo Wijnen was nominated for a Dutch Zwaan award for most impressive dance performance for his role in Citizen Nowhere.


Gavin Bryars – composer of Requiem

British Gavin Bryars is one of the world’s leading contemporary composers. He got his start in the 1960s as the bassist of the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, a modern jazz ensemble that rapidly branched out into improvisation, which sparked Bryars’ interest in composition and minimal music. He has written many pieces for musical theatre as well as for orchestra, voice and chamber ensemble. In 2005 David Dawson used a string orchestra arrangement of Bryars’ Third String Quartet for his ballet Reverence (Marijinski Ballet), and in 2010 they co-created a new work, titled Third Light, for Ballet Vlaanderen.

Szymon Brzóska – composer of Citizen Nowhere

Polish composer Szymon Brzóska’s fascination with synergies between music, contemporary dance, theatre and film have borne fruit in a myriad of interdisciplinary, collaborative art projects. Alongside his independent work, Brzóska has also composed extensively for dance, partnering with David Dawson as well as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, María Pagés, Vladimir Malakhov, New Movement Collective, Kaya Kołodziejczyk and Joost Vrouenraets.

David Dawson's vision
    Tue 12 Feb Requiem - De Volkskrant (2019)****

    "Music and dance are a compelling combination of resignation and extreme movements." (...) "In their Requiem, a compelling Requiem, Dawson and Bryars exchange the atmosphere of religion for that of spirituality and give way to the idea that life and death, present and past, are strongly connected."

    Tue 12 Feb Requiem - Trouw (2019)****

    "It is ballet in the overdrive, which in Requiem contributes to an atmosphere of comfort and surrender". (...) "The meaning of the requiem - asking for an eternal rest for the dead - is given a current emotional value here."

    Tue 12 Feb Requiem - Het Parool (2019)

    “Requiem: ijzersterke combinatie van dans en film” (...) “Net als twee jaar geleden werd deze ijzersterke combinatie van dans, film en animatie beloond met een staande ovatie.”

    Thu 15 Feb Trouw

    ‘For this programme choreographer David Dawson created an intimate yet monumental ballet showcase for public darling Edo Wijnen (…) Citizen Nowhere is lyrical, sometimes verging on bombastic – but it works. Verdict: downright sensational.’

    Thu 15 Feb The New York Times

    ‘Dramatic and thrilling (…) Mr. Dawson is a superb choreographer of group movement (…) surprising and beautiful duos, full of swirling, floor-skidding turns, astonishing upside-down swinging lifts, and moments of poetic physical beauty’

Citizen Nowhere
Choreography and concept
David Dawson
Szymon Brzóska

Piano Citizen Nowhere: Sepp Grotenhuis

Set and video design
Eno Henze
Costume design
Yumiko Takeshima
Lighting design
Bert Dalhuysen
Altin Kaftira

David Dawson
Gavin Bryars
Set design
Eno Henze
Costume design
Yumiko Takeshima
Lighting design
Bert Dalhuysen

Choir Requiem

Chorus of Dutch National Opera

Chorus Master

Ching-Lien Wu

Vocal soloists: Nicole Fiselier, Itzel Medecigo,Tigran Matinyan, Bora Balci

Het Balletorkest
conducted by Matthew Rowe

Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality.
Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters.The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.

David Dawson

Associate Artist

David Dawson (1972, London, United Kingdom) was resident choreographer with Dutch National Ballet from 2004 to 2006. Since 2015, he has held the position of ‘artistic associate’ with the company.


After the  matinée of Requiem on 24 February there will be a signing session with Sasha Mukhamedov and James Stout next to the shop. These signing session is only accessible to the visitors of the performance that afternoon.