Dutch National Ballet presents

Four Seasons David Dawson, Wayne McGregor and Juanjo Arqués

This show was to been seen in April 2020


electrifying, edgy and inventive ballet

The government’s temporary decision to ban events and gatherings until 1 June 2020, in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, means that Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be closed until that date. Read more information here: operaballet.nl/corona-update

In Four Seasons Dutch National Ballet presents the state of the art in today’s dance landscape, with three new creations by three world-class choreographers. Injecting classical ballet techniques with new influences and impulses, they reveal just how electrifying, edgy and inventive twenty-first century academic ballet can be.

The Four Seasons Trailer
Credits: Semperoper Dresden

Creative teams

All three choreographers featured in Four Seasons attribute the success of their work in part to their special, intense collaborations with composers and set, costume and lighting designers. David Dawson even refers to his work as gesamtkunstwerken, produced with a fixed creative team of Dutch lighting designer Bert Dalhuysen, Japanese costume designer and former Dutch National Ballet principle dancer Yukimo Takeshima, and German set designer Eno Henze, whose set for The Four Seasons uses a different geometric shape to embody each season. For Yugen, Wayne McGregor worked with British-Dutch ceramic artist Edmund de Waal and renowned British-Iranian fashion designer Shirin Guild. Arqués' MANOEUVRE is also produced with a fixed creative team of dramaturg Fabienne Vegt, Tatyana van Walsum for set and costume design and Bert Dalhuysen for ligthing design.

Four Seasons - Foto's: Ian Whalen – Semperoper Dresden
Four Seasons - Foto's: Ian Whalen – Semperoper Dresden
Four Seasons - Foto's: Ian Whalen – Semperoper Dresden
Yugen - Foto's: Andrej Uspenski - The Royal Ballet

Yugen: Profound beauty

A Dutch first in Four Seasons is Wayne McGregor’s Yugen (‘profound beauty’ in Japanese), a co-production with The Royal Ballet. Enthusiastically hailed by audiences at its early 2018 première in London, this new creation was inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s resounding Chichester Psalms, an eclectic mix of Hebrew texts, Broadway jazz and Christian choral music sung by the Chorus of Dutch National Opera. McGregor’s choreography is a unique and impressive translation of the music, alternating gorgeous, lyrical dance scenes with powerful and dynamic group pieces.

How Bernstein inspired McGregor for Yugen
Credits: The Royal Ballet

Manoeuvre: World premiere

Spanish choreographer and Dutch National Ballet young creative associate Juanjo Arqués closes the triple bill with a world première. Since leaving his dance career Arqués has enjoyed tremendous success a freelance choreographer, commissioned to create pieces for top companies including the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Moscow Ballet Theatre and former dance star Carlos Acosta’s company Acosta Danza.

For MANOEUVRE, Arqués uses the exceptional composition 'Shaker Loops' by John Adams (Erasmus Prize 2019) in which the composer was able to convert wave movement into sound. The new choreography for the Dutch National Ballet is danced by seven male dancers, shifting the ballet's attention to male sensitivity. Starting from an emotional approach MANOEUVRE makes a step toward a more diverse and complete representation of men.

The Four Seasons: Athletic work

In its Dutch première is Associate Artist David Dawson’s The Four Seasons, a co-production with Semperoper Ballett. Dawson began his career 25 years ago as a dancer with the Dutch National Ballet. Inspired by Max Richter’s ethereal adaptation of Vivaldi’s famous composition, it is a monumental and emphatically athletic work that explores the cycle of life. As always, Dawson demands his dancers hold nothing back, immersing both themselves and the audience in an otherworldly, poetic and sublime reality. The sparkling music is performed by the Dutch Ballet Orchestra and the world-famous violinist Isabelle van Keulen.

    Thu 05 Mar seeingdance.com - The Four Seasons (Semperoper Ballett)

    Dawson’s characteristic choreography of soaring lifts and hyperextended limbs finds a new configuration, a quiet confidence and clearer definition, the pieces fitting in the puzzle with ease and accuracy.'

    Thu 31 Jan The Guardian over Yugen, 2016

    ‘(…) revelation of the evening is Yugen, Wayne McGregor’s setting of the earthy, ethereal masterpiece Chichester Psalms.’

    Thu 31 Jan The Londonist over Yugen, 2018

    ‘Wayne McGregor’s Yugen is set to Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and has a wondrous aesthetic as dancers appear silhouetted in luminous boxes before bursting out of them.’

    Thu 31 Jan The Stage over Yugen, 2018

    ‘A generous, beautifully balanced work ending in an harmonious duet’

    Thu 31 Jan The Times over Yugen, 2018

    ‘The dancing is voluptuous and uplifting; so too are the performances of every member of the cast, who seem at times to melt into the hope of Bernstein’s music, sensitively conducted by Koen Kessels.’ ‘The visuals for Yugen are equally stunning. The artist Edmund de Waal has designed a row of giant display cases at the back of the stage, serving, as he says, as “places of refuge and pause” for the 11 dancers who step in and out of them. It’s a simple idea, and gorgeous to look at, while Shirin Guild’s casual red costumes are the perfect complement.’

Wayne McGregor

Choreographer / Director

Wayne McGregor CBE is a British choreographer and director. He is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor, a creative nexus that pushes the frontiers of physical intelligence through dance, design and technology. Wayne’s work is rooted in dance, yet encompasses a variety of genres including technology, visual art, film, opera and education, as well as Company Wayne McGregor, his own touring company of dancers.

Juanjo Arqués

Young Creative Associate

Juanjo Arqués was a dancer with Dutch National Ballet until 2012 when he turned his focus completely to choreography.

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.


Dutch premiere

Choreography Wayne McGregor
Repetiteurs: : Antoine Vereecken, Amanda Eyles

Music: Chichesterpsalms by Leonard Bernstein

Chorus of Dutch National Opera

Chorus master: Klaas-Jan de Groot

Nicole Fiselier (soprano), Itzel Medecigo (alto) , Tigran Matinyan (tenor) and Dominic Kraemer (bass)

Vocaal Talent Nederland - boys soprano solo:
Roy van Vugt (4, 9, 12 and 16 April) or Tibbe Alkemade (7, 11, 14 and 19 April)


World premiere

Choreography Juanjo Arqués
Music John Adams

Dramaturgy Fabienne Vegt
Set and costume design Tatyana van Walsum
Lighting design Bert Dalhuysen
Ballet master Judy Maelor Thomas



The Four Seasons
Dutch premiere

Choreography David Dawson
Music Max Richter


Musical accompaniment


Chorus of Dutch National Opera

Vocaal Talent Nederland

Violin: Isabelle van Keulen


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.

More information:

Dutch Ballet Orchestra