Dutch National Ballet presents
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.
Credits: Semperoper Dresden
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.
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.
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.
'In The Four Seasons, he [Dawson] reaches a new level of maturity, and despite the huge outpouring of energy, the ambience is enigmatically reflective. From the opening scene, a stage alive with arms quivering like spring tendrils, the work deftly synchronises with Max Richter’s iconic score, structured meticulously to reflect the constant changes in mood and dynamics, depth and tempo. 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.'
‘(…) revelation of the evening is Yugen, Wayne McGregor’s setting of the earthy, ethereal masterpiece Chichester Psalms.’
‘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.’
‘A generous, beautifully balanced work ending in an harmonious duet’
‘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 McGregorChoreographer / 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 ArquésYoung Creative Associate
Juanjo Arqués was a dancer with Dutch National Ballet until 2012 when he turned his focus completely to choreography.
David DawsonAssociate 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.
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)
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
Choreography David Dawson
Music Max Richter
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.