Dutch National Ballet presents
Young toptalent on tour
The Junior Company has became a fixture in the Dutch theatre firmament. This season they’ll once more be touring the whole country to showcase a cross-section of the ballet repertoire. Unboxing Ballet 2, with creations of Hans van Manen and other leading choreographers, is sure to delight both die-hard dance fans and first-time audiences.
Unboxing Ballet 2 combines the three cornerstones of the Dutch National Ballet repertoire: the classical and ever-popular nineteenth-century ballet tradition, highlights of twentieth-century ballet, and exciting creations by choreographers who are blazing new trails around the world. This kaleidoscopic triptych takes you on a virtual journey through the history of ballet, guided by the gifted young dancers of the Junior Company.
Less is more
Hans van Manen is famed as a master of minimalism. Metaphorically, because he strips dance of all superfluous frills: dance in its purest and cleanest form is his trademark, ‘less is more’ his motto. But also literally, because Van Manen creates within self-imposed limits. In In and Out, those limits are spatial, with a set consisting of three wardrobes in and out of which 12 dancers continually disappear and reappear: all of them cramming into one wardrobe, then separating to dangle, climb and crawl across all three, then storming back across the stage. From playful, light-hearted and sexy at first, when singer Nina Hagen takes over from Laurie Anderson the mood darkens to become calculated, aggressive and even vicious.
The 1967 rendering of Valse Fantaisie was originally presented as the second section of Glinkiana, which was choreographed to four different compositions by Glinka. The music, roughly contemporaneous with the waltzes of Frederic Chopin, is fast and light, although it was popularly called “the Melancholy Waltz.” Attended by the male dancer, the ballerinas move together in a whirl of perpetual motion.
Eric Gauthier's Ballet 101 is a solo for a boy about the basic ballet positions, which is both funny and technical very challenging. At the initiative of King Louis XIV, the basic positions of classical ballet were written down at the French Académie Royale de Danse in the seventeenth century and they are still taught worldwide. Eric Gauthier uses these basic positions as starting point for a humoristic ‘crash course’ in classical ballet. In the first part of his choreography he shows them in the usual order. After that he mixes them with a wink. The part ends in a very surprising way.
When MacMillan (1929-1992) became director of the ballet at the Berlin Opera House, he made Concerto. He wanted to both technically challenge and develop his new group. For this choreography he used dancers from all grades. Macmillan used for Concerto -like he did for his choreography Symphony- a composition of Shostakovich. The composer wrote this exuberant second piano concerto for his son’s 19th birthday. Concerto contains three movements and there is a different pair of soloists for each part. The Junior Company will dance the famous Pas de deux from the second part.
‘Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company has rapidly gained such a reputation that young people from Australia to Uruguay want nothing more than to be one of 12 dancers in this ensemble’
The Junior Company was established in 2013 to be a stepping stone for young dancers to make the leap from the Dutch National Ballet Academy to Dutch National Ballet, the largest ballet company in the Netherlands. The Junior Company consists of twelve dancers. They are given a daily programme that mirrors that of the main company. The Junior Company strives to produce two touring programmes per year, consisting of pas de deux and extracts from the (neo)classical repertoire together with new creations, choreographed for the Junior Company by renowned choreographers. The dancers will also be called upon to take the stage at larger productions of Dutch National Ballet, such as Cinderella and Swan Lake.
Over the years, many young dancers from the Junior Company have made the transition to the main company, thereby growing into leading roles. Ernst Meisner is artistic coordinator of the Junior Company. The company has proved its success with tours at homeand abroad and quite a few performances on special occasions. Every season, the Junior Company travels the Netherlands with a special tour program, a mix of classical and contemporary ballet. In addition, the Junior Company has collaborated with ISH Dance Collective on two exceptionally successful productions: Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2015) and GRIMM (2018), in which the disciplines of ballet and hip-hop spectacularly complement each other.
Ted Brandsen, artistic director of Dutch National Ballet: “I’m very proud of what the Junior Company has reached and delivered in this relatively short time. The presence of these young talents gives a tremendous boost to the company as a whole. Also, the juniors provide a very good working atmosphere. They are accustomed to operating as a group, have regularly performed together and you can feel that, even after they have moved on to Dutch National Ballet.”
In and Out
Choreography Hans van Manen
Music Laurie Anderson, Nina Hagen
Costume and decor Keso Dekker
Light Jan Hofstra
Choreography George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music Mikhail Glinka (‘Valse Fantaisie in B minor’)
Costume Oliver Haller
Light Wijnand van der Horst
Choreography Eric Gauthier
Music Jens-Peter Abele
Costumes and light Eric Gauthier
Choreography Sir Kenneth MacMillan
Music Dmitri Shostakovich (‘piano concerto no.2’)
Choreography Charlotte Edmonds
Costume Oliver Haller
Light Wijnand van der Horst
Main sponsor Junior Company