Dutch National Ballet presents
Best of Balanchine includes three well-known masterpieces by George Balanchine and one of his works that is new to Dutch National Ballet. Balanchine is internationally regarded as the greatest choreographer of the twentieth century. His ballets were so inventive, innovative and timeless that they are compared to the paintings of Picasso and the music of Stravinsky.
Sonia Gaskell, the first artistic director of Dutch National Ballet, already recognised the importance of the work of the Russian-American choreographer in the 1950s. This enabled Dutch National Ballet to develop into the most important European custodian of his ballets. With equal admiration for Balanchine’s mastery, her successors Rudi van Dantzig, Wayne Eagling and Ted Brandsen have also added new Balanchine ballets to the company’s repertoire.
George Balanchine made quite a mark on the development of theatrical dance - he is the maestro of story-less musical ballet. His ballets mostly stand out because of their architectonical composition of choreographic patterns and dance themes.
Theme and Variations
Best of Balanchine begins with Theme and Variations, an ode to Balanchine’s Russian background. The piece revolves around the refinement and grandeur of the nineteenth-century ballet of the Tsar and the music of Tchaikovsky. The fourth movement of his Orchestral Suite no. 3 forms the inspiration for Balanchine’s ingenious ensemble dances coupled with elegant, almost regal soloist variations, with brilliant, dazzling pointework.
From an early age, Balanchine (1904-1983) felt a close affinity with Igor Stravinsky, which was partly why he became a musical choreographer ‘pur sang’. His main goal was to ‘make music visible’. He is famed for saying 'See the music, feel the dance’. He often used music by Stravinsky, which resulted in some brilliant creations. Apollon musagète, about the god Apollo and his muses, is an early work, created in 1928 for Diaghilev’s legendary Ballet Russes.
The Tarantella is new to Dutch National Ballet. This delightful gem is Neapolitan in character and is full of humour and virtuoso dancing. Balanchine set the piece to a greatly admired composition by Louis Moreau Gottschalk.
Balanchine created Violin Concerto in 1972 for a festival commemorating Stravinsky. Although he made it in only three weeks, seldom have music and choreography formed such a synthesis as in Violin Concerto.
Theme and Variations
Pjotr Iljitsj Tsjaikovski - Fourth part of the orchestra suite nr.3, opus 55
Igor Stravinsky - Apollon Musagète
Tarantella Pas de Deux
Louis Moreau Gottschalk - Grande Tarantelle
Igor Stravinsky - Violin Concerto
Isabelle van Keulen - Violiste
Dutch Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Fayçal Karoui
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
This year, Dutch Ballet Orchestra is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since its foundation in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater as a regular partner.
Through Dutch Ballet Orchestra, music and dance come together to form a wonderful experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development.
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 a unique character: incredibly flexible, dynamic and high-quality.
Dutch Ballet Orchestra is an orchestra with a mission, to achieve the ultimate synergy between dance and music.