Masterpieces by the Netherlands' most famous choreographer
On 11 July 2022, the grand master of Dutch dance, Hans van Manen, will celebrate his 90th birthday. The Dutch National Ballet will be celebrating the occasion extensively, including a tour in the Netherlands, during which the company will present three jewels from Van Manen's extensive oeuvre.
Hans van Manen opens with one of the choreographer's early successes: Metaphors. Although the ballet was created over 55 years ago, all the elements of Van Manen's mastery are already present in this work, such as his absolute clarity of concept and movement language. Metaphors is set up as a classical ballet, but as it unfolds a refined play of forms full of unexpected twists and turns. At the time, the male duet was controversial, seen by many as provocative, while Van Manen's intention was merely to demonstrate that a pas de deux can just as well be danced by two men.
For Concertante, the final ballet, Van Manen was inspired in 1994 by the Petite Symphonie Concertante by Swiss composer Frank Martin. It is a fascinating ballet, punctuated with humour and aggression, which, even in the most dazzling solos and intense pas de deux, displays Van Manen's typical refined simplicity, visual logic and musicality. Concertante has what is known in thrillers as 'suspense': something is brewing, something is bubbling, and you can't quite put your finger on it. A fact that also lies at the basis of the two duets in the piece: however different they may be - the first tight, measured; the second quite aggressive - there is, according to Van Manen, 'something in both that betrays that the certainty is not there on either side'.
'A rare, beautiful, far too little-seen example of pure classicism'
Trouw on Metaphors
Music by Jean Yves Daniël-Lesur
Music by Beethoven
Music by Frank Martin