Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Dutch National Ballet's New Season and a New Vlog from Tim and Salome

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The Dutch National Ballet has announced its 2017 to 2018 season and there is a lot to look forward to.

First, there is the opening night gala on 17 Sept 2017. I have attended the 2015 and 2016 galas and have enjoyed them thoroughly (see Dutch National Ballet's Opening Night Gala - Improving on Excellence 8 Sept 2016 and The best evening I have ever spent at the ballet 13 Sept 2015). This is a black tie affair starting with the grand défilé of the first year ballet students, followed in turn by the more senior students, the junior company, the corps, coryphées, grands sujets, soloists and finally the principals.

Next, there is the presentation of the Alexandra Radius prize presented by the great ballerina. Last year it was awarded to Artur Shesterikov and the year before that to Maia Makhateli, Talking of which I am delighted to say that Ms Makhateli (who has been on leave this last year) tweeted today that she plans to be back for the gala:
To which I replied:
After the presentation, we see extracts of the company's work for the coming and previous seasons, This year the National Ballet will be joined by guest stars, Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov.  Then there will be a sumptuous reception to which the whole audience is invited.

The gala is a hard act to follow but this year it will be matched by an Ode to the Master, a celebration of Hans van Manen's career with the performance of a selection of his best-loved ballets:
  • On the Move;
  • 5 Tangos
  • Sarcasm, and
  • Symphonieën der Nederlanden.
This will be the year in which van Manen celebrates his 85th birthday.   "No choreographer has made such a big mark on dance in the Netherlands as Hans van Manen," says the website.  I would say that no living choreographer has made such a big mark on dance anywhere.  I will move heaven and earth to see that show,

In October the company will re-stage Ted Brandsen's Mata Hari which I described as Brandsen's Masterpiece in my review of 14 Feb 2016.  The Christmas ballet will be Sir Peter Wright's production of The Sleeping Beauty. It will be followed by Ratmansky's Don QuixoteDutch Doubles and Tristan and Isolde, a new ballet by David Dawson.  Finally, the work of the company's up and coming choreographers will be showcased in New Moves.

Dutch Doubles is not a double bill as its name suggests but a dialogue between choreographers living in the Netherlands with a number of renowned musicians.  The choreographers in question are Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, the creator of Scottish Ballet's Streetcar named DesireDanza Contemporanea de Cuba's Reversible and Ballet Black's Little Red Riding Hood, Ernst Meisner and Hans van Manen. Ochoa's dialogue will be with Wende Snijders who is described by the company's website as "one of the best-known and most versatile singer-songwriters in the Netherlands." Meisner's is with Remy van Kesteren and van Manen's will be with a pianist still to be announced.  A similar collaboration in 2014 appears to have been one of the reasons why the New York Times ranked the Dutch National Ballet as one of the world's top five ballet companies.

This season there will be a lot of work for the Junior Company. They will begin their annual tour of the Netherlands with In the Future which will feature the work of the same name by Hans van Manen. According to the website, this work was created by Hans van Manen in 1986 for Scapino Ballet and it has also been danced by Stuttgarter Ballett and Introdans Ensemble for Youth. It is described as "an energetic, swinging, amusing and surprising work, with wonderfully inventive costumes by Keso Dekker."  They will also dance Narnia: the lion, the witch and the wardrobe in which Ernst Meisner collaborated with Marco Gerris to produce a work that is described as "Hiphop meets Ballet." I saw a scene from this work in the 2015 gala and loved it.  Finally, the Junior Company will celebrate its 5th anniversary in Junior Company 5 Years with a special gala at the Stadsschouwburg. Having attended one of the first (if not the first) of those galas in 2013 (see The Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet - Stadsshouwburg Amsterdam 24 Nov 2013 25 Nov 2013) this will be a special performance for me too - if I can only get a flight and ticket for it.

Talking of the Junior Company, I introduced Timothy van Poucke and Salome Leverashvili in Missing Amsterdam on  18 Feb 2017. Tim and Salome have just released a fourth vlog entitled Life of a ballet dancer - VLOG#4 by Tim and Salome - Junior Company in which they discuss their life in the company, how it differs from ballet school, their hopes for the future including prospective careers after they give up dance. Salome would love to dance on stage for ever and ever but realizes that will not be possible. However, she already sees a career for herself as a fashion designer including, perhaps, fashion for the ballet. Tim would like to be a teacher. He would be good at that, muses Salome, for he is always correcting her. 

Tim is a fine young man. Salome a lovely young woman. They have all my betst wishes for the future as do all the other members of the Junior Company,

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