Three solos to piano music by Beethoven

Prometheus Project

Dutch National Ballet

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Out of love for mankind, Prometheus defied the gods by stealing their fire and sharing it with man. For The Prometheus Project, choreographers Remi Wörtmeyer, Wubkje Kuindersma and Ernst Meisner create solos departing from different aspects of the Prometheus myth. Their creations are set to piano music by Ludwig Van Beethoven. 

Originally, the three choreographers were to join forces on the Beethoven ballet Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, on the occasion of the composer’s 250th birthday. Now the playing field for the performing arts has changed, so has this new creation. Now, the three choreographers will each create a solo inspired by the myth of Prometheus, set to different parts of Beethoven's 32 variations in c-minor for piano. 

Remi Wörtmeyer: Prometheus’s Flame
In his solo for dancer Erica Horwood, Remi Wörtmeyer concentrates on the element of fire. He explores two sides of the phenomenon: fire is associated with warmth and human intimacy on the one hand, and with immense and destructive power on the other. For his new work, Wörtmeyer draws inspiration from Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, which is based on the myth of Prometheus. 

Wubkje Kuindersma: Prometheus
For her solo, Dutch choreographer Wubkje Kuindersma departs from the inner fire that we as human beings all carry within us. This new work is created especially for Timothy van Poucke. 

Ernst Meisner: Eagle
Prometheus was severely punished by the gods for stealing their fire. He was bound to a rock, where each day an eagle was sent to eat his liver, which would then grow back overnight to be eaten again the next day. In his solo for Sem Sjouke, Ernst Meisner departs from the perspective of the eagle.

background information

The Russian choreographer George Balanchine once said: ‘Dance is better off leaving Beethoven alone; his music cannot be choreographed.’ Since then, a great many choreographers

have proven that although it’s not an easy task, it is certainly possible. This year, in which we are celebrating the composer’s 250th birthday, the Dutch National Ballet will dance two masterworks and a new creation to music by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Wubkje Kuindersma, Ernst Meisner and Remi Wörtmeyer

Beethoven wrote one ballet during his lifetime, Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (‘The creatures of Prometheus’), an allegorical ballet d’action composed in 1801 as a commission for Vienna’s imperial court. Although the music was a success, nothing remains of the choreography except for a brief synopsis – about Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to give it to two mortals. With Beethoven, the Dutch National Ballet presents the world premiere of a new, more abstract rendering of Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, created by three rising stars of choreography: Wubkje Kuindersma, Ernst Meisner and Remi Wörtmeyer. Each will take a part of Beethoven’s ballet.

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biographies

Ludwig van Beethoven is considered one of the greatest composers in music history, along with Bach and Mozart. At the age of eleven he could already play almost all of Bach’s The Well-tempered Clavier

by heart and had written his first compositions. Later, he studied in Vienna with Joseph Haydn and Johann Schenk. Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn, are said to constitute the First Viennese School. Beethoven is also the composer who bridged the gap between the Classical and Romantic periods, putting personal emotions into music. In about 1800 Beethoven noticed the first signs of deafness. He became a withdrawn, suspicious man. His last works, in their time often not understood, were composed after he had gone completely deaf.

The Dutch National Ballet is one of the regular co-producers of the Holland Festival. Over the last 59 years, it has become a leading ballet company, drawing dancers from all over the world with a unique and broad repertoire, and a tradition of innovation. The company has a prominent place on the Dutch cultural scene as well as beyond the national borders. The Netherlands’ largest dance company by far, the National Ballet has 76 dancers in the tableau, and its Junior Company is a springboard for talented young dancers. With its current team of permanent choreographers – among them director Ted Brandsen, master choreographer Hans van Manen and artistic associate David Dawson – the National Ballet has several of the most important representatives of contemporary ballet in its ranks. Since 1986 the company has presented approximately 70 performances a year in the National Opera & Ballet’s theatre on Waterlooplein. The company also makes an annual tour of the Netherlands’ major theatres, and performs abroad as well.

Wubkje Kuindersma is a Dutch choreographer, born in Cameroon. She studied at the Rotterdam Dance Academy (Codarts) and danced with several European companies. In 2009 she made her debut as a choreographer with Aquasomnia, with which she won a prize in the U30 choreography competition in Cologne. In 2016 Wubkje received the BNG Bank Dance Award for choreographic talent and her piece Doubleyou toured the Netherlands with the Korzo Theatre’s Dansclick company. She has choreographed works for the Danish Dance Theater, Nederlands Dans Theater, the Dutch National Ballet and the Junior Company van HNB, Ballet Dortmund, BalletX, Noverre, National Youth Ballet of John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet, Hessische Staatsballett and Beijing Dance Academy. Her duet Two and Only for the Dutch National Ballet received international acclaim. Dance Magazine included Wubkje in their Top25 to watch list for 2019.

Ernst Meisner is a choreographer, and since 2013 also the artistic coordinator of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. He has danced with The Royal Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. He began choreographing early in his dancing career. His choreographies for the Dutch National Ballet include Saltarello (2012), And after we were (2012) and a production for very young children, De kleine grote kist (2011). In early 2013 he created Study in Six, to music by Jude Vaclavik, for the New York Choreographic Institute, allied with the New York City Ballet. He has also made choreographies for dance films by Crystal Ballet, and for Bounden, a dance game/app made by GameOven Studios. In 2014 Meisner made Axiom of Choice for the Dutch National Ballet for their Back to Bach programme and in 2016, he created the duet Merge for the Transatlantic programme. His recent creations for the Junior Company include Embers (2013), Lollapalooza (2013) and No Time Before Time (2016). For Made in Amsterdam he created a new work in 2017, In Transit. In 2018 his Impermanence had its premiere. Since September 2018, Ernst Meisner has been the artistic director of the National Ballet Academy (NBA).

Australian Remi Wörtmeyer joined the Dutch National Ballet in 2010 as a grand sujet and a year later was promoted to soloist. Since 2013 he has been a principal dancer with the company. He trained at the Australian Ballet School and joined The Australian Ballet in Melbourne then danced with the American Ballet Theatre in New York for a year. He is a winner of the Walter Burke Award (2005) and won a silver medal at the eighth Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition in 2001. In 2014 his Homebody, a multidisciplinary performance by theatre group ODD Continent which he choreographed, premiered in the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg. In 2016 the company premiered Morning Blossoms, for which he once again did the choreography. Since then he has created various choreographies that have frequently been performed at international ballet galas. Remi’s latest creation You Before Me premiered at the Dutch National Ballet’s 2018 Gala. In 2018, he also made a choreography for Ballet de Catalunya, inspired by the work of Piet Mondriaan.

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Credits

Prometheus Project
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pianist
Michael Mouratch
light
Bert Dalhuysen
film
Altin Kaftira

Prometheus Project - Eagle
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dancer
Sem Sjouke
choreography
Ernst Meisner
music
Ludwig van Beethoven – Theme and Variations 1-6 from 32 Variations in C minor
costumes & make-up
Ernst Meisner ism. Kostuumatelier Het Nationale Ballet
Prometheus Project - Prometheus’s Vlam
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dancer
Erica Horwood
choreography
Remi Wörtmeyer
music
Ludwig van Beethoven – Variations 17-21 from 32 Variations in C minor
costumes & make-up
Tatyana van Walsum

Prometheus Project - Prometheus
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dancer
Timothy van Poucke
choreography
Wubkje Kuindersma
music
Ludwig van Beethoven – Variations 31 and 32 from 32 Variations in C minor
costumes & make-up
Wubkje Kuindersma ism. Kostuumatelier Het Nationale Ballet

This performance was made possible with support by