World premieres by two choreographers.

Sacre du Printemps | Overture

Het Nationale Ballet, Shen Wei, David Dawson

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The Dutch National Ballet presents two world premieres by choreo­graphers who are regarded as being among the most important in their generation.The Chinese-born choreographer Shen Wei is renowned world-wide for his original movement idiom and the incredibly beautiful images he conjures up, combining Chinese calli­graphy with the language of modern dance. In the centenary year of Le Sacre du Printemps Wei has created a new version of the seminal ballet, which will be performed with a live orchestra. Over the last years, former resident choreographer David Dawson has worked freelance with a number of top European companies. After timelapse and day4 Dawson will be back in Amsterdam with a new choreography set to new music.


Shen Wei
Igor Stravinsky
David Dawson
accompanied by
Het Orkest van Het Nationale Ballet
musical direction
Otto Tausk
dansers Het Nationale Ballet
Het Nationale Ballet

About Shen Wei: 'One of the great artists of our time ... infinitely adsorbing.

The Washington Post

background information

The Dutch National Ballet’s contribution to the Holland Festival 2013 consists of two world premieres by two contemporary choreographers who are counted among the most important of their generation. Shen Wei and David Dawson.

Shen Wei, originally from China and known for his impressive contribution to the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, is creating a work for a Dutch company for the first time. The Englishman David Dawson, who has created works for various leading companies in recent years, is renewing his acquaintance with the Dutch National Ballet in an even more intensive collaboration.

The productions by the New York-based Shen Wei are always acclaimed by the international press as breathtaking, powerful and magnetic, due to the original movement idiom and the incredibly beautiful images created by the Chinese choreographer. Ted Brandsen, artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet, already invited him to make a work for the company a few years ago, so he is very happy that this collaboration is now becoming a reality. “Shen Wei combines Chinese calligraphy with modern dance and has thus developed a completely unique visual idiom, which nevertheless appeals to a wide audience”. Wei will make especially for the company a new version of Le Sacre du Printemps.

Brandsen is also happy that former resident choreographer David Dawson will regularly be creating new work for the Dutch National Ballet in the coming years. Dawson, who is currently working as a freelance choreographer from his base in Berlin, has recently choreographed some remarkable works for English National Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Ballet. Last year, he created the overwhelming timelapse/(Mnemosyne) and Day4 for the Dutch National Ballet. Though Dawson’s work is based on classical ballet technique, the British choreographer interprets it in a very personal, modern-poetic way. The Polish composer Szymon Brzóska will create a new work for David Dawson.


British choreographer, David Dawson is one of the most respected names amongst the younger generation of dance-makers working in the classical ballet idiom today. His personal choreographic style transforms classical ballet in new ways, and his signature works are atmospheric, emotionally physical, abstract/narrative pieces that have been praised by critics and audiences worldwide. His works have entered the repertoires of many ballet companies, and have also been performed in more than 25 countries. He received the Prix Benois de la Danse Award in 2002, the Choo San Goh Award in 2004, and Russia's highest theater prize, the Golden Mask Award in 2005 - all three as Best Choreographer. Born in London, he attended the Rona Hart School of Dance, Arts Educational School and The Royal Ballet School, winning the prestigious Prix Professionel at the Prix de Lausanne competition on the year of his graduation. He then went on to dance with Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and Ballett Frankfurt, performing all over the world leading roles in the entire classical repertoire, neo-classical and modern repertoire, in particular the works of George Balanchine and William Forsythe, and working with choreographers including Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Glen Tetley, Hans van Manen, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Bruce, Wayne Eagling, Ted Brandsen, Mauro Bigonzetti and Itzik Gallili. Between 2004 and 2009 Dawson was named Resident Choreographer for the Dutch National Ballet and the Dresden Semperoper Ballet, and since 2010, he has been Choreographer in Residence with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Dawson has created numerous ballets internationally, his most significant works include his full-length Giselle, dancingmadlybackwards, The Third Light, Faun(e), The World According to Us, On the Nature of Daylight, A Sweet Spell of Oblivion, The Disappeared, The Gentle Chapters, Reverence, Morning Ground, 00:00, The Grey Area and A Million Kisses to my Skin. Dawson's latest choreography, timelapse/(Mnemosyne), saw its world premiere with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam during the Holland Festival in 2011. He is currently working on his newest creation, day4, which will have its world premiere on 15 February 2012 as part of Present/s, one the 50th Anniversary celebrations performances of the Dutch National Ballet.


MacArthur Fellowship recipient Shen Wei, who was lead choreographer for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has been widely celebrated for his sophisticated choreography, lighting designs and minimalist costumes, recognized for his abstract paintings and, most recently, for his work in film. Praise for the breadth of his artistic versatility, vision and talent has earned Shen Wei numerous commissions and awards, including the U. S. Artists Fellow Award, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nijinsky Award, Australia’s Helpmann Award for Best Ballet or Dance Work, and two recognitions from The New York Times for creation of one of the year’s best dance performances. The Washington Post has called Shen Wei "One of the great artists of our time" and The New York Times states that, "If there is something to write home about in the dance world, it is the startlingly imaginative work of the Chinese-born choreographer Shen Wei."

Born in Hunan, China, Shen Wei studied Chinese opera from the age of nine. In 1991, he became a founding dancer and choreographer of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the first modern dance company in China. In 1995, he received a scholarship from the Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab and moved to New York City, where in July 2000 he formed Shen Wei Dance Arts. After premiere performances of “Near the Terrace” at the American Dance Festival, Shen Wei’s work was soon seen in Taiwan, at New York’s Asia Society, The Space in London, the Stockholm Dance House, the Brighton Arts Festival, the Festival Theatre Edinburgh, and the Millennium Moves Festival in Germany.

Since forming his company, Shen Wei has received twelve commissions from the American Dance Festival, and others from the Amsterdam Music Theatre, New York City Opera, Lincoln Center Festival, Park Avenue Armory, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Edinburgh International Festival, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, and Teatro Dell’Operadi Roma for a restaging of Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto, conducted by Riccardo Muti. Shen Wei was the first choreographer ever commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a work specifically for one of its galleries, which was performed by his company this past June when it premiered Still Moving. Providing a home for the company during its 2012 season, Shen Wei was recently selected as a fellow for New York City Center’s inaugural Choreography Fellowship Program, a new initiative being launched in conjunction with the theater’s reopening season following a major restoration of the historic venue. The Amsterdam Music Theatre presented several works by Shen Wei. In 2009 Wild Cursive, in 2007 Second Visit to The Empress, in 2005 Connect Transfer en in 2003 Rite of Spring and Folding.


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