A new generation of choreographers in action


Het Nationale Ballet

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They’re young, talented and trained in classical ballet. The Dutch National Ballet has invited four young choreographers from either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Comprising four high energy choreographies, Transatlantic includes two world premieres of new work by Dutchman Ernst Meisner and the British choreographer George Williamson. Also on show are David Dawson’s acclaimed piece Overture and from New York rising star Justin Peck’s hit production Year of the Rabbit, an ode to the imagination performed to music by singer songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

Background information

They live in New York, London, Berlin and Amsterdam, yet share the same passion: taking ballet in totally new directions on the basis of classical technique. In Transatlantic, Dutch National Ballet is bringing together four young ‘rebels of dance’ from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Justin Peck, George Williamson, David Dawson and Ernst Meisner will present the state of the art of twenty-first-century ballet, in Transatlantic.

Rising star Justin Peck might be new to Dutch (and European) audiences, but on the international stage he's already made quite an impact and of course made headlines for becoming the young, new resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet in 2014. Although he is only 27, he has already produced more than 20 works, which haven given contemporary ballet 'a shot of adrenalin'. In this programme Peck's acclaimed Year of the Rabbit will be performed, set to music by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Combining pure joy of dance with a wonderful feeling for structure and switching between group and solo parts in unexpected ways, this choreography is an ode to the power of imagination. The New York Times' review of Year of the Rabbit said: ‘It was a triumph not just for Mr. Peck but also for the New York City Ballet (..) The audience responded with ovation after ovation. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who wished the whole 30-minute dance could have been encored immediately.’

Even younger than Peck is the talented British choreographer George Williamson. In 2013, at only 22, he was nominated for a Benois de la Danse (the Oscar of dance) for his work Firebird, along with fellow nominees Hans van Manen and Christopher Wheeldon. As associate artist at the English National Ballet, he has shown great passion for the craft of choreography as well as an unmistakably individual style. Commissioned last year by the Dutch National Ballet to create a new work for their Junior Company, he choreographed Dawn Dances, a wonderful ensemble piece which gives each individual dancer the opportunity to shine as well. The success of Dawn Dances has led to a new commission for Transatlantic.

The third work in this programme, David Dawson's Overture, has also received nothing but praise from press and public alike. Created for Dutch National Ballet in 2013, Dawson's choreography was nominated for the Dutch 'Zwaan' for Most Impressive Dance Production. In this dazzling ballet inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem The Four Quartets, eighteen dancers combine graceful, powerful and virtuoso dancing with vulnerable emotions of suffering and love.

Transatlantic will be concluded with a world premiere from Dutchman Ernst Meisner. In 2013, Meisner left as a dancer with Dutch National Ballet to become artistic coordinator for the Junior Company. In this role, as well as elsewhere, he has demonstrated his exceptional talent as a choreographer. Having danced with the English Royal Ballet for years as well, his work is influenced by both Dutch and British ballet styles, incorporating them into a new, individual and very refreshing idiom.



Over the past 50 years, the Dutch National Ballet has evolved into one of the world's foremost ballet companies, and occupies a leading position in the cultural scene of The Netherlands. With a unique and wide repertoire, a tradition of innovation and around 80 dancers and the Junior Company from all over the world, the company is one of the major players in the Dutch cultural landscape – and well beyond. 

It is by far the largest dance company in The Netherlands. The Dutch National Ballet performs ballet at the very highest level: from classical to contemporary, from narrative to abstract, and from their own repertoire to international works. The company operates between tradition and innovation, combining respect and love for classical ballet knowledge handed down from generation to generation with an impassioned curiosity about new ways of experiencing dance. Ballet in all its manifestations, from historical works to brand-new creations – that is what the Dutch National Ballet stands for.




David Dawson, Ernst Meisner, Justin Peck, George Williamson
ao Szymon Brzóska, Sufjan Stevens
musical accompaniment
Het Balletorkest cond. by Matthew Rowe
Het Nationale Ballet

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