Three generations, three premieres

Van Manen, Forsythe, Arqués

Dutch National Ballet

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Three generations of choreographers, two acclaimed works by the great masters William Forsythe and Hans van Manen, and one world premiere of Young Creative Associate Juanjo Arqués. This programme contains three choreographies never seen before at Dutch National Ballet. Van Manen’s Kleines Requiem (1993) is a dark and mysterious choreography on the third and fourth movement of Górecki's Kleines Requiem für eine Polka. Forsythe’s Pas/ Parts (1999) is one of the last large-scale ballets he created in Paris - remarkable for its white lighting and Thom Willems’ electronic music. Tanz Magazine proclaimed Arqués as the most promising choreographer of 2017. For Ignite he was inspired by William Turner's painting The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons. Just like Turner, Arqués tells a story by addressing the senses. Music becomes a canvas for choreography.


Dutch National Ballet is a regular partner of the Holland Festival. 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 76 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.


Hans van Manen (1932) has succeeded in bringing modern ballet – as a combination of classical ballet and modern dance and movement techniques – to a wide audience.

Van Manen's international fame is widespread, illustrated by the fact that his ballets are performed by more than fifty companies worldwide. The international stars who have performed his ballets include Anthony Dowell, Marcia Haydée, Natalia Makarova and Rudolf Nureyev. To date, Van Manen has created more than 120 ballets. Besides being a choreographer, Hans van Manen has also been active as a photographer for ten years. His work has been included in international books and exhibitions. Hans van Manen had his first ballet lessons in the late forties from Sonia Gaskell, who engaged him in her group Ballet Recital in 1951. Van Manen went on to dance with the Netherlands Opera Ballet and Roland Petit's Ballets de Paris. In 1957, he made his debut as a choreographer with the ballet Feestgericht, which received the State Award for Choreography. From 1961 onwards, Van Manen has worked alternately with the two main dance companies of the Netherlands. After co-directing Nederlands Dans Theater, he became a resident choreographer – first with the Dutch National Ballet, then with Nederlands Dans Theater. Since 2005, he has held the post of resident choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet. In 2007, Hans Van Manen was made a Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 2013, he was appointed a patron of the National Ballet Academy (part of the Amsterdam School of the Arts).Van Manen received the Erasmus Award (2000) and the Golden Age Award (2013). Since 2015 he is a member of the Dutch Academie for Arts. In July 2017 he received the title of 'Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres', which is the highest cultural state distinction in France in the field of art and literature.


The American dancer and choreographer William Forsythe (1949) is regarded as one of the most influential innovators within contemporary dance. His work is acknowledged for reorienting the practice of ballet from its identification with classical repertoire to a dynamic 21st century art form. Forsythes deep interest in the fundamental principles of organisation has led him to produce a wide range of projects including Installations, Films, and Web based knowledge creation.

Forsythe trained at the Jacksonville University in Florida and the School of American Ballet in New York. He danced with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. In 1976 he moved to Stuttgart to become the house choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet. In 1984 he became director of the Ballett Frankfurt. In 2004 he formed his own ensemble, The Forsythe Company. His work has received international acclaim, having received three Bessie Awards, two Laurence Olivier Awards and the Nijinsky Award. In collaboration with media specialists and educators, Forsythe has developed new approaches to dance documentation, research, and education. His 1994 computer application Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye, developed with the ZKM / Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, is used as a teaching tool by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, postgraduate architecture programs, and secondary schools worldwide. 2009 marked the launch of Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced, a digital online score developed with The Ohio State University that reveals the organisational principles of the choreography and demonstrates their possible application within other disciplines. Synchronous Objects is the pilot project for Forsythe's Motion Bank, a research platform focused on the creation and research of online digital scores in collaboration with guest choreographers. In 2010, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale.

His work has been performed regularly at the Holland Festival. In 2011, one of Forsythe's choreographies featured in Bill & Mr. B. and the choreographic installation City of Abstracts was staged at Amsterdam's Central Station and public library. In 2012, the French choreographer Benjamin Millepied staged a version of Forsythe’s Quintett (1993). In 2014, Forsythe returned with The Returns.


Juanjo Arqués (1977) is a Spanish choreographer based in Amsterdam. Before moving to the Netherlands, he danced with Ballet Victor Ullate and with English National Ballet. Mr. Arqués joined Dutch National Ballet in 2004 under the direction of Ted Brandsen, and three years later he was promoted to Soloist. He performed works by notable choreographers including William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, David Dawson and Hans van Manen. In 2012 he decided to stop his dancing career to focus exclusively on choreography. Four years later he was appointed as Young Creative Associate by Het National Ballet. Mr. Arqués has created the majority of his works for Dutch National Ballet and its junior ensemble but also has produce creations for international ballet companies and festivals such as the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Theatre Ballet Moscow, Compañia Nacional de Danza, NRW Junior Ballet Dortmund, New York Choreographic Institute, Origen Cultural Festival, Whim W’him, and Continuum Contemporary Ballet. He has been named "Promising Talent Of Year 2017" by Tanz Magazine for his latest work ‘Homo Ludens’ for Dutch National Ballet. In 2014 he was nominated for the Dutch Dans Awards Prize and in 2016 for the prestigious Golden Mask Awards in Moscow for best choreographer and best classical production for ‘Minos’ with theRussian Ballet Moskva. Mr. Arqués is a versatile choreographer who works within the dance field but also in theatre, films, fashion and performing arts. In 2014 he collaborated staging the theatre production‘Vaslav’ based on Arthur Japin's novel of Vaslav Nijisnky’s and ‘Performing Gender’, a European dance project on the research themes for identity and sexual orientation at the Mambo Museum in Bologna. In 2016 film directors Saskia Boddeke and Peter Greenaway commissioned Mr. Arqués to choreograph a poetic multi-screen-video installation inspired by Matisse’s paintings ‘La Danse’ and ‘La Musique’ at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Last summer he was invited to the New York University as a guest artist to research on his choreographic vision in dance.



William Forsythe
Thom Willems
light, set
William Forsythe
Stephen Galloway
Kleines Requiem
Hans van Manen
Henryk Mikolaj Górecki - Kleines Requiem für eine Polka, opus 66: Tranquillo; Allegro – deciso assai; Adagio cantabile
set, costumes
Keso Dekker
Joop Caboort
Juanjo Arqués
Kate Whitley
Fabienne Vegt
set, costumes
Tatyana van Walsum
Bert Dalhuysen
in coproduction with
Birmingham Royal Ballet
music performed by
Het Balletorkest o.l.v. Matthew Rowe

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