Electrifying, edgy and inventive ballet
In Four Seasons, Dutch National Ballet presents two new creations by internationally celebrated choreographers David Dawson and Christopher Wheeldon. With choreographies set to Max Richter's atmospheric adaptation of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and music by Joni Mitchell, they give a new meaning to the classical ballet technique.
With the Dutch premiere of Dawson’s The Four Seasons and the European premiere of Wheeldon’s The Two of Us, the programme of Four Seasons provides an exciting insight into the latest developments in the choreographic world.
The Four Seasons, David Dawson
As a part of this programme, associate artist at National Ballet David Dawson’s The Four Seasons, a co-production with Semperoper Ballett, will have its Dutch premiere. Dawson is known for demanding his dancers to surrender themselves completely to the choreography, in order for both them and the audience to be transported to a otherworldly, poetic and yet sublime reality. For this choreography, he was inspired by Max Richter's arrangement of Vivaldi's famous Four Seasons. The result is a monumental and distinctly athletic work with the cycle of life as its subject. In The Four Seasons, Dawson uses his aesthetic movement language and snapshots of many lives in constant change to tell a personal story about the course of the seasons.
Dawson attributes the success of his works partly to the special, intense collaborations with composers and set, costume and lighting designers. He even refers to his work as 'Gesamtkunstwerken'. Dawson created The Four Seasons, just like previous pieces, in close collaboration with his regular creative team: the German set designer Eno Henze, the Japanese costume designer and former principal with Dutch National Ballet Yukimo Takeshima and the Dutch lighting designer Bert Dalhuysen. Henze created a set design for The Four Seasons in which the four seasons are represented by various geometric figures which are floating through the stage space.
The Two of Us, Christopher Wheeldon
“When ballet dancers go folk or pop, it can be forced and awkward, but the outcome here is good: like a casual outfit through which you can sense the bones of classical technique underneath”, The New York Times wrote about Christopher Wheeldon’s latest creation The Two of Us. Wheeldon choreographed this work to four wistful songs by the famous Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and allows the clear but melancholic sentiment that characterises this music to resonate in his choreography. With free, spontaneous movements full of emotion and in both solos and pas de deux, the two dancers carrying this piece tell the story of two people who are drifting away from each other. A story that speaks of memory, longing and vulnerability, but that is, above all, utterly genuine and heart-catching.
In the last couple of years, Christopher Wheeldon has proved himself a highly versatile choreographer. With Dutch National Opera & Ballet he successively presented his works Continuum (2005), Tryst (2009), Duet (2012) and Concerto Concordia (2015) and in 2012 he choreographed the full-length ballet fairytale Cinderella, a co-production of Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. His latest work The Two of Us will have its European premiere as part of Four Seasons.
- The Four Seasons
- David Dawson
- Max Richter
- Eno Henze
- Bert Dalhuysen
- Yumiko Takeshima
- The Two of Us
- Christopher Wheeldon
- Joni Mitchell
- Wijnand van der Horst
- Harriet Jung, Reid Bartelme
LinksHet Nationale Ballet
British choreographer David Dawson (1972, London, United Kingdom) is associate artist with Dutch National Ballet and one of today’s leading ballet choreographers. His creations shed new light on classical ballet technique and have been praised by critics and audiences worldwide. Dawson was a dancer with Dutch National Ballet from 1995 to 2000 and was resident choreographer with the company from 2004 to 2006. Since 2015, he has returned to the company as Artistic Associate, a position he has also held since 2000 with the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden. Previously, from 2007 to 2012, he had been resident choreographer with both Semperoper Ballett and Ballet Vlaanderen in Antwerp.
Dawson’s ballets have been performed in more than 25 countries and are in the repertoire of leading companies all over Europe and in America, Asia and Oceania, including The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet in London, Scottish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich, Ballet National de Marseille, Wiener Staatsballett, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, West Australian Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet. Dawson was the first British choreographer to create a work for the legendary Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg, Reverence, for which he received the highest Russian theatre award, the Golden Mask Award.
In 2000, Dawson created his first large-scale work for Dutch National Ballet: A Million Kisses to My Skin. This was followed by a great many works for the company, which often received major nominations and awards. For instance, for The Grey Area (2002) he was nominated for the British Critics’ Circle National Dance Award. He also received nominations for the ‘Zwaan’ award for Most Impressive Dance Production for 00:00 (2004) and Overture (2013). For The Gentle Chapters (2006), Dawson was presented with both the Benois de la Danse Award and the Choo San Goh Award. Edo Wijnen, soloist with Dutch National Ballet, was nominated for the ‘Zwaan’ award for Most Impressive Dance Achievement for his solo role in Dawson’s Citizen Nowhere (2017) and won the Alexandra Radius Prize for the same role in 2018.
Recent creations by Dawson for Dutch National Ballet are the full-length Tristan + Isolde (2018) and Requiem (2019). The Dutch premiere of Dawson’s The Four Seasons, for which he was nominated for the Saxon Dance Prize, will take place in the Holland Festival 2021. In 2010, Dawson was also nominated for the British Critics’ Circle National Dance Award and the Benois de la Dance Award for Faun(e), which he created for English National Ballet. Besides Tristan + Isolde, his full-length works also include contemporary interpretations of Swan Lake (Scottish Ballet) and Giselle (Semperoper Ballett).
Dawson has been a jury member of the Prix Benois de la Danse in Moscow and the Dance Open International Ballet Festival in St Petersburg. In 2019, he was given the honorary title of Artistic Patron of Junior Ballet Antwerp and that of Choreographer Laureate with the European School of Ballet in Amsterdam.
English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has been an Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet since 2012. Wheeldon trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet from 1991 to 1993. In 1993, he was invited to join New York City Ballet, where he was promoted to soloist in 1998. In 2000, he ended his dancing career to devote himself entirely to his choreography.
Wheeldon created his first work, Slavonic Dances, for the Diamond Project of New York City Ballet in 1997. After that, he was resident choreographer with this company from 2001 to 2008. Since then, Wheeldon has created works for, amongst others, The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and The Metropolitan Opera; he was also the first British choreographer to create a new choreography for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2007, he founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, with which he remained associated until 2010.
At Dutch National Ballet, Wheeldon successively staged Continuum (2005) and Tryst (2009). He went on to create Duet (2012) and Concerto Concordia (2015) for the company, and in 2012 he also created a new full-length version of the ballet fairytale Cinderella, a co-production of Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. For this production he was awarded with the Prix Benois de la Danse, also known as ‘the Oscar of dance’. Wheeldons latest work The Two of Us will have its European premiere with Dutch National Ballet during the Holland Festival 2021, as part of the programme of Four Seasons.
Wheeldon’s other successful full-length productions include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011, The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada), The Winter’s Tale (2014, The Royal Ballet) and The Nutcracker (2016, Joffrey Ballet). For The Winter’s Tale, he received his second Prix Benois de la Danse for best choreographer. Furthermore, Wheeldon choreographed the closing ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 and made his musical debut with An American in Paris in 2014. This production was awarded with no less than four Tony Awards, including the award for best choreography.
Wheeldon was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2016 for ‘services to promote the interests and reputation of British classical and theatre dance worldwide’. The new musical about Michael Jackson, MJ, for which Wheeldon is both directing and choreographing, was supposed to premiere on Broadway in the summer of 2020, but has been postponed due to the corona crisis.
- This performance was made possible with support by