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Portrait Hans Van ManenHans van Manen was born in Nieuwer. In 1951 van Manen had his first ballet classes from Sonia Gaskell, who invited him to join her group Ballet Recital. In 1952 he joined the Nederlands Opera Ballet, under Françoise Adret, for which he created his first ballet Feestgericht in 1957. Later on he was engaged as a dancer with Roland Petit’s company in Paris, returning to the Nederlands in 1960 as a dancer and choreographer and in 1971 as Artistic Director and choreographer. He created almost forty ballets for this company, bringing with them international recognition to the Nederlands Dans Theater. During the next two years he worked as a free-lance choreographer until 1973, when he joined Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam as producer and choreographer. In 1988 he returned to the Nederlands Dans Theater as Resident Choreographer. His ballets have been performed by the Opera of Berlin, Houston Ballet, Canadian National Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Danish Royal Ballet, the Opera of Vienna, Transforum of Köln and Alvin Ailey.

Bits and Pieces. Hans Van Manen 1984


Bits and Pieces with Hans Van Manen
  • Choreography: Hans Van Manen
  • Music: David Byrne, Brian Eno, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
  • Sets and customes: Kesso Dekker
  • Light design: Jan Hofstra
  • Worldpremier by the Het Nationale Ballet at the Stadtschouwburg of Amsterdam, 2 on june 2th, 1984. World premiered by the Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Teatro de La Zarzuela in Madrid, on December 13th, 1991.

Fantasy. Hans Van Manen 1993

Fantasia. Dancer Partners
  • Choreography: Hans van Manen
  • Music: Johan Sebastian Bach: Chorale Prelude Ich ruf zu Dir, BWV 639 Praludium in a-minor (Fantasie). BWV 922
  • Sets and costumes: Keso Dekker
  • Light: Joop Caboort
  • Staging: Mea Venema
  • World premiered by Nederlands Dans Theater at AT&T Danstheater, Den Haag, April 15th, 1993. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, November 22nd, 1996.

Van Manen set Fantasía to a chorale prelude, prelude and chorale adaptation in Busoni`s piano adaptation of Bach. The set designer, Keso Dekker, designed a black framework -with transparent wings that protrude slightly onto the stage and are marked at the bottom by little red lights - in which three women appear. Their sensual undulating hip movements made in unison entice the men, whose response in allegro is powerful, almost robust. Then the tone becomes more serious. Both sexes take up positions opposite each other. They stand frozen for a moment on opposite sides of the stage, face to face, as if at the beginning of a competition, waiting.

A duet follows. Its tone, mainly lyrical, has a youthful, fresh accent. After a powerful, then often repeated, intermezzo by the group, another duet follows. This time it is powerful and militant, although there are also moments of tenderness and abandonment. Then a wonder takes place. The intensive sounds of Bach`s piano suddenly begin to resemble those of Beethoven, of his Adagio Hammerklavier, to which Van Manen set his ballet of the same name for dancers of the Dutch National Ballet in 1973. Here too, the women of the couples are lifted into the air one by one until they form a closely knit collective that together performs a very subdued dance. In this literal excerpt, twenty years later, Van Manen`s creation again comes to life but in another form.

Time and place have changed, the action is the same. This brief flashback is as much a grand invention as it is a tribute to the dancers. That time has not stood still is also evident in the exquisite closing duet, which again clearly demonstrates that Van Manen`s style has evolved under the influence of these dancers: it has been rejuvenated without loss of depth or power.

Isabelle Lanze, "Trouw", April 1993



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    • Texts: CND