Magazine article Pointe

A Birthday Fête for Hans Van Manen

Magazine article Pointe

A Birthday Fête for Hans Van Manen

Article excerpt

A Birthday Fête for Hans van Manen

To celebrate the 75th birthday of master choreographer Hans van Manen, the Dutch National Ballet presented the Hans van Manen Festival at Het Muziektheater in Amsterdam in September. Twenty-five works from his impressive oeuvre were performed not only by his own company, the Dutch National Ballet, but also by the Netherlands Dance Theater, Introdans and five international companies. There were six programs in all.

Van Manen has been extremely important for the development of Dutch dance, as a choreographer and artistic director of both Dutch National Ballet and NDT. Like Jiri Kylian, he fuses classical and modern dance technique. His ballets appear light, athletic and glamorous. They are full of speed and intense partnering. Because of the works' clarity and their lack of sentimentality, he has been called the "Mondriaan of the Dance" and "the maestro of simplicity."

Van Manen created Two Pieces for HET for Sofiane Sylve in 1997 At the festival's gala opening, she returned to dance this challenging duet with Alexander Zhembrovkyy. The ballet starts with speed, followed by an adagio-an extreme adjustment that the two performed with unrivaled ease.

All the other ballets, including some from the '70s, were danced by new casts, which was very exciting. Igone de Jongh danced on sky-high heels with Zhembrovkyy in the daring duet Twilight. In Sarcasme she performed with lively elegance, straddle-legged on her toe shoes and looking at her partner, Artem Yachmennikov, with an attitude of boredom. …

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