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Choreographer Ernst Meisner: 'What works for me is an empty studio where I turn on the music at night and walk around for a hundred hours'

Choreographer Ernst Meisner (1982) is artistic coordinator of the Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company and artistic director of the National Ballet Academy. As a former dancer, he knows that you have to get out of the rehearsal studio, onto the stage. That's why he makes sure his dancers and dancers-in-training keep dancing in front of an audience as much as possible, even if the performances are online because of corona. 'I... 

Why I get nostalgic seeing Variations by Hans van Manen at the Dutch National Ballet

Why I get nostalgic seeing Variations by Hans van Manen at the Dutch National Ballet

If every ballet is about discipline, it is certainly something that applies to Hans van Manen's ballets. Discipline in the music, in the beat, in the simplicity. How ballet creates order in movement, measures space, establishes relationships: you will find it all in the works of Holland's most renowned dance maker. The six parts of the programme Variations... 

Two unique (dance) productions created in pandemic Tears of Peter and the National New Year's Blessing

Two unique (dance) productions created in a pandemic: Tears of Peter and the National New Year's Blessing

It is remarkable to see two productions bringing together dance and faith in a short time. Dancer Marijn Rademaker (former soloist Het Nationale Ballet) portrays the suffering of the apostle in Di Lasso's Tears of Petrus by Nederlands Kamerkoor and Dance Company Nanine Linning, dancer and recently assistant artistic director of The Dutch Don't Dance Division Kiran Bonnema portrays the change in the life of the still-young patriarch Jacob in EO's National New Year's Blessing.

Dance film The Garden shows the very bearable lightness of existence

Dance film The Garden shows the very bearable lightness of existence

The Garden is a new dance film by Sem, now also a dancer with the Dutch National Ballet, which premiered last week. The choreography is by British dancer Pascal Johnson, with five dancers dancing on the roof of artist Jean Dubuffet's famous artwork Jardin d'émail in the sculpture garden of the Kröller-Möller Museum. That in itself is special enough, however, it is the optimism of the dance film that impresses.

Frida, poignant images of a tormented soul. Or vice versa.

Full-length classical ballet Frida once again creates the Annabelle effect

How many female choreographers do you know who create a full-length ballet for a top classical ballet company? - I thought. Before going to Frida, I get word that a Latin American young woman has been hospitalised. Loss of a lot of blood, and unborn child. The cheerful girl I know weakly raises a thumb from the hospital bed on WhatsApp.... 

Why Conny Janssen Danst will win this year. Dance award nominees Swans 2019 announced.

The nominations for the 2019 Swans have been announced. Here is my annual prediction of who will win one. Spoiler alert. This year, it will be a cautious prediction. Even though in past years I wasn't far wrong (sometimes completely right) in guessing the winners, now when it comes to the dancers, you have to choose from superlatives: 'let them be on a... 

Phenomenal ballet needs no message for Holland Festival 2019

Phenomenal ballet needs no message for Holland Festival 2019

With all the socially critical, exotic and personal life art at the Holland Festival, Van Manen, Forsythe, Arqués is actually an outlier, a statement without a message. Dance has enough on its own, expresses itself full-length. And how. Work of overwhelming quality. How much better can it get? At most by giving it a message anyway. There is room there. The rest is complete.... 

What is it with the dance sector in Amsterdam? Another dance production house is being deprived of subsidies.

Is production house Dansmakers Amsterdam losing its housing? Together with other institutions in the dance sector, it has made every effort to align and further develop the whole spectrum of dance facilities in Amsterdam. In 2018, for example, the joint plan Danswerf was developed and submitted as an application for a two-year development grant to the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK)... 

Forty times a year to TivoliVredenburg: 'You get everywhere if you love music, eh.'

Peter Vossen says he experiences live concerts on average twice a week. Not just in TivoliVredenburg, although he visited there almost 40 times last year. 'I also see a lot of free concerts on the streets and in cafés, of course.' Jazz is his great love, but he also attends soul, funk, Latin or pop concerts. Regularly, he can be found 

Fit during Significant Moments of NDT2

Vulnerable surrender for NDT2 in Significant Moments

Moving. Before Significant Moments begins, the brisk Fernando Hernando Magadan presents himself as the new artistic director of NDT2. Applause in the auditorium. But the reason he stands behind a lectern with a huge flower arrangement is to pay tribute to the retiring artistic director: Gerald Tibbs. Gerald Tibbs. The peerless dancer everyone could walk away from 

Thierry Aartsen of the VVD is quite right. And no idea.

'Culture is about stimulating, fraternising, challenging. Then there is no difference between corso and ballet.' Says Thierry Aartsen on Friday 16 November in the Volkskrant. Thierry who? Thierry Aartsen, the one who will be speaking on culture at the VVD in the coming months. In the coming months? Yes, because VVD culture spokesmen are usually appointed for one or two debates, after which... 

New York Dance Theatre of Harlem

In New York with two choreographers from the Netherlands. 'So refreshing and unlike anything we have done the last few years.'

Between the buildings, streaks of sunlight invade the endless streets. Yellow taxis accentuate the colourful, vibrant street scene that looks like candy canes. On either side, countless floors and windows rise skyward. On one of those floors on 42nd Street, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is rehearsing the final scenes of Balamouk, a new creation by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Who also... 

RULE OF THREE by Jan Martens © Phile Deprez

Nominations Swans 2018 known, so who will win?

The Association of Theatre and Concert Hall Directors and Festival de Nederlandse Dansdagen announce the annual nominations for the VSCD Dance Awards (the Swans). Nominated for the Swan 'most impressive dance production' are: Rule of Three, choreography: Jan Martens, by GRIP The hidden floor, choreography: Franck Chartier, by Nederlands Dans Theater We Are Nowhere Else But Here, choreography: Stephen Shropshire, by Stephen Shropshire Foundation,... 

Merlijn Twaalfhoven on SPOT-Live: 'Outside the Randstad lies a huge source of inspiration'

'I have knocked on the door of the Congress of Performing Arts a few times in recent years on my own initiative, really from the idea that we can do a lot more as venues in the Netherlands. But yes, every time I was there, people got enthusiastic, but does it stick?' Composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven is happy that he now serves as 'curator' of SPOT Live, the new... 

Dutch National Ballet DUTCH DOUBLES premiere 23 March 2018 Amsterdam

Wende Snijders turns ballet temple upside down in Dutch Doubles

In Dutch Doubles 2018 by the Dutch National Ballet, choreographers collaborate with other artists for the second time. The chemical reaction between Wende Snijders and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa almost blows up the formula. BAM! The audience jumps up. BAM!"It had to take 11 years for me to make something here again?", choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa seems to be saying. The Belgian/Colombian is lumbering... 

ITA is a hopeless name for an art house. But there is no alternative for Amsterdam's city theatre

Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam will continue together as 'Internationa(a)l Theater Amsterdam' (ITA). Not to be confused with the just-removed Internationaal Danstheater Amsterdam. I find the name 'ITA' rather chilly. Maybe as cold as Toneelgroep, but at least that still contained the word 'group'. That has something cosy about it. ITA is something like ING. Great ambition and no roots. For a moment... 

Last 7 Words Dutch Don't Dance

'This is God'. Choreographer Thom Stuart sets Haydn's Last 7 Words to dance.

First there was Kinder Matteüs: an interactive musical production with the Holland Baroque Society and the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor. Now The Dutch Junior Dance Division with the Matangi Quartet brings Last 7 Words to music by Haydn. You came to church every day, didn't you?" I ask Thom Stuart. No, the choreographer firmly denies. 'I never come to church.' 

Spirit of Trump haunts press presentation National Opera & Ballet

'Before we start the actual presentation, let me give you some facts & figures,' says Els van der Plas, general director of the National Opera & Ballet. 'No, not the alternative facts,' she adds wittily. The ghost of the US president will be through the Stopera more often this afternoon. Van der Plas recalls the successes that... 

Quirky Veem sets example for dance sector

Het Veem is a small but important theatre and unofficial production house overlooking the Houthavens in Amsterdam. The house has long been home to internationally operating contemporary performing arts. A place where the artist and his or her experimental work are still central. Since Anne Breure became director in 2014, it bears the addition House of Performance. With... 

Bombyx Mori, a brilliant explosion between something and nothing

While things are rumbling in the Amsterdam dance and performance world due to a total lack of solid support for development and experimentation (see Alarm Letter), choreographer Ola Maciejewska is showing the impressive Bombyx Mori at Veem House of Performance this weekend. Maciejewska is a fine example of a talented maker who has taken refuge elsewhere because of the crumbling art climate in the Netherlands. After... 


Choreographer/artist Toer van Schayk is an inspired human being

The enthusiasm that characterised Toer van Schayk and his generation of choreographers is disappearing. With the programme Dutch Masters, the Dutch National Ballet is honouring an era. The success of Toer van Schayk and his generation If it is up to the public, the master ballets of the three great Van's (Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk) may stay for a while longer. As one man stood... 

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