source: Intro Dance
Hans van Manen (Nieuwer Amstel, 1932) is the master of simplicity. The largest choreographer in our country, with an oeuvre of more than 120 works, is not only the most productive choreographer in the Netherlands, he is also the most consistent. His work has an unmistakable signature: clear, uncluttered, sleek elements that earned him the nickname ‘Mondrian of dance’. With Van Manen ‘less’ is always ‘more’ and although he likes to use the adage ‘dance expresses nothing but dance’, his ballets are indeed about something. They are about people, about human relationships. In the midst of all apparent simplicity, Van Manen manages to evoke a world of feelings with one look, one hand gesture.
Ballet lessons from Sonia Gaskell
As a seven-year-old Van Manen danced between the sliding doors, but he had no idea how to become a dancer or where: the circus seemed to be the most appropriate place for him. In 1946, the fascinating world of ballet came a step closer, when he was apprenticed as a curly boy to make-up artist and stage hairdresser Herman Michels. Van Manen then received his first ballet lessons from Sonia Gaskell , who included him in her group Ballet Recital in 1951. A year later he transferred to the Ballet of the Dutch Opera, where he made his debut as a choreographer in 1957 with Feestgericht, which was awarded the State Prize for Choreography. Van Manen was also briefly associated with Roland Petit ’s Ballets de Paris. But he returned to the Netherlands in 1960, when he was asked to work as a dancer and choreographer at the newly founded Nederlands Dans Theater . A year later he was also appointed artistic director of this company.
More than twenty Van Manen work on Introdans repertoire
Over the past fifty years, Van Manen has worked alternately with the Nederlands Dans Theater and the Dutch National Ballet . He has been a permanent choreographer with the latter company since 2005. In addition, as the third company in the Netherlands, Introdans also has an extensive Van Manen repertoire, now consisting of more than twenty choreographies. Many of his ballets are ideal for a young audience. It is not without reason that Introdans has released various Van Manen programs since 2000. The last, the family performance HOERA FOR HANS, was specially presented in 2017 on the occasion of the eighty-fifth birthday of the master choreographer.
Abroad, Van Manen’s work has been performed by more than fifty companies, including the Stuttgarter Ballett, Bayerisches Staatsballett München, the Ballett der Deutschen Oper am Rhein , Wiener Staatsballett , Zürcher Ballett , the English Royal Ballet , San Francisco Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada . Because of his great significance for dance, Van Manen has received numerous Dutch and foreign prizes, including the Sonia Gaskell Prize, the Choreography Prize of the Association of Theater and Concertgebouw Directors, the Deutsche Tanzpreis, the Musikpreis der Stadt Duisburg, the Erasmus Prize and theBenois de de la Danse Life Time Achievement Award. In 2007 he was appointed Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion , a royal award for ‘merits of a very exceptional nature’. In addition to his work as a choreographer, Van Manen was also a photographer for ten years. His work was published in book form and was exhibited at home and abroad.
Ballets on the Introdans repertoire:
- duet from Ajakaboembie (1995)
- parts from Bits and Pieces (1997)
- Scraps (1999)
- In the Future (1999, 2015)
- Clogs (1999)
- Ajaka boembie (full version, 2000)
- In and Out (2000)
- Pitch Control (2001)
- Squares (2002)
- Septet Extra (2002)
- part from Polish Pieces (2003)
- Sticky Piece (2003)
- On the Move (2003)
- duet from Black Cake (2003)
- Shorthand / Six Stravinsky Pieces (2004)
- Andante (2004)
- Sunday (2005)
- Visions Fugitives (2005)
- Bits and Pieces (full version, 2007)
- Zero Hour (2007)
- Ballet Scenes (2008)
- Three Pieces (2009)
- Composition (2010)
- Polish Pieces (entire version, 2012)
- Black Cake (full version, 2017)