Mata Hari, taken in 1910

Mata Hari, taken in 1910

David Mead looks ahead to Dutch National Ballet’s 2015-6 season, one that includes four world premieres, including a new large-scale, full-length “Mata Hari”, choreographed by Ted Brandsen.

Mata Hari was the stage name of Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, one of the most iconic women in Dutch history. A passionate woman, she was continually creating new images of herself. After divorcing her Dutch army officer husband, she moved to Paris where she trained and reinvented herself as an exotic dancer, attracting huge audiences throughout Europe – and a number of aristocratic lovers more than happy to reward her for the pleasure of her company. Those liaisons included some with German politicians and army officers, which not surprisingly caused her to be placed under surveillance during World War I. In 1917 she was accused of being a double-agent and executed.

“Mata Hari” will be a narrative ballet, in which Zelle’s life is brought to life in cinematic scenes. The music is a special commission from British composer Tarik O’Regan. The artistic team also includes Janine Brogt (libretto), François-Noël Cherpin (costume designs) and Clement & Sanôu (set and lighting designs).

Ernst Meisner, artistic coordinator of the Junior Company, and young British choreographer George Williamson will both present new ballets in the “Transatlantic” programme, alongside the European premiere of “Year of the Rabbit” by Justin Peck., resident choreographer of New York City Ballet.

For the first time ever, Dutch National Ballet and Dutch National Opera are working together on a large-scale production, in which dance and opera are equal partners. In the Dutch premiere of Sasha Waltz’s “Roméo & Juliette”, originally created for the Paris Opera, Shakespeare’s famous love drama is interpreted by ballet principals, soloist singers, a corps de ballet and the opera chorus.

A “Best of Balanchine” programme will include his effervescent “Tarantella”, new to the company’s repertory, alongside “Apollon Musagète”, “Stravinsky Violin Concerto” and “Theme and Variations”.

Also new to the repertoire is “Two Gold Variations” by Hans van Manen, created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1999, but not performed in the Netherlands since. The work will appear on a “Hans van Manen Live” programme that, not surprisingly, includes “Live”, his 1979 ballet for a female dancer, a male dancer and a cameraman.

Other season revivals “Overture” by Artistic Associate David Dawson, and Petipa’s “Giselle” and Wayne Eagling’s “The Nutcracker”.

The season will close with “New Moves”, the programme of young choreographic talent, to be presented for the first time on the big stage of the Muziektheater.

The Junior Company will open its third season with a big national tour of thirty performances of “Narnia”, the co-production with urban dance company ISH, which will be premiered in May 2015. The company will also dance a new touring programme, “Ballet Bubbles”, to include a new work by Ernst Meisner, existing ballets by Hans van Manen and Krzysztof Pastor, and a revival of “The little big chest”, a dance performance for young children.

Dutch National Ballet 2015-6 in brief

September 8, 2015

Hans van Manen Live (Metaforen, Two, Two Gold Variations, Live)
September 12-October 14, 2015

October 13-November 15, 2015, including a tour October 27-November 11.

The Nutcracker
December 11, 2015-January 1, 2016

Mata Hari
February 6-25, 2016

Best of Balanchine (Apollon Musagète, Tarantella, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Theme and Variations)
March 25-April 10, 2016

Roméo & Juliette (in collaboration with the Dutch National Opera)
April 15-May 1, 2016

Transatlantic (Year of the Rabbit, new George Williamson ballet, Overture, new Ernst Meisner ballet)
June 1-26, 2016

New Moves
June 28 2016

Hans van Manen Gold (Metaforen, Two, Two Gold Variations, Adagio Hammerklavier)
Dutch tour, April 12-23, 2016

Junior Company 2015-6

Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Dutch tour, September 11-October 30, 2015

Ballet Bubbles
Dutch tour from February 13, 2016

Little big chest
Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, May 3-8, 2016