Hans van Manen
Hans van Manen has been called the Mondrian of ballet, the Versace of ballet, the Pinter of ballet and the Antonioni of ballet. (His) distinctive personal style mixes formal austerity and glassy elegance with erotic charge.
Born in Nieuwer Amstel in 1932. He studied under Françoise Adret, Nora Kiss and famous founder of the Netherlands Ballet Academy in Haague and the Netherlands Ballet Sonia Gaskell. Hans van Manen began his career in 1951 as a member of Sonia Gaskell's Ballet Recital. In 1952 he joined the Nederlandse Opera Ballet, where he created his first ballet, Feestgericht (1957). Later he joined Roland Petit's company in Paris. He began to work with the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1960, first as a dancer (until 1963), next as a choreographer, then as Artistic Director (1961–1971). For the following two years he worked as a freelance choreographer before joining Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam in 1973. From 1988–2003 Hans van Manen was a resident choreographer of NDT, in 2003 he joined the Dutch National Ballet as a resident choreographer.
He is one of the few choreographers who has managed to popularize contemporary dance as a mixture of classical ballet and modern dance. Being an author of over 120 ballets performed worldwide, van Manen is deservedly considered one of the most established choreographers of contemporary ballet. His personal style is always recognizable. Typical for his works clarity of lines and simplicity of composition are born from the chosen musical material, but the choice itself is, as a rule, rather eclectic. Despite all the emotional richness, the characters of his ballets are never sentimental. The core thing is that he spellbinds the audience with an exceptional, utterly polished beauty of movement.
Each of his pieces reveals our own passions and delusions, pride and solitude, our loud laughter and bitter tears.
Wiebke Huster, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung