Martine van Hamel

(b. 1945)

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(b Brussels, 16 Nov. 1945)

Dutch-US dancer, choreographer, and director. The daughter of a diplomat, she studied in Copenhagen, Java, The Hague, Caracas, and with Betty Oliphant at the National Ballet School of Canada (1958–62). She made her debut with the National Ballet of Canada in 1963, becoming principal in 1965. She danced many ballerina roles but after moving to America in 1970 joined the Joffrey Ballet as a soloist, and then joined the corps of American Ballet Theatre in 1971, becoming principal in 1973. A tall, strong dancer with a technique that embraced both a muscular power and a delicate expressiveness, she became established as one of the leading classical ballerinas in America. She also danced the modern repertoire, creating roles in, among others, Tharp's Push Comes to Shove (1976), in which she was a definitively witty vamp, and Morris's Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (1988). After leaving ABT in 1991 she guested with various companies, primarily Nederlands Dans Theater 3 (1992–7). She also choreographed several works and from 1984 directed her occasional company New Amsterdam Ballet. Since 2004 she has returned to ABT, teaching at the school and performing character roles.

Subjects: Dance.

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