Rudi Van Dantzig

(b. 1933)

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(b Amsterdam, 4 Aug. 1933)

Dutch dancer, choreographer, and director. He studied with Gaskell and made his debut with her Ballet Recital in 1952, dancing full time with it (1954–9) after it became Netherlands Ballet. In 1959 he became a founder member of Nederlands Dans Theater but in 1960 returned to Gaskell's company (which became Dutch National Ballet in 1961) becoming co-director in 1969 and sole director in 1971. He retired in 1991 but continued as resident choreographer until 1994 when he left to pursue a career as a writer. He created many works for Dutch National Ballet but also worked as guest choreographer for many companies including Ballet Rambert, Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and the Bat-Dor Company. Gaskell commissioned his first ballet, Night Island, in 1955 (mus. Debussy, revived Ballet Rambert, 1966) but his first work to achieve international fame was Monument for a Dead Boy (mus. Jan Boerman, 1965) which was subsequently revived for several companies including Harkness Ballet (1960) and American Ballet Theatre (1973). The ballet's probing psychological approach became a characteristic of his subsequent works, many of which were made in collaboration with van Schayk as both dancer (initially) and designer. Van Dantzig's style combined academic classicism with a Graham-based modern vocabulary, and he frequently used 20th-century music as in Moments (mus. Webern, 1968), Epitaph (mus. Ligeti, 1969), The Ropes of Time (mus. Boerman, created for Nureyev and the Royal Ballet, 1970), Painted/Coloured Birds (mus. Castiglioni and J. S. Bach which used film images as well as dance), Four Last Songs (mus. R. Strauss, 1977), and Bend or Break (mus. Meijering, 1987). He also choreographed his own versions of Romeo and Juliet (1967) and Swan Lake (1988) and his last work for DNB was Pleisterplaats (1994). In 1991 he was appointed Officer of the Order of Oranje Nassau.

Subjects: Dance.

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