Hans van Manen


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Photo: Erwin Olaf

Profile: Hans van Manen started his career with Sonia Gaskell’s Ballet Recital in 1951. In 1952, he joined the Nederlandse Opera Ballet, where he choreographed his first ballet Feestgericht in 1957. After this, he joined Roland Petit’s company in Paris. From 1960 to 1971 he was associated with Nederlands Dans Theater as a dancer (until 1963) and choreographer and from 1961 also as artistic leader.

Choreography: In this period Van Manen blossomed as a choreographer. After two years of freelancing, he joined Het Nationale Ballet as a choreographer/producer.

From 1988 Hans van Manen returned to Nederlands Dans Theater as a resident choreographer. He has created more than 120 ballets (62 of which for Nederlands Dans Theater), each bearing his unmistakable signature. Clarity in structure and a refined simplicity in his work earned him the name ‘the Mondriaan of dance’.

Abroad, he has staged his ballets for companies like the Stuttgart Ballett, Bayerisches Staatsballett München, Berliner Staatsoper, National Ballet of Canada, the English Royal Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, Zürich Ballett, San Francisco Ballet, Compañia Nacional de Danza, Paris Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Staatsoper Wien and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Hans van Manen has been awarded many prizes throughout his long career. These include the Edinburgh Festival Critics Award 1998, in 2000 the Erasmus Prize for outstanding achievements in Dutch dance and in May 2005 he was awarded the Benois de la Danse for Lifetime Achievement and also received the Grand Pas Award.

For the occasion of his 75th birthday in 2007 Hans van Manen was promoted to Commander in the Order of the Dutch Lion.

Hans van Manen stood down as resident choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater in 2003. He remains available to NDT for rehearsing and updating existing repertoire. Besides Nederlands Dans Theater and Het Nationale Ballet, Introdans also has a number of Van Manen’s ballets in its repertoire.
Hans van Manen is not only a choreographer, but also a photographer and his work can be seen internationally in book form and on exhibitions.

In 2003 the Stichting Hans van Manen was founded. The aim of this foundation is to make an inventory of Hans van Manen’s cultural heritage and categorise it in a production archive (www.hansvanmanen.com).