Recording Date: 2007
Running Time: ballets: 101 min / introductions: 39 min
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: PCM Stereo
Menu Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, SP
Subtitle Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, I, SP
DVD Video - 2 discs
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Van Manen created Déjà vu in June 1995 for two dancers in the junior troupe: Yolanda Martin and Fabrice Mazliah, both just twenty years old. Their entrée is highly unorthodox. They crawl backwards from the wings on all fours, dressed in black cat suits, one from the left, the other from the right. He uses Arvo Pärt’s music Fratres – which had, indeed, been used over and over by choreographers from all over the world – as the complement of a refined and intense struggle for power between two equal partners, man and woman.
Solo was created barely a year later, in January 1997, and showcases the other end of Van Manen’s art of dancing. Made to measure for the junior troupe, it is a sparkling relay of three boys, alternating at breakneck speed, to two parts of Bach’s First Violin Partita. This work was greeted with astounding enthusiasm.
Three months later Kammerballett opened, for eight dancers of the main troupe, and with seemingly ill-matched piano music. This “chamber ballet” is in line with Compositie, which was created one year before, inspired by Mondrian’s work.
The Old Man and Me is a special dedication to Nederlands Dans Theater III founded by Jirí Kylián in 1991, for dancers aged forty and over, especially for his Kylián’s wife Sabine Kupferberg who had just reached the age of forty that year. Hans van Manen created Evergreens and Different partners for the troupe. He tailored the third duet, The Old Man and Me, to the comical and expressive talents of Sabine Kupferberg and Gérard Lemaitre, then 44 and 59 years old. As he often did, he used a great variety of musical works connecting them by dance: J.J. Cale’s The Old Man and Me and Stravinsky’s hilarious Circus Polka.
Ted Brandsen, the National Ballet’s new artistic director, was ready to welcome him with open arms and after eighteen years Van Manen returned as their regular choreographer. The first work he created for the company in this capacity were the Frank Bridge Variations, set to nine out of the eleven movements of the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, in which Benjamin Britten had used a theme from his old teacher. Strikingly, in this work Van Manen replaced the pointe technique by an earthly tone in the expression. In the funeral march the dancers merely walk the stage in stern patterns. The “less is more” adage is even more strongly expressed in the duets: a few turns, a few lifts, and maximum power of expression. Limitation reveals the master. Call it “déjà vu”, if you like.
Two Pieces for HET originally comprised three parts, but without the first ensemble part Van Manen felt it was stronger, so that only the pas de deux remained: Two Pieces for HET. The two dancers explore each other and the room to the stirring music of the Estonian composer Tüürk, as in a nervously alternating courtship display without any fixed role patterns. The movement quiets down in an adagio to the stilled tunes of Pärt’s Psalom, where the partners feel each other in a sensual love-play full of subdued tension. Van Manen received, among other awards, the Erasmus Award and the Benois de la Danse.