The Dutch National Ballet in China

The Dutch National Ballet, led by Artistic Director Ted Brandsen, performed in Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing during their latest China tour.


Ambassador of thd Netherlands Mr. Aart Jacobi,
Director and Resident Choreographer Mr. Ted Brandsen,
Founder of Wu Promotion Wu Zezhou take a group photograph with the performers

From October 20 to November 3, 2014, the Dutch National Ballet, led by Artistic Director Ted Brandsen, performed in Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing during their latest China tour. Their performances of the classic Romantic ballet Giselle and the program Ballet Gala, which included traditional and contemporary pieces, won the hearts of audiences in China, who burst into thunderous applause after each performance.

The production of Giselle on this tour featured a strong cast of dancers. The two main characters were played by the Dutch National Ballet’s leading dancers Anna Tsygankova and Jozef Varga, who gave a moving interpretation of a love story that takes place on this world and beyond.

As a representative work of Romantic ballet, Giselle is one of the most frequently performed ballets in the world. This Dutch National Ballet production was jointly created by Rachel Beaujean, a former ballerina at the Dutch National Ballet, and Ricardo Bustamante, formerly principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. In addition to preserving the essence of the original work, the creators injected fresh artistic elements into this new production to make it more relevant to contemporary life. “In the original version, the male dancer plays a supporting role to the female dancer, whereas we gave the male lead a more prominent part in the show to dramatize the story,” said Rachel Beaujean.

This Dutch National Ballet production of Giselle featured exquisite production design, refreshingly elegant costumes, and phenomenal choreography. In the first act, the vibrant stage colors and ethnic costumes combined to create a cheerful impression of pastoral beauty. Anna Tsygankova and Jozef Varga gave a poetic portrayal of the love between Giselle and Albrecht. In particular, Tsygankova’s performance of a heartbroken Giselle driven to madness by the news that Duke Albrecht is engaged was very convincing. Act II opened with a supernatural scene in which female ghosts, or Wilis, clad in white dresses danced in a dark forest, creating the dark, mysterious atmosphere of a magical realm. Giselle’s decision to protect the life of her lover even in the realm of the dead was highly moving. The ethereal elegance, spellbinding techniques, and expressive emotions of the dancers combined to give an enchanting interpretation of timeless themes, such as life and death, love and betrayal, revenge and redemption.

Another performance by the Dutch National Ballet, Ballet Gala, showcased the company’s ability to master a great variety of styles and works by fusing traditional and contemporary elements. During this tour, they presented four stylistically diverse works by choreographers Vaganova, Hans van Manen, Krzysztof Pastor, and David Dawson, treating audiences in China to a veritable feast of the senses.

The first piece in the gala program, In Light and Shadow, is inspired by masterpieces by Dutch painters Rembrandt and Vermeer. Choreographer Krzysztof Pastor created a breathtaking play of light and shadow by experimenting with the rhythms of the dancers’ bodies. Set to the rich and joyous Goldberg Variations, the piece opened with a delicate and thoughtful duet that echoed the effect of light and shadow in a Rembrandt painting. Choreographed by Agrippina Vaganova, founder of the celebrated Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, the Diana et Acteonpas de deux fully expressed the romantic nature of the beautiful greek myth.


Stage Photos of the Dutch National Ballet

The fast-paced and powerful piece Solo by the Dutch master of choreography Hans van Manen eloquently portrayed the contrasting aspects of a vivacious male character. The dancers’ rigorous timekeeping with the rhythm of Bach and exhilarating display of virtuosity won rounds of applause from the audience. In addition, David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin incorporated pure classical ballet techniques into the choreography which showcased the astounding kinetic possibilities of the human body and the dancers’ pursuit of the extremes of dance. Their riveting performance was enthusiastically received by the audience.

The Dutch National Ballet Clipping Report

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