Hans van Manen’s
Hans van Manen, the acclaimed Dutch choreographer, famously quipped, “As soon as I place two people in an empty room, I express a mood or relationship.”
In this program, van Manen’s fascination with interpersonal relationships is brought to the forefront in a series of most celebrated ballets. Set to Beethoven’s music, Grosse Fuge is an intense exploration of the push and pull of attraction and rejection that exists between humans, a theme that is reflected in the shifting emotionality of the dancers as they move from flirtatious to erotic, from tender to threatening. The award-winning Variations for Two Couples is a nuanced and inventive ballet that moves through shifting styles and mood, borrowing inspiration from the dancers themselves. 5 Tango’s provides a vivacious finale to this program, fusing the steamy sensuality of traditional Tango with the poise and precision of pointe work.
Estimated run time 1:50h
Learn about the pieces in the Humankind program including Grosse Fuge, Variations for Two Couples, and 5 Tango’s as well as van Manen’s inspiration, intention, and style.
Saturday, May 7th from 1pm-2pm over Zoom
Moderated by Artistic Director Angel Corella and General Manager Christine Stone Martin.
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Hans van Manen is internationally recognized as one of the grand masters of contemporary ballet. The great clarity in structure and refined simplicity of his choreography have earned him the nickname the ‘Mondrian of dance’. His body of work features more than one hundred and fifty ballets and he has won a number of awards including the Sonia Gaskell Prize, the prestigious German Tanzpreis, the Bob Angelo Medallion, and the highly prestigious Erasmus Prize for his outstanding achievements in Dutch dance.
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time and a key figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western music. Beethoven expanded the formal, structural and emotional scope of almost every genre in which he wrote— including symphonies, sonatas, string quartets and piano concertos. Beethoven also composed vocal music, including choral works, art song and one opera, Fidelio (1798). A battle with hearing loss left Beethoven completely deaf for the last decade of his life—many of his most admired works were composed during this period.
Variations for Two Couples
Edward Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist who was one of the principal musical figures of the 20th century. Although Britten’s compositional oeuvre spans a wide variety of styles including symphonies, concertos and chamber works, he is best known for his vocal output, including choral works, art song and operas such as Peter Grimes (1945), Billy Budd (1951) and Turn of the Screw (1954). His unmistakable sound is marked by haunting moods and atmospheres which evoke the bleakness of the East Anglian landscape and brooding sea, from which he took inspiration.
Variations for Two Couples
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) was a Finnish classical composer known for his stylistically adaptable compositions encompassing elements of romanticism, neoclassicism, and serialism. A prolific composer, Rautavaara’s works include eight symphonies, nine operas, twelve instrumental (and one choral) concertos, and a wide variety of orchestral, chamber, instrumental, choral and vocal works.
His later compositions are marked by a truly personal style, interwoven with the many idioms in which he composed. Of his own musical philosophy, he wrote “naturally, the linking together of various (and to some people contradictory) systems must of necessity come to break the taboos of each system.”
Variations for Two Couples
Born into Yugoslavia’s Hungarian community, composer, multi-instrumentalist and improvisor Stefan Kovács Tickmayer (b.1963) immigrated to France in 1991, during the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars. His diverse and eclectic musical career is marked by crossing genres and stylistic boundaries which explore both his multicultural roots and the displacement he experienced while composing outside his birth country. Tickmayer has described his own musical approach as aiming to resolve a “schizophrenic split”, arising from his experience in the improvisational world of jazz and his immersion in the world of modern composition.
Variations for Two Couples and 5 Tango’s
Argentine tango composer, bandoneon virtuoso and arranger Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla (1921-1992) left a seminal mark on 20th century Latin American music. His musical output revolutionized the traditional tango into a style termed nuevo tango, blending elements of jazz and classical music. Piazzolla introduced instruments that had not been used in the traditional tango, including the flute, saxophone, electric guitar, electronic instruments, and a full jazz/rock drum kit. Biographers estimate that Piazzolla’s oeuvre encompasses over 3,000 compositions.