Ballet and Dance in Amsterdam

Amsterdam theatre and opera

The Netherlands do not have a long ballet tradition. Nonetheless, because of the proximity of Paris and London, the Dutch cities - The Hague and Amsterdam were always a venue for the best ballet performances from elsewhere in Europe.

It was in The Hague, that legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova died of pleurisy pneumonia. It was while touring the Netherlands in January of 1931 with her Camille Saint-Saëns The Dying Swan. Choreographed for her by Michel Fokine. It was three weeks before her 50th birthday.

Dutch worldwide renowned choreographers - Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk all started their artistic careers in Amsterdam. Similarly all Dutch big ballet groups have originated from Amsterdam after WWII. However only one of them - Het Nationale Ballet (Dutch National Ballet) is still based in the Dutch capital. While the oldest one of them - the Scapino (est. 1945), is now based in Rotterdam and the most famous one - Nederlands Dans Theatre (Dutch Dance Theatre, est. 1959) is now based in Hague. But both these companies often give performances in Amsterdam Muziektheater.

Today, Dutch ballet and dance is one of the best in the world with many foreign dancers attracted to work here. Also several wonderful European choreographers like Jiří Kylián, Krzysztof Pastor, David Dawson, Wayne Eagling, just to name a few. Along with the three biggest ballets, there are several new and young dance groups, which often perform in Amsterdam.

Het Nationale Ballet - Dutch National Ballet

Established in 1961 by Sonia Gaskell, who led the group after the fusion of the two companies - Amsterdams Ballet and Nederlands Ballet. The lack of the long Dutch tradition of ballet made possible internationally important renewal, especially after 1971, when Rudi van Dantzig took the lead of the company. From 2003, Dutch National Ballet is led by Ted Barendsen.
If you like dance, go and see this very good company. As the ballet is heavily subsidized, the tickets will cost you less than for similar performances in other countries. Located in the big, white Stopera building called also Muziektheater, Waterlooplein 22, 1011 PG Amsterdam.
Tel. +31 20 551 82 25

Nederlands Dans Theater - Dutch Dance Theatre (The Hague)

A renowned for its experiments and Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) has been established in 1959 by Benjamin Harkarvy, Aart Verstegen and Carel Birnie together with a group of dancers from Amsterdam based Nederlands Ballet, as a result of deviation from the ballet more traditional artistic line. Famous choreographers Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig belonged as dancers to this group. For several years Czech born Jiří Kylián has been leading the ballet, which is now led by Swedish born Anders Hellström, while Kylián remains the resident choreographer of NDT. Even though NDT is based in The Hague, in its own Lucent Danstheater building (by the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, 1987), it often gives performances in Amsterdam.
This is a modern and vibrant dance theater featuring now three different dance groups, with distinctive artistic profiles.
Tel. +31 70 880 03 33

Scapino Ballet (Rotterdam)

Dutch oldest ballet company, founded in 1945 in Amsterdam by Hans (Johanna) Snoek was at the time a unique dance company giving performances only for children. Scapino’s ballets were famous at the time for their novel and entertaining choreography becoming the scene for experiment and renewal in the Dutch dance and ballet. In 1988 Scapino moved from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and today it gives performances also for the adults. In our time, many new interesting young dance groups are created by former Scapino dancers.
Each year Scapino gives performances in Amsterdam, in different places like Open Lucht Theater in Vondelpark.
Tel. +31 10 413 55 20