Mensen > Choreographers > Hans van Manen
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 NDT as a dancer (until 1963) and choreographer and from 1961 also as artistic leader. 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 NDT as a resident choreographer. His oeuvre now comprises more than 120 ballets (62 of which for NDT), 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’s company.
Hans van Manen has been awarded many prizes. In 1991 he received the Sonia Gaskell prize for his entire oeuvre and the VSCD choreography award (from the Dutch Theatre and Concert Hall Management Association) for his ballet Two. In 1992 he was knighted in the Order of Orange Nassau. In 1993 Hans van Manen received the prestigious German Dance Prize. In December 1996, COC (the Dutch organisation for LGTB integration) awarded him the Bob Angelo Medallion 1996 ‘for the way in which he portrays images of men and women, human relations and sexuality in his ballets and photography, which can be called liberating in many ways.‘ In 1997 he received the Gino Tani Prize in the category Dance.
At the Edinburgh International Festival 1998 Hans van Manen was honoured with a retrospective of his work by NDT (NDT2 and NDT3) and Het Nationale Ballet. His oeuvre was crowned with the Archangel, the Edinburgh Festival Critics Award 1998.
His most recent creations for NDT are Short Cut (NDT1, 1999), Two Gold Variations (NDT1, 1999), Trilogie (NDT1, 2000), Two Faces (NDT3, 2000), Simple Things (NDT2, 2001) and Monologue, Dialogue (NDT1, 2003).
In 2000, Hans van Manen was given the Erasmus Prize for his outstanding achievements in Dutch dance. In November 2004 he received the Music Award of the German city of Duisburg. “Van Manen has made a very important contribution to the dance history of the 20th Century. For the dance language he has developed over the years, he has always taken the music as a starting point’, according to the judges.
In May 2005, Hans van Manen was awarded the Benois de la Danse for Lifetime Achievement and also received the Grand Pas Award.
For the occasion of his 75th birthday, Hans van Manen was promoted to Commander in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2007.
Hans van Manen stood down as resident choreographer of NDT in 2003. He will remain available to NDT for rehearsing and updating existing repertoire. Besides NDT 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).