It took 18 years for Ted Brandsen to find his inspiration to dance, but once he did, it took his life in a new direction. That path led him to become the director of the Dutch National Ballet.
This July, Brandsen is excited to bring a few of the company’s productions to the audiences in Sun Valley.
“It was the people around me, the atmosphere in the studio that inspired me to become a dancer,” Brandsen said. “I hope the audiences in Sun Valley will be touched in some way by the performances, by the poetry of the different pieces, the virtuosity of our dancers and the beauty of the choreographic work.”
For the first time in 40 years, the Dutch National Ballet will be touring the United States this summer, and their first stop is Sun Valley, July 1-2, at the Sun Valley Pavilion.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to introduce Dutch National Ballet to the Sun Valley audience,” said Kelli Quinlan, executive director of Ballet Sun Valley. “They will perform two unique, engaging programs with many of the works having never been performed in Sun Valley. There is sure to be something to delight the entire audience.”
Brandsen grew up in a suburb of Amsterdam. After he found his love of dancing while attending college in upstate New York, he joined the DNB in 1981 as a dancer. He stopped dancing in 1991 and worked as a freelance choreographer, becoming director of the Dutch National Ballet in 2003.
“Every season we bring a lot of exciting new things. Last year we brought a new production of ‘Raymonda,’ a big classical production, which was very opulent and beautiful,” Brandsen said. “This year we produced, together with Dutch National Opera, ‘Messa da Requiem’ from Verdi. On stage there were 100 singers and 40 dancers, and it turned out to be an amazing success.”
Unique to DNB is its choreographer, Hans van Manen, who is 90 years old and still working. He is internationally recognized as one of the grand masters of contemporary ballet. van Manen has put together more than 150 ballets, and they are performed by esteemed ballet companies around the world.
“To have a choreographer who is so specific in his style, and so individual in his expressions, and who has influenced so many dozens of other choreographers, and so many companies around the world. And he works with us,” Brandsen said.
Ballet Sun Valley is also unique in the fact they don’t have their own dance company, rather they bring in dancers from around the world to perform. Past performances include the San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Paris Opera Ballet.
This years’ program with the DNB will be two entirely different performances, which include works by choreographers van Manen, William Forsythe and Wubkje Kuindersma. The first night, July 1, will be choreographed by van Manen.
“Hans’ works range from the 70s to recent works,” Brandsen said. “It shows a span of different ideas and ways of dancing that this one choreographer brought together. Among which is the famous ‘5 Tango’s,’ which has been a sensation since 1977 and brought the music of Astor Piazzolla to many, many people who’d never heard of him.”
The second night’s program, July 2, will feature six pieces by Marius Petipa, Forsythe and Kuindersma. Forsythe is known for his infusion of ballet and visual arts in his work, and Kuindersma is a freelance choreographer that is a young creative for the DNB and has been featured in Dance Magazine USA as their “Top 25 to Watch” list in 2019.
The dancers in DNB are also a mix of dancers from 12 countries that include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the United States.
“Being able to give opportunities to other people to develop themselves artistically; to [give] dancers the dance roles that they aspire to, and to give them things they didn’t know that they could do is what I enjoy about being an artistic director,” Brandsen said.
Ballet Sun Valley Founding Music Director Martin West will conduct the live music again this year. West is the Music Director and Principal Conductor at San Francisco Ballet.
“The standard of dancing is as good as you see anywhere, and I’m incredibly excited that this year we are hosting our first international company,” West said. “I am looking forward to working again with the amazing dancers of Dutch National Ballet who I enjoyed working with a few years ago in Amsterdam.”
Tickets to the performances are on sale, starting from $35. For more information, visit balletsunvalley.org. ￼
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.