Choreographer Toer van Schayk rehearses Ephebe with NBA students and dancers of the Junior Company

Published on

In the week of 16 - 20 January, choreographer and designer Toer van Schayk is rehearsing his ballet Ephebe with students of the National Ballet Academy and dancers of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. Ephebe will be presented in Juniors Go Dutch, the Junior Company’s new touring programme, which opens on 18 February. The work for five boys will also occupy a prominent place in the coming edition of Dancers of Tomorrow, which is devoted almost entirely to Dutch dance this year, to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of our school.

In the week of 16 - 20 January, choreographer and designer Toer van Schayk is rehearsing his ballet Ephebe with students of the National Ballet Academy and dancers of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. Ephebe will be presented in Juniors Go Dutch, the Junior Company’s new touring programme, which opens on 18 February. The work for five boys will also occupy a prominent place in the coming edition of Dancers of Tomorrow, which is devoted almost entirely to Dutch dance this year, to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of our school.

Toer van Schayk, who along with Rudi van Dantzig and Hans van Manen formed the ‘three Van’s’ of Dutch National Ballet for many years, turned 80 last September. For the occasion, Dutch National Ballet presented the programme Dutch Masters, which included Van Schayk’s Requiem and his new pas de deux, Episodes van Fragmenten. Following the premiere, Van Schayk was made an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. A book was published about the many sides of his artistry and a film evening about his life and work was held in the Eye Filmmuseum, in Amsterdam.

Van Schayk created Ephebe in 2002 especially for the National Ballet Academy’s end-of-year performance. “The programme that year included George Balanchine’s Serenade, and as that involves mainly girls I decided to choreograph a piece for five graduate boys. My starting point was the fact that these boys had been together for years and had made their mark on each other, but now they were graduating and would have to say goodbye to one another and go their separate ways”.

Van Schayk deliberately chose two contrasting pieces of music for the work: Serene by Ton Bruynel and Prelude-Postlude by Georg Böhm. “The first is a very calm piece that opens with sounds from nature. You can hear the night owls, as it were. The second, by Böhm, a contemporary of Bach, is an amazing, pounding work for harpsichord. I thought the contrast between the two compositions was very beautiful and suited the choreographic theme well”.
When asked about his favourite ballets in the book written about him, Toer van Schayk mentioned Ephebe. And once again he says, “I still think it’s a really nice piece to watch. Although I find it difficult to explain why. Maybe it’s because of the fact that those young people have been together for so long and then fan out all over the world”.

Van Schayk is assisted in the rehearsals by former ‘Toer dancer’ and teacher Joanne Zimmerman, who will continue to take the rehearsals of Ephebe after 20 January. The ballet was also danced in recent years by the students of Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto.

For the performance dates of the Junior Company’s tour, see:
www.operaballet.nl/nl/doublebill/2016-2017/voorstelling/juniors-go-dutch.

The performances of the anniversary edition of Dancers of Tomorrow will take place in Dutch National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam, on 4 and 6 July 2017.

Toer van Schayk rehearsing his ballet Requiem with dancers of Dutch National Ballet, September 2016 – Photo: Altin Kaftira

Share