In Memoriam: dancer/choreographer Jaap Flier

Jaap Flier with Boukje Schweigman in the performance 'Grond'

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“I’m epigone backwards. I take from the traditional world and try to involve myself in that other world and slowly bring some of that traditional into the present. I’m as much epigone as the other way around.”

From: Teaching as Learning. Jaap Flier, interviewed by Remy Charlip 1989. In: J. Fabius, redactie. “TALK/SNDO 1982-2006. 30 years of movement research at the School for New Dance Development”, Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, spring 2009. Supported by Nederlands Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten.


Dancer/choreographer Jaap Flier passed away on 18 March 2022 in Bloemendaal. Jaap Flier was of great significance for the development of modern dance at home and abroad. He is also regarded as the very best ballet dancer the Netherlands has ever had.
From 1980 to 1989, Jaap Flier was the artistic director, together with Pauline de Groot and Aat Hougée, of the Moderne Dans study course (from 1985 the School for New Dance Development (SNDO)) at the Academy of Theatre and Dance (then known as de Theaterschool).

In 1959, together with his wife Willy de la Bije, Aart Verstegen, Carel Birnie and Benjamin Harkarvy, he took the initiative to found Nederlands Danstheater.
Jaap Flier had an exceptional eye for quality. It was he who encouraged Hans van Manen to become a choreographer and who managed to get Jiri Kylian to join Nederlands Danstheater as a choreographer.

In the 1970s, Flier was director of the Australian Dance Theatre and the Sydney Dance Company. In 1996, filmmaker Jellie Dekker made a documentary about the life of the dancer Jaap Flier. Until late in life, Flier worked and performed with young contemporary theatre makers such as Boukje Schweigman.

Portrait photo Jaap Flier