Hans van Manen: Dance as a uniting force in these difficult times for Ukraine

The ballet 5 Tangos for seven couples to music by Astor Piazzolla, created in 1977, is part of the repertoire of many ballet companies and is an extremely popular masterpiece by Hans van Manen. Here, the choreographer allowed himself to abandon the high heels that are usually inherent in tango dancing and use pointe shoes instead. He combined the Spanish elements inherent in A. Piazzolla’s music with ballroom dance, weaving together amazing rhythms and feelings that flow with the sounds of the music.

The idea to stage the famous ballet on the stage of the National Opera of Ukraine belongs to Oleksandr Zhembrovskyy, a former soloist of the Dutch National Ballet from Kyiv. He came to Hans van Manen with the idea and got an immediate “yes”. The choreographer did not hesitate to grant the rights to stage the production at our theater, and the costume department of the Dutch National Ballet provided stage clothes for the Kyiv dancers.

“When the Kyiv Ballet asked me for permission to perform my ballet 5 Tangos, it was the best opportunity for me to show my respect and support to the company and to you, the public for keeping dance alive as a uniting force in these difficult times for Ukraine. I did this not just because everyone is helping Ukraine as much as they can. I am amazed at how Ukrainians continue to live as if nothing is happening. It’s fantastic. Hope you all enjoy,” van Manen says.

“We want to lift the spirits of the Ukrainians so that the audience will forget for at least half an hour that there is a war going on, and the dancers will feel: they are not alone, and what they are doing is important,” Oleksandr adds.