Dutch National Ballet’s New “Raymonda” Brings Modern Sensibilities to a Petipa Classic [Preview]

By Steve Sucato for Pointe Magazine

On April 3, Dutch National Ballet presents the crown jewel in its 60th-anniversary season: a new, full-length production of Raymonda, the company’s first.

 “Raymonda is one of the greatest classical ballets,” says DNB artistic director Ted Brandsen. “It is a complete display of everything classical ballet has to offer.”

Raymonda, the last hit ballet created by choreographer Marius Petipa, premiered in 1898 at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. Yet in order to revive the ballet, with its sumptuous score by Aleksandr Glazunov and its abundance of bravura dancing, DNB’s artistic team felt it must address its problematic narrative, steeped in cultural sensitivities.

Unlike Tamara Rojo’s recent production  of Raymonda for English National Ballet, in which she changed the setting, circumstances and character profiles to solve the ballet’s problematic aspects, Dutch National Ballet’s version takes a different approach.

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Steve Sucato is a former dancer turned arts writer/critic. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Dance Critics Association and Associate Editor of ExploreDance.com.

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