No pointe shoes, but many tutus at Swan Lake by Introdans.

No pointe shoes, but many tutus at Swan Lake by Introdans

December 21, 2023

In the lineup of typical winter activities, Swan Lake is one of those ballets you must experience at least once. The enchantment of a stage filled with delicate swans, pristine white tutus, profound human drama, and the moving music of Tchaikovsky remains somehow powerful.

Sandra van Maanen – de Gelderlander

You might think it’s a safe choice for dance companies. However, Introdans chooses for a less conventional performance. In collaboration with the Belgian top choreographer Stijn Celis, the classic has been transformed into a true family spectacle. The tension lies not in simplifying the story but in the execution. Swan Lake is a fresh, modern version of the “ballet of ballets.” With a powerful, expressive dance style, plenty of drama, poetry, and a hefty dose of fantasy, it promises to be a quite different performance from the original.

Inflatable Sets

The entire Introdans ensemble takes the stage, and this latest adaptation also incorporates humor and momentum. Combined with enormous inflatable sets, exquisite costumes, an interactive pre-show, and even a meet & greet afterward, it promises to be an unforgettable experience for the audience, even for those who have never been to the ballet before.

In the foyer of the Schouwburg Hengelo, the audience will get a taste of the story they are about to see in the interactive Experium before the performance. All senses are stimulated during this experience. However, this prelude is more than just a teaser. “By getting to know the characters a little bit beforehand, the storyline becomes more accessible and thus more beautiful,” promises Roel Voorintholt, artistic director of Introdans. “Last year was the first family show we offered in this sandwich formula. It worked! We’re continuing with that concept.”

A theatrical and modern adaptation of classics is appreciated – Roel Voorintholt, artistic director of Introdans

A family show in a trendy package with quite a few extras will provide young audiences with an impressive introduction to dance theater, but loyal dance fans will likely be equally impressed afterward. Because that’s what happened. With this family show, Introdans filled theaters and received glowing reviews. According to Voorintholt, this is proof that a theatrical and modern adaptation of classics is appreciated. And also that there is room for the new winter tradition he desires; a dance performance for the whole family.

Not another fancy ballet

Swan Lake, first performed in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, was previously adapted by choreographer Stijn Celis for the Bern Ballet and Ballett Theater Basel. With his story, choreography, and costumes specially made for this occasion, the Introdans dancers are taking it a step further this time. “No pointe shoes, it won’t be just another fancy ballet. Tutus are included. We were able to take them, along with the other costumes, from the Swiss company,” says Voorintholt.

A world-renowned ballet in a modern setting, supplemented with surprising extras? That’s something Stijn Celis, who has collaborated with Introdans several times before, is particularly pleased about. “I find it touching that this classic is being revisited in a new form. Because it remains a beautiful piece, in dance, sets, costumes, and music. Originally, the ballet consists of four acts; I’ve created an abbreviated version where the essence of both the story and the music – I make as few concessions as possible in music because they are all evergreens, you shouldn’t mess with them – remains intact.”

In love with her freedom

The story of the prince who falls in love with a swan remains intact but is more condensed. Celis added a twist, made the storyline slightly more believable and contemporary. “The prince tries to break free from the stifling monarchy, to escape the manipulative power of his mother. In his flight, he sees birds, including a beautiful female swan. He falls in love with her freedom. I turned it into a human story that I suspect resonates with everyone, including children. They are often freer in their imagination and associations anyway. I’m sure they can follow along with this adaptation.”

What remains is the irony in the piece. Stijn Celis discovered that Tchaikovsky’s music lends itself to that. “The playful and expansive elements are present in many of his pieces. In this version, it’s not just about intense feelings of passion and suffering; I’ve distanced myself from that. I like clear situations and try to arrange all elements in dance and music within this special story as logically as possible.”


The Experium is an interactive total experience that stimulates all senses so that Swan Lake is experienced even more intensely. You can touch costumes worn by dancers, take an Insta selfie in (digital) costume, listen to a preview of the music, and get to know the characters. For those brave enough, there’s a chance to dance a duet on a dance mat, create your own set design, and play with the lighting design. During intermission, you can even dance a short choreography, and after the show, there’s a Meet & Greet with some of the dancers.

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