Het Nationale Ballet
By the sixties, more and more people began to question the expectations and values that dominated mid-century life. Both men and women longed for more self-determination and began thinking differently about attitudes towards decency and sexual freedom. Those issues were the subject of Rudi van Dantzig’s Monument voor een gestorven jongen, a ballet about an adolescent boy coming to terms with his sexuality in an environment of moral inconsistencies. Though not the first ballet in the Netherlands to explore homosexuality, Van Dantzig’s choreography ignited plenty of controversy, even eliciting objection from one of its original cast members just prior to its premiere. The international response to the ballet was equally contentious, shocking audiences in South America and even being banned in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, Monument voor een gestorven jongen was, as dance historian Eva van Schaik has noted, ‘a heroic act’, a ballet that dared to reflect the moral disparities of its time and embody the prejudice of a changing Dutch society.