Sonia Gaskell (1904−1974) was the founder and first artistic director of Het Nationale Ballet. Teaching in a suit and on high heels, she almost single-hand­edly succeeded to take dance in the Nether­lands to an inter­na­tional level after World War II. She started her own dance studio in 1939 and in 1945 founded her first company, which was capable of both the classic romantic and modern reper­to­ries. Former pupils like Rudi van Dantzig, Mari­anne Hilar­ides and Jaap Flier — just starting their careers then — talk about the expres­sive woman who went to any lengths for the dance, but who died in soli­tude after her invol­un­tary farewell in 1968. Her capri­cious­ness and inability to dele­gate matters led to various crises and conflicts with top-ranking talents. It is only after her demise that Van Dantzig, her successor in 1968, finds out about the Jewish Gaskell’s tough child­hood. During the Russian Revo­lu­tion, it took her from Lithuania to the Ukraine and hence via Paris to Amsterdam, and it made her into the person she was.

Title: Mevrouw
Year: 2009
Duration : 59 minutes
Category: Short Documentary
Edition: NFF 2009

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