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Photo Angela Sterling Copyright 2015 Dutch National Ballet: all rights reserved Reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Heideman (press officer) on behalf of the company I have just returned from Amsterdam where I saw the Dutch National Ballet's Cool Britannia at The Stopera. The word "stopera" is an abbreviation of the words stadhuis or town hall and opera the meaning of which is obvious. The building combines the functions of Amsterdam's town hall with the national opera house and concert hall. It was my first visit to the Stopera but I hope it will not be my last for it is a magnificent auditorium. This was a triple bill of one act ballets by three leading British choreographers: David Dawson, Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor. Dawson and Wheeldon created new ballets called Empire Noir and Concerto Concordia which I discussed elsewhere. McGregor contributed Chroma which British audiences already know. Each of those works was very different from the others. Empire Noir showcased the dancers' virtuosity. It was full of spectacular jumps, turns and lifts and looked quite exhausting. Even the dancers' entrances and exits were made at the double. Haines's score was throbbing, vibrant and incessant. I had seen Michaela DePrince and Sho Yamada in the Junior Company last year but this was the first time I had seen Casey Herd, Jozef Varga, Artur Shesterikov and James Stout about whom I had read so much. My only disappointment was missing Igone de Jongh but there was some fine dancing from Samantha Mednick, Sasha Mukhamedov, Floor Elmers and, of course. DePrince. She may only be an apprentice in the company (though I am delighted to learn that she will be elevated to coryphee next year) but she has quite a following in Amsterdam. She received particularly loud applause when she took her bow. The chap next to me rose to his feet as soon as she stepped forward. In the interval I noticed that a stand was selling her t-shirts. The only other dancer with t-shirts on offer was de Jongh. Wheeldon's Concerto Concordia was a quieter and more contemplative work. He chose Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D Minor for his music. This is a work with sudden changes of moods could have been written for ballet. It was the first time that I had heard it and I adored it. According to the programme notes Wheeldon created the work for Anna Tsygankova and she was on stage on Saturday accompanied by Varga. They were one of two principal couples who are joined on stage from time to time by six others. The other principal couple was Victoria Ananyan and Serguei Endinian. This was the work that I enjoyed the most, probably because I liked the music. I had seen Chroma once before and remembered the sharp, angular almost robotic movements, the simple set with its large window through which dancers entered or against which they were silhouetted and the curious almost canine sniffing gestures at two points in the show. This cannot be an easy ballet to dance and I was delighted to see Nathan Brhane and Wantao Li who were in the Junior Company last year with Yamada and DePrince. It was good to see those young dancers again and great to see how far they have come in a year. They were led by Herd, Stout and Roman Artyushkin. The crowd loved this ballet and they rose to their feet as one. I like Amsterdam audiences. They see enough ballet to know what's good and what's not but they are much less stingy in their praise than Londoners. The Stopera has a massive stage. I don't know how it compares to Covent Garden's but it seems pretty cavernous to me. There's plenty of reasonably priced seating. I was in the front row of the 1st circle and was as close to the stage as I would have been in the front row of the dress circle in the Royal Opera House. My seat cost 53 euros which is less than I would have paid for the amphitheatre. There was plenty of leg room and although the house was pretty full it did not seem crowded. I was served very quickly when I queued for a drink in the first interval and I was charged less than I would pay in a theatre bar at home. The auditorium overlooks the Amstel and it is possible to step out onto a walkway in warm weather. There is a metro station almost next door and a couple of pubs and two Argentine restaurants across the street. There are flights to Schiphol from Ringway and Yeadon at a fraction of the cost of the train fare to London and hotels are generally cheaper in Amsterdam than London. I am already looking forward to my next trip back.