Seventy years ago, when Johanna Rosina Snoek, better known as Hans, gathered together a group of out-of-shape dancers, she did it in order to provide some needed escape for Dutch children. It was 1945, and Europe had been in the throes of war for several years.
“It was time for Dutch children to laugh again,” Snoek said of her idea to put on a performance. The ensemble, though unpolished and badly in need of some oil in the joints, indeed elicited chuckles, giggles and wonderment from crowds throughout Holland.
Honoring the beauty of escapism, the company took a well-known figure from commedia dell’arte whose name is derived from the word “escape” as their mascot and namesake. Seven decades later, having conquered the globe and established the troupe’s place as one of the leading contemporary dance bodies in the world, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam has returned to the start, to the great escape.