The first traces of dances linked to religious celebrations or folkloristic events date back to very ancient times. But to find the first documentary evidence of a real ballet performance we must refer to the opening of the Amsterdam Theater (1638), when, as was the custom of the time, dance interludes began to be inserted between one act and another. of representations. The first known title is the Ballet of the Five Senses (1645). Since then, ballet has become increasingly important, so much so that it often constitutes a higher reference to the same prose show to which it was to complement. Reserved for men only, the ballet soon welcomed dancers as well. In the Ballet of the Maidens, represented in 1655, Adriana Nozeman, Elisabeth Kalbergen and Susanne Eekhout van Lee appeared on the scenes in Amsterdam. The fashion moved to other cities and other countries. Paris itself took an example from the Amsterdam theater twenty-five years late. According to philosophynearby, only later did French dance masters come to the Netherlands to spread further achievements of the choreographic art: Pierre de la Montaigne was appointed maître de ballet of the Hague Theater – where allegorical ballet was particularly popular. However, it was Amsterdam, at the end of the eighteenth century, the city where the ballet achieved the greatest triumphs, as well as fervent interest on the part of the public who also manifested, in that city, its preferences for the comic genre. In the eighteenth century, popular themes were gradually substituted for pastorals and harlequins. Famous was the ballet Vita peasant, by Pietro Nieri, given in Amsterdam in 1765, whose contents once again anticipate the French Dauberval and his La fille mal gardée by about a quarter of a century.. Between the end of the century. 18th and early 19th century ballet enjoyed its moment of greatest splendor in Amsterdam; the public was passionate about the new genre of ballet d’action and dancers such as Polly de Heus Cunninghamme – a pupil of M. Gardel – and Jan van Well, or choreographers like Piet Grieve, who introduced elements of the romantic school into Dutch ballet, triumphed on the stage. and Andries Voitus van Hamme, already an appreciated dancer and then very fruitful choreographer, who created over a hundred ballets in almost half a century of activity for the company he directed, and introduced important foreign authors to the Netherlands such as J. Coralli and P. Taglioni, also presenting the first of Giselle to the publicin 1844. His son, Anton van Hamme, was also an esteemed dancer and expert choreographer. Equally successful was the dance in The Hague, where however the original creative contribution was less and where the choreography of French influence dominated. At the end of the century. In the 19th century, ballet went through a period of decline in the Netherlands as in the rest of Europe. Only at the beginning of the century. XX, and in the period immediately preceding the First World War the dance regained vigor. Gertrud Leistikov, a modern-trained dancer, made numerous tours in the country and opened vocational training schools in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Among the many internationally prestigious bands that visited the Netherlands in those years, the Ballets Russes, the company of A. (who died in The Hague in 1931), Argentina and Argentinita, K. Jooss and Harald Kreutzberg. Excellent schools were born in The Hague and Amsterdam (Igor Schwezoff), notable personalities of interpreters, including Darja Collin, Lilli Green and Connie Hartong, stood out. It was also of considerable importance, in the thirties of the century. XX, the action carried out in the country by the German dancer Yvonne Georgi. Some of his disciples created, as early as 1936, a professional company, supported by a private foundation and officially annexed, in 1941, to the Municipal Theater of Amsterdam. From the company emerged excellent talents of dancers such as Masha Ter Weeme, Nora de Wal, Nel Roos, Karel Poons, Lucas Hoving, Pieter van der Sloot. An intense flourishing of initiatives followed the end of the Second World War: in 1945 in Amsterdam Hans Snoek founded a company whose performances were especially dedicated to children, the Scapino Ballet. The Ballet der Lage Landen – founded in 1947 by Masha Ter Weeme, former prima ballerina with Y. Georgi – and the Nederlands Oper Baleret – entrusted in 1949 to the direction of Darja Collin – merged in 1959 into a single company that took the name by Amsterdam Ballet. Meanwhile Sonia Gaskell, Ukrainian teacher and organizer, who moved to the Netherlands after the war, had created, in 1949, an experimental company, the Ballet Recital. In 1958 Gaskell was called to direct the newborn Het Nederlands Ballet in The Hague. Some dancers of this company formed, the following year, the Nederlands Dans-Theater, based in The Hague. A new fusion between the Amsterdam Ballet and the Nederlands Ballet led in 1961 to the creation of the Dutch National Ballet (Het National Ballet). A notable and flourishing activity distinguished between the eighties and nineties also the more “young” and experimental side of Dutch dance, both in Amsterdam (where there is an excellent municipal school of contemporary dance techniques, attended by students from all over the world) and, more recently, in Rotterdam and the rest of the country. In the Eighties, full of ferment throughout Europe, alongside the major figures of van Manen, Kylian, van Schayk, van Dantzig, some younger protagonists have established themselves from Niels Christe to Nacho Duato, from Ed Wubbe to Kisztina de Chatel, to Bianca van Dillen to Angelika Oei, while among the most prominent groups on the research side – which in the Netherlands maintain close contacts with the ballet culture of the major companies, on the border between dance and theater – we remember Studio’s Onafhankelijk Toneel, an association of independent theaters founded in 1983. The Springdance Festival in Utrecht and the CaDance Festival in The Hague, held every year, are a showcase for the latest trends in modern dance.