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(c)Gert Weigelt
© Gert Weigelt

Keso Dekker

Keso Dekker, born on the Dutch island of Ysselmonde, studied History of Art, Dutch, Classics and Literature before turning to painting. The American choreographer Eric Hampton gave him his first engagement in 1976 as set and costume designer; shortly afterwards there began an intensive co-operation with Hans van Manen which has since then resulted in more than sixty creations together. Altogether Keso Dekker has produced some four hundred set and costume designs for a wide range of artists of theatre and dance in Europe and the USA, including choreographers like Renato Zanella (Wiener Staatsoper), Bernd Bienert (Zürcher Ballett), Nils Christe (Ballet de L‘Opéra de Paris), Heinz Spoerli (Ballett der Deutschen Oper am Rhein) and Martin Schläpfer (ballettmainz, Het Nationale Ballet Amsterdam and Ballett am Rhein). Keso Dekker was awarded the Dutch Design Award in 2002 and in the same year the Grand Dance Prize of the Netherlands for his contribution to the art. For the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Het Nationale Ballet Amsterdam he created a ballet marathon with nine world premieres including pieces by Hans van Manen, Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky. In 2012 the American Ballet Theatre presented »Symphony No 9« by Ratmansky in Dekker‘s costumes as first part of a Shostakovich trilogy that was presented as a whole in 2013 at the Metropolitan Opera House New York. For his re-design for Leonid Massine‘s »Choreartium« for the Bavarian State Ballet, he received the Taglioni – European Ballet Award for »Best Designer« in 2014. In addition, Keso Dekker has created TV programs, conducted workshops, written books, designed indoor and outdoor spaces, and exhibition architectures for »La Mode« (1986), »The Art of Devotion 1300–1500« (1994), and »KWAB. Dutch Design in the Age of Rembrandt« (2018) at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. His costumes for Alexei Ratmansky's »24 Préludes« and Martin Schläpfer's »24 Lontano« were last seen with the Vienna State Ballet.