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The Human Seasons

The Royal Ballet

Visionary British choreographer David Dawson’s first work for The Royal Ballet describes the cycle of life and is inspired by the poetry of Keats.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of The Human Seasons. It was last on stage 16–24 March 2017 as part of the Autumn 2016/17 season.


Eight Principals and a corps of five embody the progress of the human seasons. For Dawson, ‘It is a temporal journey – a kaleidoscope of human emotions, which embodies a year of seasons and temperament’.


David Dawson created The Human Seasons, his first work for The Royal Ballet, in 2013. Dawson trained at The Royal Ballet School before going on to dance with companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. His 2000 ballet A Million Kisses to my Skin launched Dawson’s choreographic career, which has seen him take positions as resident choreographer with Dutch National Ballet, Semperoper Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. His many highly acclaimed works include Reverence for the Mariinsky Ballet, winner of the Golden Mask Award, and The Grey Area for Dutch National Ballet, which won Dawson the Prix Benois de la danse.

The Human Seasons takes its title from the poem of that name by John Keats. As Dawson explains, Keats ‘wrote this very simple poem about the ages of man, and the ballet represents the same cycle – from the young of spring all the way through to the death/rebirth of winter, and the continuation of this cycle’. The ballet isn’t a direct translation of the poem; instead, ‘As we travel through the piece we journey through different structures that reveal themselves to us – representative of certain human characteristics – and at the end you arrive full circle’. Dawson worked with regular collaborators English composer Greg Haines, who created his first acoustic score for the ballet, and German artist and set designer Eno Henze.

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