Case Narrative

A Consenting Juveniles narrative is a first-hand account reporting the words of the research subject on his or her experience.

Translated from the original Dutch for SOL Research.

Hans van Manen

At eleven, I tried to seduce men at the carnival.

Source:   ’Je kunt alles dansen: verdriet, stilte, lol’
(Dutch: “You can express everything in dance: sadness, silence, pleasure”)
Interview of Hans van Manen by Hugo Camps
Elsevier (Netherlands), June 11, 2005

Hans van Manen is a world-renowned choreographer whose ballets have been performed by more than fifty dance companies around the world. He was interviewed in 2005 on his return to the Dutch National Ballet.

In the interview, van Manen did not say how old he was when he first had sex with an adult man. But he said he was working on it by age eleven.

In the winter of 1944, I was twelve years old. Severely malnourished. Always looking for something to eat or something to burn. I hung around all day on the street with a male neighbour and a female neighbour. We were street urchins. I didn’t have a father. He died of tuberculosis when I was seven years old. My mother was of German descent. She was a secretary. She always spoke with a German accent, but she wrote and took dictation flawlessly in Dutch. I felt so proud when I took a couple of railroad ties home to burn in the little stove.

When I returned to school after the war, I was too mature, too grown-up for fifth grade in elementary school. My mother understood. At 13, I apprenticed at the theatre for makeup artist and hairdresser Michels. He was eminent in his profession. A great boss, too. After five years I told Mr. Michels I wanted to be a dancer. He looked at me and grumbled, ’How are you going to make any money?’ After five minutes, he calmed down. ’If you work for me one night a week, you can keep your salary.’ A boss like that is fantastic. I always had a thing for dancing. As a little boy I walked on the little fences at the Vondelpark, umbrella in hand. I lived for elegance in motion, grace in gesture.

At the age of eleven, I tried to seduce adult men at the carnival. An innocent little flower I’ve never been. My mother had no problem with my sexual preferences. She always gave me freedom. And trust. She had a sense of humour. I lived with her for 37 years, she in the front of the house, me in the back. We knocked on each other’s door, never just entered. It was all very organized. My ex-boyfriends that I no longer saw would still go visit my mom.

I’m not the type to go to saunas, dark rooms, and parks. That has never interested me. I don’t like anonymity in love. That’s too easy. Henk and I have been together for 33 years and go everywhere together. We live separately, but if he calls, I go over, and when I call, he comes to me. The best feeling in my life was when we finally got married. Now I at least know that everything I dedicated my life to will turn out alright.

Limited excerpt translated and posted under fair use doctrine for noncommercial, educational purpose.