Ted Brandsen, the National Ballet’s new artistic director, was ready to welcome him with open arms and after eighteen years Van Manen returned as their regular choreographer. The first work he created for the company in this capacity were the Frank Bridge Variations, set to nine out of the eleven movements of the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, in which Benjamin Britten had used a theme from his old teacher. Strikingly, in this work Van Manen replaced the pointe technique by an earthly tone in the expression. In the funeral march the dancers merely walk the stage in stern patterns. The “less is more” adage is even more strongly expressed in the duets: a few turns, a few lifts, and maximum power of expression. Limitation reveals the master. Call it “déjà vu”, if you like.