Van Dantzig was born in Amsterdam. After Sonia Gaskell (left in 1969) and his other colleague left the Dutch National Ballet in 1971, he was the only artistic leader until 1991. In 1986 he wrote an autobiographical novel, Voor een verloren soldaat, about his love affair while a young boy with a Canadian soldier. The book became a great success and received several awards; an English translation, For a Lost Soldier, was published in 1991. In 1992 a Dutch film with the same title (English version: For a Lost Soldier(film)) was based on it. Van Dantzig also published a biography of the Dutch artist and resistance fighter Willem Arondeus in 2003. Rudi wrote a book about his friend Rudolf Nureyev. It is titled, "Remembering Nureyev: The Trail of a Comet." It was also translated into English.