On 25 April 2022, a celebratory toast was raised at the Academy of Theatre and Dance (ATD) to clinch a partnership between the 5 O’clock Class, Chassé Dance Studios in Amsterdam and the Dutch Dance Centre in Schagen. An important part of the mission and vision of the 5 O’clock Class is to seek active ties with the outside world.
An agreement about the collaboration was signed earlier this year by Lenny Balkinsson, Vald Tarasov, Regillio Pinas and Shelly Hoekstra, respectively owner, director, dance teacher and manager of Chassé Dance Studios and Bo van Zeventer, Lotte Frans and Chantal Ludwig, artistic directors at the Dutch Dance Centre. The ATD was represented by director Anthony Heidweiller and business/artistic directors of the 5 O’clock Class, Percy Kruythoff and Rahana Oemed.
Continuous talent development
The agreed-on collaboration focuses on talent scouting, joint productions, exchange of teachers and expertise and organising workshops. Such activities will help to guarantee continuous talent development among pupils of the youth programme.
‘Pupils as young as three years often take part in preparatory courses given by our partner institutes; this allows us to follow children from a much earlier age,’ says Percy Kruythoff. ‘This is important for the flow-through of young talent. A big advantage is that auditions are no longer a cause for stress; instead they become part of an organic process.
Addressing physical and social aspects
The realisation of this unique partnership gives aspiring dancers even more opportunity to take the initiative in developing themselves. Pupils of the 5 O’clock Class not only practice to become dancers; they are also supported in their physical dance development and receive mental, creative and social coaching.
Percy Kruythoff says: Young people today are under considerable pressure to do well at school. For many of them Corona has resulted in a gloomy outlook on life. The 5 O’clock Class allows them to be themselves and work on developing their talents in a creative way. The 5 O’clock Class provides an intimate sense of community and solidarity that was sorely missed during the lockdowns. One of the pupils said to me: “I’ve found my own voice here”. Our pupils discover that they can make their own choices instead of these being imposed by someone else. Besides the physical aspect we also address the social factor. We offer social safety and bring pupils together. They experience a real sense of empowerment.
About the 5 O’clock Class
Since the study course was founded, we have established close connections with organisations in the professional dance world, with education institutes and foreign cultural bodies. Thanks to these alliances, the considerable expertise we have built up with regard to talent development and our position within the Academy of Theatre and Dance, we fulfil a unique role.
We are able to connect with youth from diverse cultures and backgrounds – hailing from all parts of Amsterdam and much further afield – and offer them the chance to become proficient in a wide range of contemporary dance forms. In this way the Academy of Theatre and Dance reaches out to new target groups; dance talent that otherwise would not enrol in an official dance study programme. And the extraordinary thing is: our pupils not only find their place in vocational art education but also in other positions in society.
About the Chassé Dance Studios
The Chassé Dance Studios opened its doors in the summer of 2014 and boasts 9 studios in the beautiful Chassé church in Amsterdam. Besides regular lessons, we often participate in theatre productions, projects and TV shoots. We frequently hold workshops and arrange productions. It’s also possible to take private lessons or organise workshops for businesses or children’s parties.
But most importantly: our school is a safe place where everyone who likes to dance is welcome. The Chassé Dance Studios is firmly anchored in the local community. We can easily accommodate an extensive dance programme with the 5 O’clock Class.
About the Dutch Dance Centre
The Dutch Dance Centre is a dance school with 5 locations in the province of Noord-Holland. Our dance school focuses on pleasure in dance which is assured by the special chemistry that originates between pupils and our team of professional dance teachers.
Due to the optimal prospects offered by the Dutch Dance Centre, dancers can realise their full potential and pursue higher goals in their discipline.
We are extremely pleased with this splendid collaboration and trust it will help ambitious pupils to reach an even more advanced level.