Bachelor’s student Léa Visser has been dancing as an apprentice with Introdans since last October. Due to injuries among the regular dancers, the company needed an extra female dancer, and Léa was the chosen one. Four days after starting her apprenticeship in Arnhem, she was already on stage in Eight Heads, choreographed by Daniel Ezralow, which was part of the successful family performance GRUPO SPORTIVO. With the addition of Léa, Introdans now has three apprentices from the Dutch National Ballet Academy.
“I was completely in shock”, says Léa Visser. “I heard that Introdans was interested in me and was told at the same time that I might already be on stage a week later”.
Léa, who is 18 and a second-year Bachelor’s student, was not actually planning to audition for an apprenticeship until this year, but she’s extremely grateful to already get the opportunity to be an apprentice, and with Introdans no less. “Once I started here, I soon got over my initial shock. Everyone at Introdans is extremely kind – not just my colleagues, but also the ballet masters, the staff and the other employees. I get lots of help and there’s a really nice, warm atmosphere here”.
Working in a professional company, however, is very different to working at school, says Léa. “You have to take far more personal responsibility and pick things up really quickly. I had to grow up very fast, as it were”.
She’s already rehearsed several different works. “Besides Eight Heads, I’ve now also learned Squad by Jorge Pérez Martínez from the programme GRUPO SPORTIVO. At the recent Christmas Gala, I danced an excerpt from Hans van Manen’s Black Cake, and for the family performance GEK GEZICHT I’m now learning no fewer than three pieces: Whim by Alexander Ekman, and Blue Journey and Face Machine by David Middendorp.”
Calmer and happier
Roel Voorintholt, artistic director of Introdans, is very enthusiastic about Léa. “She seemed very relaxed when she heard that in fact she had only one day to learn Daniel Ezralow’s Eight Heads, and she danced the ballet excellently”.
Besides Léa Visser, NBA students Gene Goodman and Leah Reiter were also taken on as apprentices with Introdans this year. Voorintholt says, “We have a very good exchange with the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Ernst is closely involved and the students are well trained. Gene, for example, stood in for someone in Roberto Scafati’s Freistoss and two days later in José Limón’s totally different Missa Brevis – and he did both pieces very well indeed. It’s great to see how he and Leah have developed since joining us in August. You see them getting calmer and happier”.
Over half the Introdans ranks are now made up of former apprentices with the company. “This year, we have six apprentices. Not everyone can stay, of course. We simply don’t have enough places. But even if they go on to other companies, the great variety in our repertoire gives them experience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives”.