Last October, the artistic director of Dutch National Ballet, Ted Brandsen, was presented with the Amsterdam Art Award in the category ‘Proven quality’ by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema. Brandsen decided to present half the prize money to the Dutch National Ballet Academy as the starting capital for a new fund to pay for scholarships for students from the Netherlands and abroad.
Although Brandsen had been nominated months beforehand, the award still came as a surprise. “Quite honestly, I assumed that one of the other nominees would be chosen”. He was extremely honoured just to receive the nomination itself. “The nice thing about this award is that although it was presented to me, it’s actually intended for Dutch National Ballet as a whole. It’s an endorsement of the ‘proven quality’ of the company, and I think it’s wonderful that this quality is recognised and appreciated by the city”.
The prize money of € 35,000 can be spent as the recipient wishes. But Brandsen knew immediately that besides contributing to other good causes, he also wanted to give a substantial sum to the Dutch National Ballet Academy, to be spent on providing scholarships for students. “The Dutch National Ballet Academy is one of the few leading dance academies in the world with no scholarship system for offering places to talented students whose parents can’t afford the fees and additional costs. I’d like to help find a solution for this, not only for foreign students from less privileged families, but also for Dutch students from families who can’t afford the fees without a scholarship”.
Brandsen says his gift should be regarded as ‘an initial step’ in setting up a new fund. “I hope that my gift will also inspire others: parents and other family members of students, dance-lovers, other interested parties and businesses, and anyone who feels it’s important to invest in talented youngsters and give young dancers the chance to make their dream come true”.
The fund doesn’t have a name as yet. Ernst Meisner says, “Ted has anyway told us that he doesn’t want the fund to be named after him”.
If you would like to make a contribution to the fund, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org