At the Dutch National Ballet Academy, we can look back on a great start to the school year. All the pupils, students and teachers are happy that we could get back to work in the studios in recent months and that most of the classes could take place in the usual way. At the same time, however, we’re fully aware of the current situation in the Netherlands regarding the corona pandemic and we’re taking the necessary measures to prevent the virus spreading further. That means that not all the classes and activities planned for the coming period can take place, although we’ll do everything we can to keep motivating and challenging our pupils and students, with some adjustments to the programme.
In concrete terms, this will involve the following:
For the second study block of this school year, the principles are the same as for the first block, which has now finished. That means that the Preliminary Course pupils will be able to do all their classes online, in principle. The Associate Degree and Bachelor’s students do not have a complete live timetable as yet, as partnering and working in large groups are not permitted.
Extra classes, workshops and webinars
In study block 2, the first-year Associate Degree students will have character classes in addition to the regular teaching programme. Répétiteur Iris Reyes will give a Hans van Manen workshop to NBA 7 students and first-year Associate Degree students. Iris Reyes was responsible for rehearsing ballets by Hans van Manen at Introdans for many years. You can read an interview with her further on in the newsletter.
We’ll also be continuing to organise webinars with interesting guests for all the Associate Degree and Bachelor’s students, following the successful first edition in block 1, when the guest was former NBA student Timothy van Poucke, who is now a grand sujet with Dutch National Ballet.
Our Choreographic Project – for pupils from NBA 5, 6 and 7 and Associate Degree and Bachelor’s students – started off in the usual way. In the last week of November, we’ll be filming the results at the dance theatre of the Academy of Theatre and Dance, and the programme will be streamed on 3 December. Unfortunately, the corona measures mean we won’t be able to have a live audience for the performance. A professional photographer will also be making a reportage of the choreographic works that are performed.
In collaboration with the Dutch Ballet Orchestra, we’re developing a ‘music pathway’ for the whole of the Preliminary Course. In block 2, we’ll be working out the final details and hope to be able to start the lessons in the winter. The lessons will be given by musicians from the orchestra. We’ll also be recording several educational films with members of the orchestra and dancers from the Junior Company. We’re very proud of this joint venture with the Dutch Ballet Orchestra, and believe the new pathway will be a valuable addition to our teaching programme.
Participating in Dutch National Ballet productions
In October, NBA 4 pupils and the boys of NBA 3 participated in Dutch National Ballet’s programme Back to Ballet Classic (see further on in the newsletter). Unfortunately, the company has had to cancel the performances of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and a shortened, adapted version of it that complies with the corona measures. This means that the pupils of NBA 1 and 2, who have already been working hard on this production, won’t be able to appear on the stage of Dutch National Opera & Ballet in December. However, Dutch National Ballet will be presenting three live streams of the programme Back to Ballet Classic in December, so we can watch the NBA 4 and NBA 3 pupils dancing in Paquita another three times.
Extra performance update
For NBA 1 to 4, we’ve organised a studio afternoon at Agamemnonstraat on 20 November. This will also be live streamed. The programme includes repertoire pieces, class material and individual work. So these pupils also get their own performance moment in block 2.
We’re proud that in these strange times, we’ve still been able to organise the second edition of our Boys’ Course this year. It took place last month at our studios at Agamemnonstraat, in Amsterdam. You can read more about it further on in the newsletter.
Open Day and auditions
Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel the Open Day that was planned for 7 November. But we’re currently looking for a new date to hold it.
The annual auditions will take place in the usual way, however. Cilck here for the dates.
The corona measures mean that our office staff are once again working from home as much as possible. There’s also been a minor relocation at the Academy of Theatre and Dance, at Jodenbreestraat, where the NBA office has moved to the first floor. From now on, that is where you will find Amanda Beck, Marion Vijn, Linda Witpaard and Wendy Tadrous-Paulusma, unless they are working at home or at the studios at Agamemnonstraat.
Last month, in its annual Critics’ Choice, the British magazine Dance Europe mentioned all the NBA pupils who performed last season in The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and Romeo and Juliet as ‘new names to watch’. That’s a real boost – especially in these times. On behalf of all the teachers and members of staff, we’d like to congratulate the pupils on this special recognition.