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Ballet Talk for Dancers
mamabear

Dutch National Ballet Academy

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mamabear

I'm adding this school to the list, in the hopes that someone here on BT4D has experiences with this school to share.

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Immashel

My DS was there for two years in the HBO program- he finished in July 2015. I posted about it in different forum - post graduate training I think. There is another member here, Clutterbug, who has a DD still there and she maybe able to update you. MY DS loved it there and the training was very good.

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mamabear

Thanks, Immashel. I found your posts on the other forum, and they were very informative. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the three different streams for older students. From reading their website, it looks like they have what they call a Pre-Professional program, a Bachelor program, and a Trainee program. They all appear to be one to two years in length, and suited for approximately the same age group 16/17+. Do you by any chance have any insight into the differences between the three?

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Blanche

Another member, flyingpersimmon, has a DD in the program this academic year, who may have some insight into the similarities and differences among the three tracks.

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balletgirl22sk

One of my students is there but I don't know what specific program she is in. She went to the SI and was one of the few chosen to stay. She likes it a lot!

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flyingpersimmon

They have a regular ballet academy with the highest level of training at level 7.

Then they have a new program which my dd is in. It is the Reinforcement program. It gives foreign students 16 years and older the opportunity to take classes with both the schools level 7 and the Pre Professional program. This is more or less a stepping stone to the PreProfessional program. But of course not limited to.

Then there is the Pre Professional Program. This program gets the student ready for auditioning and getting a job.

Then there is the Bachelor program. I believe the Bachelor program dances with the PrePro but they have other class requirements as this is a program to get a degree. As for Trainee, I dont believe they have an official trainee program or perhaps they changed the name to PrePro. If you read the bios of the professional dancers with Het Nationale, several have graduated from the academy.

 

Best way to describe it without putting an emphasis on a specific level is this: Regular academy is for leisure, Reinforcement is for students who still need to get a high school diploma before pursuing a professional career. Pre Professional and Bachelor program are high school graduates that are ready for a career and/or degree. As for length of program, well it is two years for the most part. But not always limited to because each student is different. I can say, they are serious and only want dedicated students in these programs. You have a 7 week break during the summer and really limits what you can do.

 

So far my dd is enjoying it, however, she wishes there was opportunity to perform. Her last school had several performance opportunities and she really misses that. The weather in Amsterdam is a bit dreary during the winter and can take a toll on you. Language is easy as they speak mostly English. As for cost, the Euro is not so bad as we speak, and living expenses are reasonable.

 

I am happy to answer any more questions. You can message me or ask in this forum.

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mamabear

Thank you for the explanation. That helps.

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Clutterbug

 

The three different streams are a new initiative (from Sept 2015) by the academy director, Jean-Yves Esquerre. From what I understand this is to address the different levels students are at regardless of their age and how much more training a student requires before they are ready to audition for companies. I think that the pre-professional students tend to be younger and are still finishing high school (and anticipate staying at the academy for at least a year) whereas the trainee students are at more advanced stage in their ballet training and just require some finishing. Some students have in the past only stayed months before gaining a contract or leaving for other reasons. To enrol in the Bachelor (degree) program, 2-3 years long, it is necessary to have a university entry qualification.

The bachelor program has an academic component, lectures, essays, assignments etc. but the feedback from DD is that it is less arduous than finishing high school. Last year there were only about 22 students total in the full time programs, I think it may be more this year. Most of the full time students are international, a couple of Dutch students, with roughly equal numbers of boys and girls.

The academy has high expectations of the students but the pastoral care is good (in our experience). The students live independently and can have 40+ timetabled class hours per week (including Sat). It's quite an adjustment for some new students especially if they haven't lived away from home before.

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mamabear

Thank you so much Clutterbug! So, to paraphrase if I may, the end destination will be roughly the same for all three streams - namely, to be company ready, but the suitability of which stream a student is placed in, will depend on a combination of his/her age, level of ballet training, and academic level?

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Clutterbug

My understanding is it's a bit more complex! As the academy is affiliated with Het Nationale Ballet (Dutch National Ballet) many students are selected because they are seen as potentially suitable for the company. Some of these students only remain at the academy for a short time before being selected for the junior company and some leave the academy because they weren't successful in gaining a junior company position.

There is quite a bit of honest feedback from the teaching faculty to each student and some students are asked to leave or decide to leave. This can occur at anytime. We have no personal experience of any other similar programmes, but there does seem to be more student movement than other programmes. Perhaps this was just last year. On the upside the teaching faculty are very supportive and encouraging of students who are conscientious and hard working.

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Immashel

Just heard that 12 students have already got professional contracts for next year and its still only February :clapping:

I don't know how to attach the link to the article unfortunately but you can look on their website

3 of them are going to the Dutch National Junior Company.

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Clutterbug
vrsfanatic

I know there was a group moved to Junior Company status in December as well.

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