Artistic Directors

Jan Linkens - artistic director dance/choreography

Jan Linkens, born in Maastricht, received his dance training at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. From 1977 to 1994 he was a dancer and choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.

In his dance career he has worked with many choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig, Toer van Schayk, Kurt Jooss, Carolyn Carlsson, Maguy Marin, Peter Martins and Peter Wright. He danced in works by Bronislava Nijinska, Mikhail Fokine, George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton and many others. 

Jan Linkens himself created more than 50 ballets around the world and danced in almost all European countries, and beyond such as Israel, Turkey, Japan, Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, the Netherlands Antilles, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Australia.

Since 2011, Jan worked as the artistic director of Tanztheater der Komischen Oper, in Berlin and choreographer at Companhia Nacional de Bailado, in Portugal, after which he became artistic intendant of the International Dance Theatre in Amsterdam. Sinds September 2014 Jan Linkens is director of Royal Conservatoire Dance and trains 'dancers of the future into artists with a creative open mind, in combination with craftsmanship, passion and ambition. Dancers who have mastered both classical and modern techniques, and are able to apply them to contemporary dance styles.

Martijn Padding - artistic director music/composition

Martijn Padding studied composition with Louis Andriessen, musicology at Utrecht University and piano with Fania Chapiro. After completing his studies he worked for several years as pianist-coach at the Academy of the National Ballet and with the modern dance companies led by Krisztina de Châtel, Beppie Blankert and Bianca van Dillen. He also made high-profile radio documentaries about contemporary composers and was the artistic director of Orkest de Volharding for two years. He is currently teaching at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and is head of the composition department.

Padding has a fascination with clarity and contrasts between the logical and illogical. In his work he seeks the craftiness rather than the grand gesture. Although his compositions often have a musical (technical) starting point, a theatrical element is increasingly present. In his recent work, his characteristic angularity and concise harmonically structured language are less prominent.

Padding's compositions are performed by many leading ensembles, soloists and orchestras worldwide. In 2014, the opera Laika on a libretto P.F. Thomése directed by artist Aernout Mik premiered at the Holland Festival. In 2015 Padding wrote the farewell work Ick seg adieu on commission for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on the departure of Mariss Jansons. In 2020 Jaap van Zweden premiered Padding's Softly Bouncing with the same orchestra.

In 2009 Padding won the Unesco Prize (International Rostrum of Composers) with his First Harmonium Concerto written for Dirk Luimes and the orchestra the Prize of Honor. In 2011 he received the Edison Klassiek for the Asko|Schönberg CD recording of his Three Concerti' and in 2016 the Johan Wagenaar Prize for his entire oeuvre. In 2020 Martijn Padding was awarded the Andreaspenning of the city of Amsterdam.

Musicians in Collaboration

XTRO, Antonio Bove, Gabriele Segantini and Miguel Varela, will be the musical inspirators for the invited composers and choreographers.

XTRO is a group, that mostly creates and performs new music and contemporary works, combining theatre, dance and video projections. They are the winners of Grote Kamermuziekprijs 2021 (audience and jury prizes).

XTRO is influenced by minimal, electronic and alternative music, the ensemble involves every kind of audience, stimulating imagination in an ethereal reality made of musical, visual, dramaturgical art, and concepts.

The connection between acoustic and electronic sounds creates an amazing bond, enriching their compositions. The group appeared in well-known settings as in the festival Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Festival Dag in de Branding, Mittelfest and In Bloom. Founded in the Netherlands, Xtro’s aim is to communicate, create and experience through sound and explore which moments of explosion, pulse and tension bring the audience to discover new space, time and emotions.

"As a group of performers, we feel that both parties can benefit from a collaboration between music and dance."


Yannick is a well-known ballet master and teacher, in demand world-wide with many important companies and ballet schools. Yannick was born in France and received his ballet training at at the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School and subsequently at the National Conservatoire de Paris. As a principal dancer he performed with the Bonn Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Rome Opera Ballet and with the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

During his career he was the recipient of the following prizes:
1st prize of the Conservatoire de Paris (1981), Gold Medal (Houlgate Competition, 1985), Gold Medal (International Competition, Paris, 1987) and the Positano and Leonide Massine Award (Italy 1995).
He was ballet master with the Vienna Opera Ballet from 2004 until 2006 and since then became a successful free-lance teacher, working currently with the following companies:
Dresden Semper Oper Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Royal Opera House London, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Norwegian National Ballet, Houston Ballet, Béjart Ballert Lausanne, National Ballet of Prague, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Bolshoi Theater of Moscow, Stanislavski Theater Moscow, Berlin Staats Ballet, Northern Ballet England, Astana Opera and Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, National Ballet of Korea, Zurich Ballet, Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse.

Yannick Boquin is also in demand as a master teacher with the following international ballet schools: Summer Course Centre Ecole Superieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower, Houston Ballet Academy, Astana Ballet Academy, Oslo Ballet Academy, Académie Princesse Grace de Monaco, the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp and Oslo Dance Academy (KHIO)

In 2011 he choreographed a two-act ballet for Istanbul State Ballet entitled ‘The Sufferings of young Werther’ after a story by Goethe and set to the music of Frederic Chopin. This ballet was also premiered by the Greek National Ballet in 2014.

“To encounter and study different repertoire, enriches the dancer’s knowledge of various styles, and of different musicality and coordination.”

Esther Protzman studied ballet at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp, Belgium. In 1979 she won a scholarship in Lausanne and in the same year studied at the Academy the Dance 'Princess Grace' in Monte Carlo.
Her dance career lasted almost 20 years, first with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Antwerp and later as a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam. She played many leading roles in the Balanchine repertoire and in choreographies by Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schaijk and in the classical repertoire such as Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, for which she received the Dansersfonds prize in 1989.

Esther now teaches at Royal Conservatoire Dance for over 20 years. In addition to daily ballet classes, she also teaches pointes, pas de deux and classical ballet repertoire.

“In our society today there is a lot of focus on the individual, but young people need to be able to work together as well! In classical ballet repertoire there are endless possibilities, like dancing solo variations, teamwork in pas de deux and groupwork. Most important is the pleasure of dancing together.”

Siner joined the State Opera and Ballet of Izmir (Turkey) in 1988 and  performed with the company until 2004. In the years 2005-2009 she worked there as  ballet mistress, associate director and then artistic director. Since 2005 she has been working with Yannick Boquin  as his assistant and studying his method and style of teaching. She staged the ballet “The sufferences of young Werther” chor.Yannick Boquin in 2011 for the Istanbul State ballet and later in 2014 for the Greek National Ballet. She has been invited as guest teacher in the Dance Nordic Seminar in Stockholm in August 2014 and International Summer Ballet School, Dresden in August 2015

Siner works as a guest teacher with the following companies: Béjart Ballet Lausanne, The Houston Ballet Company, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Architanz in Tokyo, The Czech National Ballet Company in Prague, Opera National Bucharest, NRW Junior Ballet Dortmund, The Greek National Opera in Athens, The Henny Jurriens Foundation in Amsterdam, Slovenian National Opera and Ballet, Estonian National Ballet, Istanbul State Ballet, Izmir State Ballet, Antalya State Ballet, Ankara State Ballet

She also taught as a guest at teh following schools; Houston Ballet Academy, Academy of Dance KHIO in Oslo, Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, Royal Conservatory of Anvers, Academie Princesse Grace de Monte Carlo, ESDC Rosella Hightower (Ecole Superieure de Danse de Cannes)

“We all have different stories to tell. Learning how to create our own stories gives us the confidence to express ourselves. The endless learning process is the best part of it.”

Heidi’s career in the dance world spans more than 35 years. This includes her classical training and performing with top ballet companies in the US, to her multifaceted career with leading contemporary dance companies in Europe.

She has worked with groundbreaking choreographers such as William Forsythe and continues to work as an educator, choreographer, movement researcher and program developer. She continues to share her knowledge with educational programs as well as some of most prestigious contemporary dance companies and educational institutions worldwide. These include the Netherlands Dans Theater, Gothenburg Danskompani, and Tanz Theater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, all of which incorporate Heidi’s Stream-Flow Movement method into their daily practice.

She is the founder of the Stream-Flow Movement Method, defined as a therapeutic and mindful way for dancers to reconnect to their bodies. Professional dancers have been enjoying Stream Flow’s benefits for years, as a sort of Body Rescue during and after intensive work periods. Younger dancers have gained heightened body awareness, which sets them up for the rigorous demands of learning a new dance technique. Through a deeper understanding of the functional body, they gain confidence and a more intelligent body. Heidi’s Stream Flow workshops have been taught at universities throughout Europe, South Korea and Japan.

Stream-Flow Method is currently expanding its practice to work flexibly for All Bodies and to continue to create a conversation with Visual Arts, Design and Science. Currently, Heidi and her team are in collaboration with Harvard neuroscientist Anna Riley Shepherd, to measure the benefits of Stream- Flow Movement Method. This process includes measuring baseline brain indicators of health and wellness, before and after research periods.

“Improvisation is a wonderful path to connect to one's creativity and desires. It can set us free to explore and enjoy the element of surprise, but also help us risk and dare to enter into unknown territories. It's important that the classes create a safe environment to experience vulnerability and a playful space to connect to ourselves and others!”

Photo by David Middendorp

Aya Misaki was born in Japan, a contemporary dancer and a repetiteur based in Den Haag.
She danced with Nederlands Dans Theater 2 in seasons 2015-2018 and has performed works from Leon & lightfoot, Johan Inger, Edward Clug, Medhi Walerski, Jiri Pokorny, Marina Mascarell and many more.
Since 2018 Aya works as a freelance artist and has performed for projects in the Netherlands with choreographer Samir Calixto, Wubkje Kuindersma and David Middendorp.
She has proven her great artistry and was nominated for Piket Kunstprijzen Dans 2019.
Aya also works as a repetiteur for Edward Clug and Jiri Pokorny, she has staged their work at Czech National Theater, Staats Theater Nuernberg, Slovene National Theater, National Moravian Silesian Theater in Ostrava , Aalto Ballett in Essen and Theater Osnabrück.
Beside all the work in Europe, she has also choreographed her own work in Japan.

Learning contemporary repertoire is a necessary path for all dancers to find out their own body language and artistry.”

Jérôme Meyer is a former dancer with Nederland Dans Theater, Scapino Ballet and the Bathseva dance company. He teaches contemporary dance classes that are based on authentic movement exploration, improvisation and repertoire. He currently teaches the 'create your own solo' module, guiding students in the development of their own work.

He has taught at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague, AHK Amsterdam, NBA Amsterdam, Codarts Rotterdam, Artez Arnhem, Ballet Junior Geneva, University in Cape Town South Africa, VIC academy in Italy, ZHDK Zurich.

"Learning to dance means consciously accessing your own source of vitality and enjoying playing with your body in an infinite combination of movements"

Artistic director, choreographer, artistic coach with a demonstrated history of working in the Performing Art Industry at the highest level.

After her final education in the Conservatoire National Superieur de Lyon (88), Isabelle worked during 9 years in acclaimed dance companies before becoming a freelance dancer. She started by the Grand Theater de Genève (under Gradimir Pankov direction), joined Ohad Naharin in Batsheva Dance Company and was invited by Jiri Kylian to join Nederlands Dans Theater I. Beside the works of the main choreographers, she also worked and created with guest choreographers E.g. William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Johan Inger, Wim Vandekeybus, Saburo Teshigawara to name a few.
When starting her freelance carrier, she followed S. Teshigawara for a few years as a guest dancer in Ja

pan and internationally and developed a close artistic collaboration with her partner Jérôme Meyer. Their dance company MEYER-CHAFFAUD is based in The Hague, NL and their productions tour nationally and internationally. In 2017 they launched their first biannual multidisciplinary HUBS Immersive festival.
Isabelle is Co-founder of CLOUD/Danslab, a choreographic research center that supports multidisciplinary works by providing: premises, human resources and exchanges with the public.

As a teacher, her knowledge, genuine physical approach together with her pedagogic skills led her to teach contemporary master classes and workshops internationally (Switzerland, Russia, China, Italy, South Africa, USA…) and on a regular bases with higher schools such as Codarts (NL), ZHDK (CH), Koninklijk Conservatorium (NL) as a teacher, choreographer and coach.

Her contemporary class is based on developing acute awareness on how to articulate the movements, bringing the participants to a deeper knowledge on how the body organizes itself for more efficiency. Emphasize is made on textures, own sense of musicality and association of ideas to reach the different tasks (such as explosion, going beyond the range of body limb...)
Participants also observe the knowledge of their body in reaction to clear intentions.

Since 2015 Isabelle coaches and mentors around 30 students per year.
(E.g. Codarts Rotterdam, the apprentices of the Pole National Superiors of Cannes, Marseille and Aix en Provence)

The importance for young dancers today is gaining tools to anchor deeply the relation between your “physical” body with your intentions, your sensations, your boundary… your unique self and artistry.”