Floris and Jasmijn - "You have the opportunity to develop yourself in ways that aren’t possible anywhere else"

9 January 2023

In this interview, we speak to Floris Puts and Jasmijn Gorter, who started at the School for Young Talent and are now studying in the Bachelor of Dance programme. They mention the programme's uniqueness because of the balance between classical ballet and modern dance. They also discuss the projects and opportunities to develop themselves as professional dancers. According to Floris and Jasmijn, the programme offers unique opportunities for a career in the dance world.

For more than 60 years, the School for Young Talent (SvJT) has offered dancers the opportunity to combine their training with regular education. Dance and school timetables are aligned, which was attractive to Jasmijn and Floris. Jasmijn started ballet at an early age when she was just two years old. She got the chance to audition for the SvjT through her ballet school. "I liked the fact that the classes were very small. As a result, you developed a good relationship with the teacher, and there was more attention given to the pupils."

Floris ended up there through another mother who told her about the school during an audition for Billy Elliot the musical. "I liked the sound of it, so I auditioned. In terms of subjects, it is an ordinary secondary school, but you are with your best friends that have similar drive and goals, which makes it extra fun. You quickly find a connection with someone because you understand each other well. If I compare it to a normal school, I notice that we rarely failed a test, and the success rate is very high because of the high level of personal attention given."

A good balance between classical ballet and modern dance
After graduating from the SvJT, they both looked around, analysed, and thought about where they wanted to continue their studies. It made sense to move on to the Bachelor of Dance at the Royal Conservatoire, but they also carefully analysed and looked at the possibilities of studies across the country. What determined their decision?

"You have the opportunity to develop yourself in ways that aren’t possible anywhere else. Where you have the chance to put in so many hours and do so many performances," says Floris. Jasmijn adds that the course also has a good balance between classical ballet and modern dance. "At Codarts, the focus is more on modern art, while The National Ballet Academy is very classically oriented. Here you have both. "That's not only nice; it also offers more opportunities towards my future career."

Satisfaction and pleasure
Floris and Jasmijn take their work seriously but also have a lot of fun in what they do. Learning choreography and working towards a performance is thrilling for them. They get great satisfaction from small successes achieved during this process and from finally performing the piece on stage. "Sometimes you spend a long time working on a piece of choreography and get a bit frustrated, but once you succeed, it's a great feeling." says Floris. Jasmijn adds, "Working towards a performance is very satisfying. Small things that are difficult at first but get better and better, also with regard to expression, for example. Then when it all comes together and you're on stage, it's a fantastic feeling."

"The more you know about art, the more artistic you can be yourself."
When asked about their favourite project, it is the Young Talent Project (YTP) for both Floris and Jasmijn. "That's really fun. We also get to work with former NDT dancers and their choreographers. Those are gods to us, haha. It's crazy because it's 'just' your teacher, but at the same time, you find out that they have done things you can only aspire to. So, it’s very cool that we can work with them," says Floris. Jasmijn adds, "When you see the names of the people you work with and look them up, you get really impressed by what they have all done. So, it's crazy that we get to be in a class with them. It’s exciting"

Besides the YTP project, there are other projects throughout the year. "For example, we also have to create our solo every year. That isn't easy, but an incredibly important aspect within the dance world. Nowadays, they require a lot of input from the dancers themselves. You have a lot of opportunities to develop yourself in that area, here," says Floris. Jasmijn explains how she used to be bad at this but got more and more comfortable with it and improved as the years went by.

"The art history lessons we had at school also greatly helped my development. The more you know about art, the more artistic you can be yourself," Floris says.

Future ambitions
After getting their bachelor’s degrees, Jasmijn and Floris hope to find work in the dance world as soon as possible. Jasmijn is willing to go abroad: "Because we can develop so broadly here, we have a better chance of eventually finding a place in the dance world. I am definitely willing to go abroad. I have been in host families since I was ten because my family lives far away. That makes you independent, making it easier for me to go abroad."

Floris would prefer to stay in the Netherlands, but he also knows there is a good chance he will eventually end up abroad: "You get a lot of freedom here, but with that comes a lot of responsibility. It's up to us to find and seize opportunities. I prefer to stay in the Netherlands, but there are relatively few large companies in the Netherlands, and there is much more demand for dancers abroad. So, there is a good chance we will end up abroad."

Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire.