Lotte La Haye’s dream internship with Scapino Ballet

‘Never lose your enjoyment in dancing. The reason you dance is the pleasure it gives you.’ Lotte La Haye is nearing the end of her studies in the Dance department and is currently doing an internship with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. She has spent an entire season with the company, which is currently touring with the reprise of Pearl. In this article, Lotte describes her experiences as an intern and her time in the Dance department.

‘I started dancing at the age of three. After a few years, my dance teacher asked if I would like to audition for the Royal Conservatoire. There was nothing I wanted more than to spend the whole day dancing, so of course I did the audition. After a two-year orientation course, I did a final audition and was able to join the School for Young Talent in group 7 of primary school.’ Lotte has followed the complete Dance department, from the orientation programme via primary and secondary school right up to the Bachelor degree programme. When Lotte completes her internship this year, it will truly be the end of an era. ‘The Dance department has been a second home for me. Year in and year out, you spend long days at school and almost all of your time in the company of the same people. It really feels like a family.’

Modern dance
‘What has made a real impression on me during my time at the Royal Conservatoire is the annual Young Talent Project with the Nederlands Dans Theater. It was my first introduction to modern dance. It was very liberating and really opened my eyes: modern dance has become my main focus.’ In the second year of the Bachelor’s programme, Dance students do auditions for their final internship. ‘I really wanted to audition for a modern dance company. Scapino was my first choice and I was immediately offered a place there. I was so happy! Scapino is a very special company. In the first place, the working environment is fantastic. As an intern, you can gain a lot of stage experience. You really are a member of the group. A second thing I have always admired about Scapino is that while the dancers perform as a very tight-knit group on stage, the individual characters always come through. On a personal note, Scapino has also given me the freedom to explore and express my true self.’

A day in the life
Lotte describes a typical day in her life. ‘Every day begins with a ballet lesson, which is followed by rehearsals. If we had a performance the previous night, we discuss the notes that were made about it. There are then rehersals for the programmes we are currently working on, and sometimes understudy rehearsals. We tour all around the country, so it will then be time to get on the bus for the drive to the theatre. When we arrive at the theatre, I do my make-up and hair and then we warm up. We also study the spacing on the stage and do a sound and lighting check. By then, it is time for the performance.’ As an intern, Lotte has not only learned a lot about dance, but other important skills she will need during her professional career. ‘There is a lot of waiting around when the company is on tour, if only because of the frequent travelling. I have learned a great deal about taking good care of my body during those periods – deciding when I should take a rest, what warming up suits me best, and how to divide the day in order to conserve my energy. Memories that really stand out are the occasions when I had to perform as a stand-in. You normally hear in the morning if you will have to stand in for a different role that evening. But during the Ballet Gala of the Dansersfonds ’79, I only heard midway through the performance. That taught me a lot about how to remain calm in the face of a last-minute change of circumstances.’

Dancing around the world
‘The internship is for an entire season. I started in August and will finish at the end of June. Hopefully, I will then obtain my diploma. I would love to join a modern dance company and I am currently doing a lot of auditions, all around the world. I am really keen to discover new places. The world is my oyster.’

Photo: Gijs Stenger

Video: Lotte talks about Pearl