Introduction

“We train talented dancers for a future career as creative and independent artists who combine an open mind with craftsmanship, passion and ambition”

The Dance department was established to train students of what was formerly the Academy of Dance. The programme started in 1956 under the leadership of Sonia Gaskell (1905-1974), who was at that time the artistic director of the Nederlands Ballet, which was partially absorbed into the Dutch National Ballet in 1961. The teaching methods were initially based on the British ballet syllabus. Valerie Adams, a prominent dance teacher at Britain’s Sadler’s Wells School, was appointed as principal teacher. In 1973, René Vincent, a Dutch ballet teacher and former soloist with the Dutch National Ballet, became director of the Dance department.
Ten years later he was succeeded by Marian Sarstädt. During the period of Jiří Kylián’s artistic directorship of the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), the two institutions formed a close partnership. With Sarstädt’s international reputation as a member of the jury of the Prix de Lausanne, the school gained international renown as one of the programmes where winners of the competition could study.

In 2002, Wim Broeckx, a former principal soloist and assistant artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet and artistic president of the Prix de Lausanne, was appointed as the department’s director. When he left in the 2011–2012 academic year, he was succeeded by Nancy Euverink, an alumna and a former leading dancer with the NDT with an outstanding reputation as a teacher, ballet master and choreographic assistant. Euverink stood down at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year after three years as director.
In September 2014, alumnus Jan Linkens, a choreographer, former dancer with the Dutch National Ballet and former director of the International Dance Theatre, assumed the post of director of the Dance programme.

The Royal Conservatoire’s Dance department has close associations with the leading Dutch dance companies, including the Dutch National Ballet, Introdans, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam and, in particular, the Nederlands Dans Theater. The Fondation pour l’Art Choreographique has designated the Royal Conservatoire as one of the institutes where winners of the internationally renowned Prix de Lausanne ballet competition can study free of charge for a year. The school is affiliated to the Assemblee Internationaal of the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto (director Mavis Staines), an international dance festival/conference organised every four years for students and artistic directors of professional ballet schools from around the world.

The Dance department is a partner of the most important ballet competition in Europe, the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. Every year the directors of the partner schools meet to discuss and formulate a joint vision for the development of academic theatre dance and the training of dancers.

The Dance programme is affiliated to the Assemblée Internationale of the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto, a dance festival/conference organised every four years for students and artistic directors of professional ballet schools from around the world.
The Dance programme is also a member of the Dance Network, in which all of the dance courses in the Netherlands are represented.

The Dance department is a member of various international alliances with which it organises exchanges, conferences and joint projects. Its partners include the National Ballet School in Toronto, Canada, the Royal Ballet School in London, UK, the Orchard International Ballet Forum in Tokyo, Japan, the San Francisco Ballet School in San Francisco, USA and the National Ballet School in Havana, Cuba.

Structure of the Dance department
The Dance department provides continuous education from primary school to third-level education and offers four programmes. Each programme is devoted to helping students to develop the skills required for a career as a professional dancer.

Groups 5 and 6 of primary school

Young KC Dance is an orientation programme in which the pupils are already taught the principles behind the school’s vision of the training of the dancers of the future:
“To train dancers who have mastered classical techniques and who combine an open, creative mind with professional skills, passion and ambition.”
Participants in Young KC Dance do not automatically advance to the Dance programme itself. The children who will go on to the first year of the Dance programme are selected at the final audition in March. The children who are admitted to the programme then receive lessons on Wednesdays and Saturdays in April, May and June.

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Groups 7 and 8 of primary School
The first two years of the Dance programme coincide with groups 7 and 8 of primary school. The children studying ballet follow the regular school curriculum in the same class as the pupils studying music and receive instruction from specialised teachers.

The children have classes from Monday to Friday. In addition to the regular curriculum, they have 12 hours of dance classes every week. The dance curriculum includes classical ballet technique, creative dance and caractère. Rehearsals for studio evenings, end-of-year performances and incidental projects are sometimes held in the weekends.

HAVO and VWO 1 and 2 (first two years of secondary school)

The children studying ballet follow the regular school curriculum in the same class as the pupils studying music and visual arts and receive instruction from specialised teachers.
The children have between 14 and 15 hours of dance lessons every week. The dance curriculum consists of classical ballet, pointe technique (for girls) and jump technique (for boys), caractère, flamenco and modern dance. Rehearsals for the studio evenings and the end-of-year performances are sometimes held in the weekend.

HAVO and VWO 3 up to the final exam (final years of secondary school)
The pupils have between 15 and 17½ hours of dance lessons every week. From ballet group VI, they also have lessons on Saturdays.
The dance curriculum includes classical ballet, pointes technique (for girls) and jump technique (for boys), pas de deux, modern dance, flamenco, classical and modern repertoire.

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Bachelor programme
The Bachelor of Dance is the final phase of the Dance programme for students advancing from the School for Young Talent, but is also open to students who have completed an equivalent education elsewhere. Students have between 38 and 42 hours of dance lessons, 6 days a week.

The dance curriculum consists of classical ballet, pointes technique (for girls) and jump technique (for boys), pas de deux, modern dance, classical variations, classical repertoire, the repertoire of the Dutch School and the repertoire of the Nederlands Dans Theater. Other subjects that are taught are history of dance, career planning, creating a personal solo and preparing a study plan, as well as make-up, yoga, Pilates and body conditioning.

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To enable students to gain as much stage experience as possible, the Dance programme has formed its own ensemble: the Royal Conservatoire Dance Ensemble. Students from other national and international courses are also able to join the company by doing an audition.

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