Visit of Expert Group to the Dance Department

It has been a long day for our external guests who came from all over Europe to The Hague to assess the Royal Conservatoire’s Dance Department. For two days, 5 experts followed a tight schedule to see our dance programmes, teaching approaches and the school facilities.

Pascale de Groote was the Chair of the commission. She is the principal of the Artesis Plantijn University of Applied Sciences and Arts and president of the Board of the Council of the Flemish University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

In her former capacity, Pascale served as Dean of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and president of the Association Européenne des Conservatoires. She has been active in the field of Quality Assurance since 1999 and participated in 28 expert committees for review visits for bachelor and master programmes in dance, drama, music and related subjects.

Additionally, Pascale was a professional dancer. Her task as an expert was it to critically assess our School and find points of improvements.

That is quite a challenging task, Pascale says. Most of the times, it is very difficult to speak about things that can be improved and some schools don’t appreciate criticism. But not at the Royal Conservatoire: Teachers, Staff and Management are quite eager to hear things that can be improved and constantly try to develop the programme. They encourage students to participate in this dialogue and nurture an open and reflective environment.

Everyone is incredibly dedicated and motivated, she says and you can feel a strong bond between teachers and students. This is very important in order to keep the students motivated and excel in their studies.

Amongst the experts was also a Bachelor student Rosie Mackley. She studies Modern Ballet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and won the RCS choreographic competition with her piece "Surveillance".

Rosie was very impressed by the teaching approach we have at the Royal Conservatoire. You produce intelligent dancers, she says. The students here are encouraged to think for themselves and do more than just dance. This is very important in order to become a successful dancer.

I look at the bachelor students not just as an expert but also as a peer. And I was especially impressed by the opportunities the students have. They can do both classical ballet and modern dance and they have room for improvisations. Another great aspect is the close collaboration with NDT. This is an unique opportunity to gain professional experience.

One last thing, Rosie pointed out: You have an anonymous Student Survey were students are encouraged to give feedback. This is very important in order to keep on improving and more schools should offer this.

The evening ended with a cosy dinner at the Kees van Baarenzaal (Photo: Student Expert Rosie Mackley (centre) with a group of Bachelor Dance students).