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Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

Ernst Meisner

Ernst Meisner at a rehearsal. Photo Altin Kaftira

23 sep
2019

Ernst Meisner: It is very much a classical based school

AMSTERDAM: Ernst Meisner is Artistic Coordinator for Junior Company – Dutch National Ballet. Mr Meisner has been running the Junior Company since it was created 2013 and from 2018 he is also in charge of the ballet school.

Trained at the Dutch National Ballet school for seven years, his last year of training was at the Royal Ballet School in London. After that he was a dancer with the Royal Ballet for 10 years.

From 2010 till 2013 he came back to Amsterdam and danced with the Dutch National Ballet. Mr Meisner tells he is happy to be at the school and the Junior company and close the circle.

Ernst Meisner

Impermanence – rehearsal with Igone de Jongh and Marijn Rademaker. Photo Altin Kaftira

Most of the students at the school are from the Amsterdam area. Today they don’t have a dormitory so they can’t house students from outside other parts of Netherland.
We are looking for the possibility ta have a new building for the school, because it is important to get more international students as well.

The younger students when they start at 10-11 years most of them are Dutch and we scout through the whole of Holland and they come from all over Holland. Then they are around 25 in the class.

When we come to the older students from 14-15 years old, we scout internationally. We have a couple of houses for them but it is not a full dormitory, and they find other accommodations sometimes. The Bachelor of Arts students are a big mix of Dutch students but we have also a lot of internationally students.

I heard some of the students has a long trip?
Yes, we have students who gets up at 6, they are on the train at 7 and doing their homework, at 8 and do ballet classes until 5-6 in the afternoon. Then travel back to home again. It’s a huge commitment.

How do you attract students to come to the school, what’s your secret?
Haha, yes I think the secret is we have a good connection with the Dutch National Ballet. The Junior company is a bridge between the school and the company. Our school needs to lead into that company. You look for a particular type of student and how they develop as a dancer so they can join the company. This makes this place attractive. It is very much a classical based school. But like our company we do a lot of non-classical work, we have a wide variety which is based on classical steps.

And the company pick which student they want to have?
Yes, as I am responsible for both the school and the junior company so I have a bigger over view of the students we have and the talented as well. There is no guarantee, some years they take four students, the years after the double etc. And it also what the company need.

Ernst Meisner

Impermanence – rehearsal with Igone de Jongh and Marijn Rademaker. Photo Altin Kaftira

How many students do you start with the first year?
The first year when they are 10-11 years old, we have 25 students. After the basic school when they are 16 years, we have the Bachelor school for three years, and it’s a full time dancing program. At this level we also invite international students for one year. Those students don’t do the theory levels. But they get a Bachelor of Arts diploma and next step is the junior Company.

The first candidates for the Junior Company are our school, but I think it’s very important we look internationally. We haven open audition every year for the Junior Company.

The idea of the Junior Company was set up 2013 to bridge the gap between the school and the Dutch National Ballet. We–and many other schools-–train a lot of good students. But they don’t necessarily have a lot of experience of dancing on stage, being in a company, working with choreographers and ballet masters. That is something you have to learn.

Ernst Meisner

Ernst Meisner during the rehearsal of Impermanence. Photo Altin Kaftira

If you are going in a main company when you are 18 and you are among 80-90 dancers, standing in the back and you are swan no 25 it can be really hard. Then even if you have a lot of talent sometimes you don’t get the opportunities and you don’t get so many corrections from teachers any more, so that’s tuff…

We thought it would be important to have a junior company where we can give young dancers more chancers where they perform in Swan Lake and Nutcracker as core the ballet and top of that they do their own program with soloist work and tour around the country. They do much more on stage.

The first year they don’t get a full payment, but they got 300€ and accommodation paid. The second year they are fully in the company with a full salary as well.

When we set it up 2013 it was under the Dutch National Ballet and therefor also government founded. The Junior Company have also sponsors and foundations in Holland and private sponsors. The school is government supported.

You had such a wideness of the program at the examine performances?
Yes, I think the wideness is important and it’s incredibly important our students do Paquita with all the solos, it’s incredible hard, but they must do it! When the Dutch National Ballet do only neoclassical ballets some periods they must train to dance that style too. A lot of choreographers are coming and create works here the year around. Our students at the school must have the same experience to learn and be ready for that life as a company dancer.

Cristian Hillbom
23 Sept 2019

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