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Study guide


The Dutch National Ballet Academy

For 35 years now, the National Ballet Academy has been training students to become classical, performing dancers who, thanks to their technical dance skills, personality and creativity, can flourish in leading ballet ensembles at home and abroad. Graduate students have been taught a working method that promotes sustainable physical and mental fitness and well-being. The practical experience that students gain during their studies is of great importance. Students of the National Ballet Academy regularly perform in productions of Dutch National Ballet. In addition, they do internships with large ensembles in the Netherlands and abroad.

It takes many years to train a ballet dancer and classes start at an early age. That is why the National Ballet Academy offers dance education in combination with regular education in Dutch for children aged 10 and older. From class 1, students participate in major productions of Dutch National Ballet, including the Nutcracker (in which the children play a key role), Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Giselle.

The preliminary training lasts seven years, after which the students are eligible for an audition for the full-time HBO programme. The preliminary training focuses on the basic technique of classical ballet and also offers various other (dance) subjects. A good preliminary education is vital for the National Ballet Academy. Pupils who audition for the HBO program from other schools will have to have a comparable standard. However, the National Ballet Academy prefers to train its students from an early age.

Scouting for pre-training takes place during an annual audition tour, workshops, special courses for boys and other school and company events. Physical talent is the first point of departure for young dancers who want to start the preparatory training, after which coordination, musicality, dance feeling and understanding and the ability to make corrections are further examined.

From day one, pupils, students and teachers are at the center of professional practice, surrounded by dancers and employees of a very high professional level. Depending on the previous education and their secondary school diploma, the students start at the age of 16/18 at the Associate Degree (AD) of the National Ballet Academy and graduate at the age of 18/20. The HBO phase, in the form of an AD, is thus the culmination of an intensive study and the starting signal for a professional dance career.

In addition, the National Ballet Academy offers a one-year training for selected international guest students. A certificate of participation will be awarded upon completion of the course. Guest students follow the same program as students in higher professional education without the theory lessons (music theory, dance history and anatomy & injury prevention).

Since the start of the 2022-23 school year, the NBA offers a Bachelor of Dance (BA), Teacher of Classical Ballet. This is a nice addition to the existing AD program and a good example of “Life Long Learning”. With this new BA, the NBA facilitates the opportunity to train the next generation of classical ballet teachers for the Netherlands and the international field.

Students can enter from the AD phase or only much later after a career as a professional dancer.