Language of instruction
The courses are taught in English. Students, whose English is not sufficient enough to follow classes, will be asked to follow an English course during the summer before starting the 1st school year. Students need to show a certificate at the beginning of the school year.
Structure of the academic year
The course year comprises 40 weeks, divided into two semesters. The first (Autumn) semester consists of two blocks and ends with the Christmas break. The second semester runs from January until July and consists of three blocks. The blocks are timed to fit with the Dutch school break and holiday calendar for North Holland province.
The programme’s study load comprises 42 hours a week (in total 1680 hours per year) and consists of face-to-face instruction, in which the student attends lessons and related sessions (with teachers/guest artists, mentors, advisers, etc.) and self- study hours when the student is expected to study independently (writing, reading, rehearsing, undertaking research, stage, etc.). By drawing up the year planning, considerations are made to spread the study load throughout each year. However, an increased study load occurs, especially leading up to and around performance periods.
In professional training it is necessary for students to learn to work increasingly independently as the course progresses, in order to develop a self-supportive work attitude. The teachers and team therefore progressively adopt a more supervisory, coaching approach as the 4-year programme progresses.
Although the study load remains the same, the proportion of hours dedicated to face-to-face instruction and self-study changes. Face-to-face instruction gradually decreases as the study programme progresses while the number of self-study hours (and the level of student independence) increases, especially from the 3rd year onwards.
The regular courses and face-to-face hours are scheduled between 09.15 in the morning and 17.00 in the afternoon. During performance period’s different schedules apply as a certain amount of activity takes place in the evening.
The student is supposed to display curiosity, self-initiative and investigative attitude. They are expected to accumulate knowledge and skills independently by studying material, writing reports, undertaking research while creating performances and revealing the outcome of their research. The student is expected to maintain a constant level of study throughout the year to minimize work peaks. The timeliness and deadlines set up by the school are there to provide optimal support on the behalf of the team and distribute available resources evenly to all students.
In current society the ‘last-minute mode’ is sometimes celebrated as the mode in which creatives operate the best. This attitude is not something SNDO is in support of. We rather encourage and expect of students to understand different components of the study programme as ongoing platforms for investigation, research and articulations of their artistic practice. Overseeing longer timeliness and processes and devising sustainable practice is a necessary competence to acquire throughout the study.
In general, classes are composed of groups consisting of a maximum of 10 regular students. The student’s development can be supervised effectively if the groups are not too big and the teachers/guest artists and staff can devote considerable attention to each individual. In addition to regular students in the 1st and 2nd study year SNDO may accept a limited number of guest or exchange students. Usually this doesn’t exceed more than 1-2 guest students per semester.
Programme content and timeline communication and dissemination
To enable the most coherent, updated and professionally relevant study programme, the curation of the programme follows a dynamic timeline which stretches from planning courses and inviting artists a year and a half ahead to the ones that enter the programme closely before the upcoming block or semester. Teachers and artists professional practice plays significant role when it comes to their availability to teach. The programme is built in a delicate interplay between these timelines, the dramaturgical coherency of the programme and needed space for changes and renewal in the curriculum.
The general blocks division (and the academic year start and end) is set by the Academy of Theatre and Dance management and is available online on My AHK page. The SNDO programme content is communicated to students two-three times per year and every time minimum four weeks prior to the start of the upcoming block (except in the first year whereby the program is sent at the beginning of the school year). The courses schedule of all study years are sent per email to all students. This is often preceded or followed by verbal guidance through the programme in a group setting between the artistic director and the students. The individual descriptions of regular courses are available following this link (note: you need to be logged into the ahk account to be able to access these pages).
Artistic director usually engages in dialogue with teachers in different ways and moments. There are yearly one-on-one meetings prior, during or after the course. There is a yearly teachers meeting where artistic director guides all (regular and Amsterdam based) teachers and artists through the curriculum and general developments in the school and programme.
With invitations to artists and guest teachers for the first time, artistic director engages in a dialogue about the context and expectations of those who are invited to teach a course. The complete study guide is sent to each guest teacher and artist together with the confirmation of the course. Like this the guest artist and teacher get an insight into general workings and requirements of the programme.
Besides structurally receiving the information from the institution, students are expected to show curiosity and conduct independent research and information search about the teachers and guest artists work. Internet is rich in information and ATD library provides great professional insights through magazines, books and videos, but also through access to SNDO alumni work and final paper (BA thesis).
Academy of Theatre and Dance has put three of its studios at availability of SNDO programme. This follows the general distribution of 3 studios per dance BA/ AD. SNDO’s studios are 602, 609 and 809. 602 is a large multifunctional space, it has mirrors, artificial and daylight, black and white curtains, dance floor and light grid. It is used for classes, rehearsals and performance programmes. 609 is a smaller studio. It contains light grid, wooden floor and no windows. It is used for classes, rehearsals and performances. 809 is a big daylight studio on the rooftop of the Academy. It has a wooden floor and no possibility to be darkened. Besides classes and performances, which work with daylight, 809 is at times used for different gatherings and celebrations at the Academy.
These studios are used by SNDO 1, 2 and 3. In the performance periods priorities are agreed upon so that those who are preparing the studio festivals have priority in booking the studios outside the regularly scheduled courses.
For SNDO 4, there are 2 to occasionally 3 external studios rented from January – June. These are Entre Nous Studio in Ruijterkade 149 and BAU studios in Entrepotdok 4. These studios belong to external partners. Students are obliged to comply with house regulations and expectations of those who run these spaces. After one initial warning, failing to respect the regulations and agreements will result in withdrawal of studio usage from the student(s) concerned.
SNDO administrator manages studios scheduling.