The Dutch National Ballet Academy trains students to become classical performing dancers who, thanks to their technical dance skills, personality and creativity, can flourish in leading ballet ensembles in The Netherlands and abroad. Graduate students have been taught a method of working that promotes sustained physical and mental fitness and well-being. The practical experience gained by students during their study is of key importance. Students of the Dutch National Ballet Academy regularly perform in productions by Dutch National Ballet. Moreover, they follow internships with major ensembles at home and abroad.
It takes many years to train a ballet dancer and lessons start at an early age. Therefore, the Dutch National Ballet Academy offers dance tuition combined with regular education in Dutch for children of 10 years and older. Starting from class 1 pupils participate in major productions by Dutch National Ballet, including the Nutcracker (in which the children play a key role), The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Giselle.
Much of the learning of the basis of classical technique, but also other curriculum takes place in the Lower School and therefore a good Lower School training is vital for the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Students auditioning from other schools for the AD/BA program will be required to have a similar standard, however the Dutch National Ballet Academy prefers to train its students from a young age itself.
Scouting for the Lower School takes place during a yearly audition tour, workshops, special courses for boys and other events connected to the school and company. Physical talent is the main starting point for any young dancers wanting to enter the program.
The Lower School contains of seven years, after which students audition to be considered for the full-time two-year Associate Degree (AD) program. They will then be ready to enter the field as professional dancers. Following the two-year course, it is also possible for students to add on a third year, to attain a Bachelor’s degree (BA) at higher professional education level, allowing them to specialise in a particular aspect of theory or teaching within classical ballet. Students are ready to enter the professional field after this third year, as well. However, the BA year is also open to students who first attain their AD, then start their dancing career and on ending that career wish to specialise in a particular area of interest and obtain a BA degree. This allows the Dutch National Ballet Academy to provide a lifelong learning option within ballet education.
During school productions all students from all levels perform together on stage. In this way, from the outset, aspirant dancers are taught what the profession involves: rehearsals in the studio and on stage, working with an orchestra, make-up and costumes, being punctual for performances and summoning the concentration to play your role well.
From the first day, pupils, students and teachers find themselves at the centre of professional practice, surrounded by dancers and staff of an extremely high professional level. Depending on the preliminary course and their secondary school certificate, students start at the age of 16-18 with the higher vocational phase of the National Ballet Academy and graduate at the age of 18-20. The higher vocational phase thereby forms the culmination of an intensive study course and a launch pad towards a professional dance career.
The Dutch National Ballet Academy also offers a one- or two-year course for selected international guest students. After completion of the course a certificate of attendance will be given. Guest students follow the same course as the students in the higher vocational phase without the theory lessons (music theory, dance history and anatomy & injury prevention).