Visit from the Friends of Dutch National Ballet

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A large group of Friends of Dutch National Ballet paid a visit to the National Ballet Academy on 21 January. Afterwards, many of them were clearly impressed by the students’ achievements. ‘A lot of people told me that we should make it an annual tradition’, said Ellen Hanou, who has been a fund-raiser with de Theaterschool since August 2015.

The Friends attended a girls’ class, followed by a boys’ class, given respectively by Nathalie Caris (familiar to many Friends as a former principal with Dutch National Ballet) and Olivier Wecxsteen. Then they talked with artistic director Jean-Yves Esquerre and coordinator of the preliminary dance course Amanda Beck about dance training in the Netherlands in general, and at the National Ballet Academy in particular. And finally, they watched a run-through in the Danstheater of de Theaterschool, of David Dawson’s ballet 5, which the students performed on 1 February at the Holland Dance Festival during Welcome Canada!

During the talk with Jean-Yves Esquerre and Amanda Beck, the subject of the National Ballet Academy’s financial position was also raised. Hanou said, ‘Very few people realised that the preliminary dance course is not funded by the government and that de Theaterschool has to raise additional funding itself to supplement the contributions from parents. It is also important that the academy can give scholarships to foreign students’.

Although Hanou’s job covers all the dance and theatre courses at de Theaterschool, she says that the National Ballet Academy is ‘one of the spearheads of my work’. In the coming period, she will be developing plans to raise funding from private individuals, capital funds and businesses. ‘In doing so, I’d like to use the ideas and contacts of parents and other interested parties, so I’m always open to discussion’.

One of the first activities developed by Hanou is that visitors to Dancers of Tomorrow – the National Ballet Academy’s end-of-year performances given in Dutch National Opera & Ballet, in Amsterdam, on 7 and 8 July – will be asked for an extra donation when they buy tickets.

Tickets can be ordered through:

If you have ideas or suggestions, please contact Ellen Hanou: or 020-527 76 53.