NBA collaborates with five international ballet schools in online project by choreographer Didy Veldman

photo: ©2020 The Royal Ballet School

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The Dutch National Ballet Academy is proud to participate in an online choreographic project with 120 young dancers at the invitation of the renowned Royal Ballet School in London. Together with students from The Royal Ballet School, the Paris Opera Ballet School, Royal Ballet School of Denmark, San Francisco Ballet School and Canada's National Ballet School, the NBA students embark on a choreographic creation process that takes place entirely online.

A total of 120 young dancers from the six schools, currently in 23 different countries and across thirteen time zones, are participating in this huge choreographic project and are coming together via online platforms. Together they take up the creative choreographic challenge for ballet students in lockdown.

Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman will lead the exciting project in the coming weeks. Didy Veldman made a new work for the Final Performance Dancers of Tomorrow last school year, entitled Made in Holland for all BA students of the National Ballet Academy.

One of the project’s inspirations is The Well-Tempered Clavier by JS Bach. This set of preludes and fugues for keyboard was intended as a pedagogical exercise, giving keyboard players experience in working with the chords, scales and arpeggios in each key. Veldman hopes to translate the intricacies of these pieces into movement.

Challenges include the impact of time lag in working with music, finding universally available props, and working in small rehearsal spaces. Each group has a rehearsal director from one of the schools, who supports Veldman in correcting students, and a lead student, who helps to manage their group and can resolve technical issues during the sessions.

Ernst Meisner, Artistic Director NBA:
“This wonderful project that responds to the current pandemic and lockdown around the world gives our students a great opportunity to work together on a new creation. Especially at a time when we had to cancel our annual final performance "Dancers of Tomorrow", it is extremely important that our students receive new impulses. It is wonderful to see how inventive our students are and how they work with their colleagues from other top schools. I am very proud of this great international collaboration and look forward to the final result! ”

Nathalie Caris, teacher NBA:
"Since the beginning of this crisis artists around the world have come together and created the most heart-warming and innovative online videos. I am so pleased that our students ,through this project, will also be given the opportunity to share their passion, discipline and visceral need to move their art form forward in these difficult times. Crisis breeds innovation and these young talented students will have discovered another way of showing solidarity and positivity through dancing together/apart. I wish them lots of fun and I hope new friendships will develop between these 120 students from around the globe!"

Isaac Mueller, student NBA:
"Everyone has asked themselves 'When is this crisis going to end?', as the feeling of their life being put on pause becomes more and more real. This project reminds me that our lives are not stopped due to the circumstances, and we still have the opportunity to do what we love in ways we maybe did not think were possible before. I am incredibly grateful for the coming together of these prestigious schools because we have proven that together, even in times of crisis, we can continue to grow, learn, and live this beautiful thing called life."

Didy Veldman, photograph: Rachel Cherry © 2018 The Royal Ballet School