The Dutch National Ballet Academy in corona times

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Like all schools, academies and cultural institutions in the Netherlands, we were hit in March by the measures taken by the government as a consequence of the corona outbreak. This led to the closure of both our school locations and to the fact that from then on we could no longer organise any events or gatherings. On 11 May, there was some relaxation to the rules for NBA 1 and 2, and from 8 June our youngest pupils will once again be following regular education and ballet training. The pupils of NBA 3 to 7 will keep doing online education until the summer. Our Bachelor’s students (those in the Netherlands at least) will make a careful start to dance training on location from 15 June.

Like everyone else, we are following the measures set out by the Dutch government to the letter. The current state of affairs for the various groups of pupils are outlined below:

NBA 1 and 2
On 11 May, we were able to reopen our location at Agamemnonstraat for our NBA 1 and 2 pupils. We could link up the start of our primary education at the Olympiaschool with giving ballet classes again to our youngest pupils: first every other day (with online ballet training on the days in between) and from 8 June on all weekdays again. In doing so, we are following the protocol of the KVLO (Royal Association for Physical Education in the Netherlands) and are remaining alert to hygiene rules and keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between pupils and teachers.

NBA 3 to 7
Secondary education started again in the Netherlands on 2 June, but the Gerrit van de Veen College (where our pupils from NBA 3 to 7 follow regular education) has decided to continue providing only online education until the summer and to keep the school building closed. The Dutch National Ballet Academy has therefore chosen to follow this policy and continue to provide only online training for NBA 3 to 7, as with regard to timetabling it is too complicated to combine ballet training on location with online regular education. The travelling times of many pupils make this practically impossible, or would lead to very long days. In addition, the government has decided that secondary school pupils should not yet make use of public transport.
In concrete terms, this means that our NBA 3 to 7 pupils will continue to follow their programme online from Monday to Friday until the summer.
BA students
Our BA students are on the point of entering the professional field – for a job, an audition, a traineeship or a project. Of course, we want their introduction to the professional field to go as well as possible. So from 15 June, we will be organising daily ballet classes at Agamemnonstraat for all our BA students who are currently in the Netherlands. We will be following the protocol of the Academy of Theatre and Dance, which states that no more than four students can work in a studio at the same time and that interim cleaning must take place when the groups change over. BA students who are currently abroad can continue to follow the online classes.

Study progress
Unfortunately, the annual test classes for NBA 1 up to the Bachelor’s classes could not take place this year. Our principle is to promote as many students as possible to the next study year. In doing so, we will be following the adjusted Education and Examination Regulations of the Academy of Theatre and Dance. Only in cases where there is serious doubt that moving up to the next year would be the right step for the student concerned will we discuss it with the student/parents.

We are convinced that in this way we can give the best possible guidance to all pupils and students on their path to the next year. We will keep track of educational competencies and shift the emphasis where possible. Parts of the syllabus that receive less attention at the moment will be given extra focus next school year. This will enable us to ensure that the education content is in balance for everyone throughout the rest of this year and the coming school year.

Dancers of Tomorrow
The current government measures for opening theatres are unfortunately so strict that our annual end-of-year performance cannot take place in the usual way. We have therefore found an alternative way to round off our school year. See the separate news item ‘Dancers of Tomorrow Online’ for more information.

In conclusion
As our plans are dependent on the measures taken by the government, we advise students from abroad to keep in close contact with our office (Wendy Tadrous-Paulusma). At the moment, we expect that this group of students will only be with us again in person at the beginning of the new school year.

Finally, we would like to thank all the pupils, students, parents and associates of the Dutch National Ballet Academy for their efforts, understanding and tokens of appreciation in this exceptional period.