New scholarship fund for training at the Dutch National Ballet Academy

Floor Eimers, Ted Brandsen, Nancy Burer. Photography: Hans Gerritsen

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The Netherlands has gained a new fund this springtime: the Dance Talent Fund. It was set up on the principle that the origin and cultural background of talented young dancers, or their parents’ financial situation, should never form an obstacle to them starting to train at the Dutch National Ballet Academy, in Amsterdam. Although the Dutch National Ballet Academy took the initiative to set up the fund, it is an independent foundation with its own board. Two of the current board members are Floor Eimers (soloist with Dutch National Ballet) and former NBA student Nancy Burer (coryphée with Dutch National Ballet). The starting capital for the fund was donated by Ted Brandsen, artistic director of Dutch National Ballet.

The goal of the Dance Talent Fund is to support young talented dancers where necessary, so that they can train at the Dutch National Ballet Academy. All children and youngsters are eligible for a scholarship from the fund, regardless of their origin and cultural and/or social background, and irrespective of the dance style that originally demonstrated their talent – whether classical ballet or urban dance. The fund thereby endorses the Dutch National Ballet Academy’s aim to create a more diverse pupil and student base, which ideally should reflect the society we live in.

Two scholarships awarded already
Young dance talents from the Netherlands and abroad can apply to the Dance Talent Fund. In principle, the fund aims to offer long-term support to talented young dancers who need it. Beside contributing to school fees, travel expenses and/or housing and living expenses, the fund also aims to facilitate other types of support, such as advice and coaching. The fund is still small-scale at the moment, but a long-term vision is being developed, along with the associated financial resources. It is therefore not possible to apply for scholarships as yet. At the moment, the decision to award scholarships and other forms of support is taken (on the recommendation of the Dutch National Ballet Academy) by the independent board of the fund, assisted and advised by a team of experts.
The board has already awarded two scholarships: to AD student Olmo Verbeeck Martínez, and to João Felipe Santana, who will start his training at the Dutch National Ballet Academy in the next academic year.

Starting capital
The Dance Talent Fund got a big helping hand from the starting capital donated by Ted Brandsen, artistic director of Dutch National Ballet. In October 2019, Brandsen was awarded the Amsterdam Prize for Art, in the category ‘Proven Quality’. Besides contributing to other good causes, he also decided to make a substantial share of the prize money available for a new scholarship fund, to be set up for pupils and students of the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Because, as he says, “The Dutch National Ballet Academy is one of the few leading academies in the world with no scholarship system for offering places to talented pupils whose parents are unable to pay the school fees and associated costs”.
Brandsen says his donation should be seen as ‘an initial step’. “I hope that my donation will also inspire others: students’ parents and other family members, dance fans, other interested parties and businesses – anyone who thinks it’s important to invest in young talent and to give young dancers the opportunity to make their dream come true”.

Support the Dance Talent Fund
So everyone can help the Dance Talent Fund achieve its goals. As a donor, you are regularly informed of the fund’s activities, and you can get to know the talented young dancers of the Dutch National Ballet Academy at performances and other activities organised especially for you.
If you are interested in making a contribution, please send an e-mail to or fill in the contact form in on