Ernst Meisner leaves the Dutch National Ballet Academy after a successful 5 years

photo: Jan Willem Kaldenbach

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As of 1 February, Ernst Meisner will be associate director of talent development with Dutch National Ballet. He will relinquish his position as artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy of the Academy of Theatre and Dance in phases.

Ernst Meisner is currently the artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy (NBA) and the artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. He will gradually take leave of his position as the artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy, stepping down on 1 August 2024. Alongside his new position with Dutch National Ballet, Meisner will also remain the artistic director of the Junior Company.

Mechtild van den Hombergh, interim director Academy of Theatre and Dance:
“In recent years, Ernst has made a big contribution to talent development within Dutch National Ballet Academy. It goes without saying that it is a great shame he is leaving his position. We are proud as academy that Ernst Meisner has been appointed associate director of talent development with the renowned company Dutch National Ballet. The job suits Ernst down to the ground. And fortunately he will not be leaving us entirely, as his responsibilities include taking talented dancers into the company, which means he will retain connections with our training programme.”

René Vlemmix, managing director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy:
“Since we started our dual directorship in 2018, we have focused on the development of the academy and have achieved a great deal in five years. Ernst Meisner’s progressive vision of ballet in general and talent development in particular played a defining role in this achievement.

One result of the development was the transformation of the training programme into an Associate Degree in Classical Ballet, which links up better with the professional field, among other things. In addition, partly on the initiative of Ernst Meisner, we set up the BA Teacher of Ballet course – which is unique in the Netherlands. As part of lifelong learning, dancers who have taken a preliminary course in classical ballet and have at least an Associate Degree as a performing classical dancer, or who have taken a classical preliminary course and have ten years experience as a professional ballet dancer, can train as a Teacher of Classical Ballet.
New life has also been breathed into the Amsterdam International Summer School, which is now held in high esteem. This year, around 250 international ballet dancers are taking part in it. Thanks to the Company Experience Week, a new initiative by Ernst Meisner, pre-professionals aged 16-19 get the opportunity to work with and receive coaching from principal dancers with Dutch National Ballet.
And finally, at the end of 2023, a long-cherished dream became reality: the NBA moved to a wonderful new building at Nicolaas Tetterodestraat, in Amsterdam Overamstel. All the pupils and students have been brought together under one roof. “Our new home”, says Ernst Meisner, “will become a place where ballet is celebrated in every possible way and where everyone is welcome. And it will be a place where we look to the future, try things out, dare to make mistakes and explore what’s needed to let ballet and ballet education flourish even more in the Netherlands and to offer even more people the opportunity to come into contact with ballet.”

Ernst Meisner:
"Over the past five years, collaboration and connection have been the keywords in developing a new vision for ballet education, in which the Dutch National Ballet Academy aims to play a leading role.
Every day, I have been able to learn a lot from our young dancers. It is thanks to their inspiration that we have succeeded in growing further, and I am immensely proud of everything they achieve. Along with managing director René Vlemmix, all the wonderful teachers and other colleagues, we have taken the next step in ensuring that the NBA is the national and international ballet school that a major ballet company like Dutch National Ballet deserves. The Junior Company, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is a good example of the strong collaboration between the NBA and Dutch National Ballet.

I look forward to continuing to reinforce the ties between the school and the company in my new position as well, and to supporting ballet talent in the Netherlands in its quest for the future of the art form we hold so dear.”

About Ernst Meisner’s new position with Dutch National Ballet:
As associate director of talent development with Dutch National Ballet, Ernst Meisner will be responsible for ensuring a continual high-quality intake of talented dancers into Dutch National Ballet, programming the ballet performances in Studio Boekman and reinforcing the profile of talent programmes like the Choreographic Academy and New Moves. By creating and implementing this new position, the company is giving a new impulse to the importance of talent development, for both ballet dancers and choreographers.

About the Dutch National Ballet Academy:
The Dutch National Ballet Academy is part of the Academy of Theatre and Dance (ATD), which provides Bachelor’s and Master’s courses for all theatre and dance disciplines. The ATD is part of the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK), along with the Breitner Academy, the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Netherlands Film Academy, the Reinwardt Academy and the Academy of Architecture.

The Dutch National Ballet Academy is the only dance academy in the Netherlands that is directly affiliated to Dutch National Ballet, one of the leading ballet companies in the world. At the Dutch National Ballet Academy, pupils take an integrated programme of dance and regular education. The school currently has over 175 students. They include not only many young, talented Dutch dancers, but also a great number of students and guest students from abroad. Since 2013, master choreographer Hans van Manen has been the patron of the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet, is associated with the school as artistic adviser.