The board of the Academy of Theatre and Dance at Amsterdam University of the Arts has appointed Ernst Meisner as the new artistic director (ad interim) of the National Ballet Academy. Meisner is succeeding Jean-Yves Esquerre, who has directed the academy since 2014. Esquerre recently stepped down as artistic director following a breach of confidence. Meisner will combine his new position of artistic director of the National Ballet Academy with his current position of artistic coordinator of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. Meisner will be assisted at the National Ballet Academy by the newly appointed managing director René Vlemmix.
The appointment of Ernst Meisner will mean an intensification of the already close artistic collaboration between the National Ballet Academy and Dutch National Ballet. A very successful example of the current artistic collaboration was the founding of the Junior Company in 2013, which bridges the gap between professional dance training and a professional company. Both the school and the company have expressed the wish to come even closer together in the future.
Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet and artistic advisor to the National Ballet Academy: “It is very positive news that Ernst Meisner is also taking on the artistic leadership of the National Ballet Academy, alongside his current job of Artistic Coordinator of the Junior Company. Along with the newly appointed managing director René Vlemmix and the academy’s teaching team, he will steer the further development of the school into a leading European ballet academy, which focuses primarily on talented young Dutch dancers, but also welcomes international students.
Jean-Yves Esquerre was an inspired artistic director, who brought about some important improvements in recent years. It is regrettable that a breach of confidence has brought his leadership to an end. The teaching team of the National Ballet Academy has ensured that the quality of the dance education has remained at a consistently high standard. But with the appointment of Meisner and Vlemmix, we look forward to a positive and inspiring future for the school”.
Jan Zoet, director of the Academy of Theatre and Dance:
“I am proud that with Ernst Meisner as artistic director, we can continue the great ambitions of the National Ballet Academy. Training to become a ballet dancer is very demanding and starts at the early age of ten. With Ernst as artistic director, we can continually ensure that talented Dutch youngsters are able find work with Dutch National Ballet and in the international dance world”.
Ernst Meisner is the artistic coordinator of, and a choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. He trained as a dancer at the National Ballet Academy and The Royal Ballet School. Meisner danced with The Royal Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. He has created various works for Dutch National Ballet, including Saltarello(2012), And after we were (2011), The Dutch National Canta Ballet(2012), Axiom of Choice (2014), In Transit (2017), Impermanence (2018) and the children’s production The little big chest (2011).
For the Junior Company, he choreographed Embers (2013), No Time Before Time (2016) and Revelry (2017). With Marco Gerris, artistic director of ISH, he created the acclaimed ‘hiphop meets ballet’ productions Narnia: the Lion, the Witsh and the Wardrobe (2014) and GRIMM (2018).
Meisner has also choreographed works for the New York Choreographic Institute (part of New York City Ballet), The Royal Ballet New Works Programme, English National Ballet School, DanceEast and Encore Dance Company.
Ernst has also been a guest teacher with English National Ballet School, the Summer Schools of The Royal Ballet School, Korean Youth Ballet Stars and the Youth American Grand Prix.
René Vlemmix has been working for three years as an independent (interim) manager and advisor within the performing arts world. He was the managing director of Springdance, the contemporary dance festival in Utrecht. In this role, he was a co-initiator of the founding of the SPRING International Performing Arts Festival, where he was managing director until 2015. Before that, he worked for 13 years with Nederlands Dans Theater, where he was responsible for all the company’s international activities.
The National Ballet Academy is the only classical dance academy in the Netherlands that has an official collaborative agreement with Dutch National Ballet. Its students can therefore perform in the Dutch National Ballet’s big productions, such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Don Quichot and Romeo and Juliet.
Dutch National Ballet is involved in the selection and composition of the studies and the teaching team at the academy. A large number of ex-dancers from Dutch National Ballet work as teachers with the National Ballet Academy. Choreographer Hans van Manen is the patron of the National Ballet Academy, and Dutch National Ballet’s director, Ted Brandsen, is its artistic advisor.