About the Junior Company
Currently, there are 17 dancers in the Junior Company, led by artistic director Ernst Meisner. They follow a daily programme that reflects that of a major ballet company. Each season, the Junior Company usually presents two of their own programmes. One programme is a full-length contemporary production and the other is a mixed bill showing a cross section of the ballet repertoire, including classical pas de deux and extracts from the classical and neoclassical repertoire, alongside new works created especially for the company by established choreographers and young upcoming creatives. The Junior Company’s full-length productions are often presented in collaboration with urban dance company ISH Dance Collective; for example, Narnia: The lion, the witch and the wardrobe (2015) and GRIMM (2018), which showcase a spectacular encounter between ballet and hiphop. In May 2023, a new joint production followed, which this time included dancers from Dutch National Ballet as well: Dorian, after Oscar Wilde’s famous novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.
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2nd year: Poppi Eccleston, Polina Loshchylina, Carolina Ribaldone, Bo-Ann Zehl, Robin Park, Soshi Suzuki, Francesco Venturi
1st year: Ella Kolpakov, Frédérique Meewis, Ana Luísa Negrão, Sangwon Park, Hà Nhi Trân, Aafke Wolles, Alexander Álvarez, Patrik Benák, Vincent Fell, Vincent Vivet
With Ten the Junior Company celebrates its anniversary
The 2023-2024 season Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company is presenting the extra festive touring programme Ten to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its foundation. It comprises three completely new creations (by Joseph Toonga, Wubkje Kuindersma en Kirsten Wicklund), Toccata by Krzysztof Pastor which the Juniors will dance for the first time, as well as Valse Fantaisie, a graceful yet very demanding classical gem by the master choreographer George Balanchine.
‘I’m extremely proud of what the Junior Company has achieved in this relatively short time’
Besides working on their own programmes, the Junior Company dancers also regularly perform in productions by Dutch National Ballet, especially in the big classics like Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. More than forty former Junior Company dancers have now made the transition to the main company. At present, they include two principal dancers and eight soloists. The company has really made its mark with successful tours of the Netherlands and abroad. In early 2020, for instance, the Junior Company gave three hugely successful performances in Indonesia. Also in June 2023, the juniors spent two weeks there for a tour along various theatres with a programme they danced earlier that season during the Dutch tour of Ballet Bubbles.
Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet: "I am very proud of what the group has achieved in this relatively short time. All those young talents also give an enormous boost to the company as a whole. And, what is also very nice: the juniors create a very good working atmosphere. They are used to operating as a group, have performed together everywhere, at home and abroad, and you can feel that, even after they have moved on to Dutch National Ballet."