Ernst Meisner
Photo: Jan Willem Kaldenbach

Ernst Meisner

Associate director Talent Development and artistic director Junior Company

As associate director of talent development, Dutchman Ernst Meisner – who has held this newly created position since February 2024 – is responsible for ensuring a continual high-quality intake of talented dancers and choreographers into Dutch National Ballet. The job also involves the artistic leadership of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company, and Meisner’s other responsibilities include programming the ballet performances in Studio Boekman (the small auditorium at Dutch National Opera & Ballet) and reinforcing the profile of Dutch National Ballet’s talent programmes, such as the Choreographic Academy and New Moves.

Meisner was a dancer with The Royal Ballet (2000-2010) and Dutch National Ballet (2010-2013). He already started choreographing during his career as a dancer. He created several works for The Royal Ballet’s choreographic workshop, including What if, for Melissa Hamilton and Sergei Polunin, who were already very promising dancers at the time. For Dutch National Ballet, Meisner’s works included And after we were (2011), the children’s production The little big chest (2011), Saltarello (2012) and The Dutch National Canta Ballet (2012), all created during his time as a dancer with the company.

In 2013, Meisner was appointed artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company, which was founded in the same year. Under his leadership, the company grew to become one of the leading junior companies in the world, with an international ensemble of highly talented youngsters and a repertoire comprising existing masterpieces alongside many new creations made especially for the young dancers.

In addition, Meisner was appointed artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy in 2018. In this position, his responsibilities included transforming the academy’s training programme into an Associate Degree in Classical Ballet and founding the BA Teacher of Ballet course, which is unique in the Netherlands. Under his leadership, new life was also breathed into the Amsterdam International Summer School – which now attracts hundreds of dancers every year from all over the world – and in 2023 the Dutch National Ballet Academy moved into brand-new premises with fantastic facilities, at Nicolaas Tetterodestraat, in Amsterdam-Overamstel.

At the end of the 2023/2024 season, Meisner will be leaving his position as artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy after six years, in order to focus completely on his job as associate director of talent development with Dutch National Ballet.

Alongside all his responsibilities, Meisner has also remained active as a choreographer. In recent years, Dutch National Ballet has presented his creations Axiom of Choice (2014), Merge (2016), In Transit (2017), Impermanence (2018) and Prometheus (2020/2021), and Meisner’s creations for the Junior Company include Embers (2013), Lollapalooza (2013), No Time Before Time (2016) and Largo (2020). Along with Marco Gerris from ISH Dance Collective, he also created the imaginative, highly acclaimed hiphop-meets-ballet productions Narnia: The lion, the witch and the wardrobe (2015), GRIMM (2018) and Dorian (2023), in which dancers from the Junior Company share the stage with dancers from ISH. In addition, Meisner has choreographed works for the New York Choreographic Institute, for dance films by Crystal Ballet and for Bounden, a dance game/App by GameOven Studios.


  • 2021: Special Prize from Stichting Dansersfonds ‘79
  • 1999: Incentive Award from Stichting Dansersfonds ’79
  • 1999: Place in the finals of the Eurovision Young Dancers Competition

Last update: 09-02-2024