Ernst Meisner
Photo: Erwin Olaf

Ernst Meisner appointed associate director of Talent Development

18 January 2024

Ernst Meisner will become associate director of Talent Development with Dutch National Ballet on 1 February. By creating and implementing this new position, the company is giving a new impulse to the importance of talent development, both for ballet dancers and for choreographers.

As associate director of Talent Development, Meisner will be responsible for the whole chain of talent development: the collaboration with ballet schools, including partner school the Dutch National Ballet Academy, the optimal functioning of the Junior Company and the creation and safeguarding of an environment that is as inspiring as possible for developing talented dancers and choreographers for Dutch National Ballet. Meisner will also be responsible for programming the ballet performances in Studio Boekman.

Meisner is currently artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy, in Amsterdam, which is part of the Academy of Theatre and Dance. Meisner is also 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, which he has held since 2018, and step down on 1 August 2024. Alongside his new position with Dutch National Ballet, Meisner will also remain the artistic director of the Junior Company.

Ernst Meisner: “Talent development is a broad concept and entails not only developing young dancers, but also supporting talented dancers within all the ranks and at all stages of their career. Through doing so, we can ensure that everyone attains their full potential. Moreover, it is extremely important in a changing world that we continually take a new and critical look at the art form we hold so dear. Through the right impulses, ballet in the Netherlands will continue to set a good example. We achieve this, for example, by giving opportunities to talented choreographers who have a passion for ballet technique, and through collaborations that challenge us to look at things differently. And by creating scope for a wide range of voices to add new dimensions to our company. Reinforcing the partnership between the Dutch National Ballet Academy and Dutch National Ballet will also continue to be an important part of my mission.”

Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet: “In the ten years that Ernst has been artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company, the company has grown to become an essential factor in the Dutch dance scene. Sixty percent of the dancers in Dutch National Ballet have come from the Junior Company, and many former Junior Company dancers have moved on to major companies abroad as well. The growth of the Junior Company is largely thanks to Ernst’s boundless energy. Through his great knowledge, passion, dedication and love of the profession, he has made a huge success of the Junior Company, and the group now sets an example for other junior companies all over the world. In addition, under Ernst’s leadership, the Dutch National Ballet Academy has grown in a short space of time into one of the top international ballet academies.”

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. In addition, partly on the initiative of Ernst Meisner, we set up the BA Teacher of Ballet course – which is unique in the Netherlands. New life has also been breathed into the Amsterdam International Summer School. And Ernst initiated the Company Experience Week, where pre-professionals aged 16-19 get the opportunity to work with and receive coaching from principal dancers with Dutch National Ballet. And, lastly, at the end of 2023, a long-held desire was realised: the DNBA received a stunning new building on Nicolaas Tetterodestraat in Amsterdam Overamstel. All pupils and students were brought together in one building.”

About Ernst Meisner

Ernst Meisner (the Netherlands, 1982) is a choreographer, and has been artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company since its foundation in 2013. Alongside that position, he was also artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy from 2018. Meisner trained as a dancer with the Dutch National Ballet Academy and danced with The Royal Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. He has choreographed several works for Dutch National Ballet and the Junior Company, including a number of special projects like The Dutch National Canta Ballet (2012) and the children’s performance The little big chest (2011). In collaboration with Marco Gerris from ISH Dance Collective, he also created the highly acclaimed hiphop-meets-ballet productions Narnia: The lion, the witch and the wardrobe (2015), GRIMM (2018) and Dorian (2023).

In 2021, Meisner received the ‘Special Prize’ from Dansersfonds ’79 for his great contribution to talent development in classical dance.