Saturday 6 December 2014

Meet Ernst Meisner and his talented young dancers

Ernst Meisner
Photo Robin DePuy
(c) Dutch National Ballet 2014
Reproduced with kind permission of the Dutch 
National Ballet

Having danced with the Royal Ballet for 10 years Ernst Meisner is very well known and very well-liked by British audiences. In 2010 he returned to the Netherlands and joined the Dutch National Ballet as a grand sujet. He is now Artistic Co-ordinator of a group of exceptionally talented young dancers within Dutch National Ballet known as “the Junior Company”.

I saw their opening night in Amsterdam on 23 Nov 2013 which I reviewed in The Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet - Stadsshouwburg Amsterdam 24 Nov 2013 25 Nov 2013. In May 2014 Ernst Meisner brought his Junior Company to the Linbury and I reviewed their show in And can they fly! The Dutch National Ballet Junior Company at Covent Garden 30 May 2014. The more experienced members of the Junior Company have now joined the Dutch National Ballet as apprentices and their places have been taken by Bart Engelen, Martin ten Kortenaar, Lisanne Kottenhagen, Ryosuke Morimoto, Cristiano Principato, Emilie Tassinari, Yuanyuan Zhang and Riho Sakamoto.

I had admired the works of Rudi van Dantzig and Hans van Manen for many years but I started to follow the Dutch National Ballet only recently. I am now a Friend of that company and am getting to know It better. I was led to the National Ballet by the Junior Company and have written a lot of articles about both of them in Terpsichore. Noticing my interest in the Dutch National Ballet in general and the Junior Company in particular Ernst Meisner kindly agreed to help me write this feature by answering my questions and introducing me to the new members of the Junior Company.

As there is a lot of material I have divided this feature into a number of posts. The first is on Ernst Meisner’s work with the Dutch National Ballet. The second is on the Junior Company. The rest of the feature consists of interviews with each of the new members.  I asked each of those dancers:
  • how he or she had started to study ballet;
  • where he or she had trained; 
  • whether there was a dancer or choreographer who had inspired the new member and if so who it was;
  • whether a teacher had inspired the new member and if so who;
  • the member’s greatest achievements to date;
  • the roles he or she had already danced;
  • the ballets or roles that the member wished to dance;
  • the new member’s favourite dancers and choreographers;
  • the member’s immediate ambitions;
  • his or her long term ambitions such as choreography, teaching or another career outside ballet; and
  • the member’s interests outside ballet such as sports, music, film and other performing arts.
I am very grateful to Richard Heideman, Press Manager of the Dutch National Ballet, for putting those questions the dancers on my behalf.

If you want to meet Ernst Meisner you will have a chance to do so in March when he talks to the London Ballet Circle. I understand from Susan Dalgety of the Circle that the date of his talk has not yet been fixed, I shall post details of the date, time and venue of his talk as soon as I learn them.

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