From my personal experiences as a graduate student of the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam it was logical to investigate the dance sector in the Netherlands. My concerns were especially focused on the young talented dancers who invest many years of hard work, without having any guarantee of success in their future career as a professional dancer because the chances of success are very low. To be more specific, the research question examines why it is so difficult to become a professional dancer in the Netherlands, even when the Dutch dance companies are internationally so highly recommended. Given the conceptual framework combined with my personal case this thesis can be considered reflective, in that the conclusion functions as an advisory report for the dance sector in the Netherlands. The data-gathering tool of the qualitative research is in-depth interviews with prominent individuals of the Dutch dance sector, which led to new insights and perspectives.

The main results were that compared to foreign countries, the ballet academies in the Netherlands do not include a boarding school, which can be a solution for young dancers to have more focus and structure, and fewer hours of travelling home. Furthermore, the Dutch mentality was mentioned as being not that motivated and eager to achieve goals and the Dutch body type was also not that suitable for the fragile, tiny body type that classical ballet requires. Besides, not all respondents were so exited about the level of the current generation of young dancers whereas most of them did see progression but all wish for higher level of young dancers in the Netherlands. Last, in terms of tradition the Dutch classical ballet tradition is not so deeply rooted as in other countries, which lead to less societal value for ballet and fewer financial possibilities for the ballet academies. To conclude, the advice will be to realize the plans of having one building of excellence for ballet in which all the facilities are available. Secondly, take more advantage of the top-class sport in terms of mental and psychic support and take it as an example to develop a well-organized support program for the young dancers as well. And third, to emphasise the craftsmanship of classical ballet by showing this more often to the audience in terms of watching open rehearsals or ballet classes. If these aspects are adapted it will hopefully lead to more successful Dutch dancers in the future and create an increase of societal value for ballet, so we can enjoy the beautiful art form of classical ballet for many more years.

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Klamer, A. (Arjo)
Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Wassink, J.E.H. (Julia). (2016, June 8). The Dancers of Tomorrow. Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship. Retrieved from