Het Nationale Ballet presenteert

Positioning Ballet Ballet Working Conference


Ballet Working Conference

Dutch National Ballet is organising the second edition of Positioning Ballet: a working conference that gives artistic directors, choreographers and dance journalists the opportunity to exchange ideas about the future of ballet. Please keep in mind that the conference is only accessible to invited guests. 

Flashback on 2017

During the first edition of Positioning Ballet in 2017, the artistic directors of leading international ballet companies came together to reflect on their practices, discussing the themes of heritage, diversity and identity.

"The Positioning Ballet conference (…) was a welcome opportunity for a significant number of influential people with a stake in the future of ballet, to come together and open a conversation on where the art form is heading. - quote from Dancing Times, April 2017.

View the summary of 2017

Positioning Ballet 2019

During this second edition, we would like to discuss the challenges faced by artistic directors today. What sort of leadership is required today? The society in which ballet resonates today is different to the world in which the art of ballet originated. For this reason, while recognising the diversity of practices in the ballet world, we would like to address the following topics:

What is the working culture that ballet would like to embody? 

What kind of commitment is expected from dancers and how do we raise awareness about the resulting power relations?

- Apart from mastering classical ballet technique, to what extent should dancers also be trained to work with choreographers who have their own particular techniques or who want dancers to co-create?

- What scope do dancers have to shape their own artistic role in this day and age?

How should we deal with the changing relationship between ballet and audiences, so that ballet remains relevant to the public in the 21st century?

- To what extent is the tableau of dancers representative of society?

- Could diverse societies also give rise to a diverse corps de ballet, with a variety of skin colours and body shapes?

- To what extent are the stories and themes presented on stage consistent with audience experiences?

- Do developments in society also necessitate renewal of the repertoire and/or reinterpretation of the classics?

- In some places there is a large young ballet audience, while in others the audience is ageing. Does ballet need to target younger generations in order to survive?

- How do 21st- century choreographers see themselves in relation to the past? Do they have a specific responsibility to build on tradition? And do they have a specific responsibility to innovate based on that tradition?

Additional food for thought

scottish ballet.co.uk/articles/behaviour-in-the-ballet-world - Christopher Hampson

the guardian.com/stage/2018/jul/16/dance-ballet-metoo-culture-bullying - Judith Mackrell

dance magazine.com/radical-reimagining-of-ballet - Theresa Ruth Howard


In the first part of the conference, the artistic directors will enter into dialogue through break-out sessions and plenary discussions. The guest keynote speakers are Theresa Ruth Howard and Jennifer Homans.

In the second part of the conference, the discussion will be opened up to the press and policymakers, and continued.

In addition to the working sessions, there will also be ballet performances by Dutch National Ballet. The company will present David Dawson’s new work Requiem (world premiere on 9 February 2019) and the programme Ode to the Master, featuring ballets from the oeuvre of Hans van Manen.


Contact: conference@operaballet.nl

Positioning Ballet will take place at Dutch National Opera & Ballet, which is located at Amstel 3 in Amsterdam.

Dutch National Opera & Ballet is easy to reach by public transport, taxi, car or bike. See this page for more information about how to get there:

getting there


We would also like to recommend the following hotels for your stay in Amsterdam:

The Grand Hotel

€270 per night per person.

Reservation form


Both hotels are within walking distance of Dutch National Opera & Ballet.


Restaurants in the neighbourhood:

Restaurant Vermeer

Prins Hendrikkade 59-72 1021 AD Amsterdam

+ 31 (0) 20 556 4885

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam Goldfinch Brasserie

Herengracht 542-556 1017 CG Amsterdam

31 (0) 20 718 4600

Bluespoon – Andaz Hotel

Prinsengracht 587 1016 HT Amsterdam

+31 (0) 20 532 1250


Prins Hendrikkade 142 sous 1011 AT Amsterdam

+31 (0) 20 623 5477


Warmoesstraat 111 1012 JA Amsterdam

+31 (0) 20 428 1111

Mata Hari

Oudezijds Achterburgwal 22 1012 DM Amsterdam 

+31 (0) 20 205 0919