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Graduating with a contract in hand

  • Dance

Naomi Schouten is graduating at the bachelor’s course Dance Artist at ArtEZ in Arnhem. She already has a one-year contract with a renowned dance company. After her graduation she will join Carte Blanche; National Company of Contemporary Dance in Norway. "This is so awesome.”

A moment from the documentary The Making of SYLPH, from the performance Sylph by Halla Ólafsdóttir. Cinematography by Oskar Hökerberg.
A moment from the documentary The Making of SYLPH, from the performance Sylph by Halla Ólafsdóttir. Cinematography by Oskar Hökerberg.

As a child, Naomi Schouten couldn’t sit still very well. "My mother tells me that I always started dancing, as soon as I heard music. I also loved being on stage and performing for others.”
It is therefore easy to understand why Naomi auditioned for ArtEZ Dance Preparatory course at the age of only nine. "I was accepted! The next seven years my life consisted mainly of school and dancing", she reflects.
After the Dance Preparatory course, Naomi successfully auditioned for the Bachelor of Dance Artist. "For me, this was a logical step. I just get a lot of energy from dancing”, she explains.

Dancer and maker

The course suited Naomi very well. "I learned a lot from my teachers, but also from my classmates. They come from different countries and cultures: everyone brought their own knowledge. Very inspiring.”
During her bachelor's, Naomi learned about various styles and was able to further develop herself. Not only as a dancer, but also as a creator. "At ArtEZ, you're actively engaged with the different aspects of the creative process. And you also think about the impact you want to make with your performance."

A photo taken just before I have to perform in Vienna, Vienna, with Magalí Perich Camps. Choreography On Earth I'm Done Islands by Jefta van Dinther.

Unachievable perfection

She gives an example. "In the second year of the programme, me and my dear colleague and friend Mireia Varón Gallofré developed the performance have a seat. This is about how in our society we often strive for - unachievable – perfection. Mireia and I worked together on different aspects of the performance: concept, costumes, material, music, dramaturgy, communication. We also performed the show together at various festivals and theatres. It was a great experience." The performance was well received. "We even won the Audience Award of the Café Theatre Festival."
In her third year, Naomi gained already some experience in the professional field. She then danced with the company Blackbirds 2, under the direction of Dalton Jansen, and performed at Theater Rotterdam, among other venues.

Getting ready for the performance The Listeners by Alma Söderberg, with Magalí Perich Camps.

First tour

In the final year of the course, Naomi went on an internship at Cullberg, Contemporary Dance Company in Stockholm. "A wonderful challenge. Although I also found it hard to miss my family and friends for a long time."
Cullberg has several pieces in its repertoire. "In the beginning, it was hard work to master them all. Moreover, Cullberg operates according to the concept of practice-based work, a kind of structured improvisation. During the performance, the material is further produced and shaped. That was new to me. As an artist, I grow from this approach."
With Cullberg, Naomi went on tour for the first time. "We travelled through Sweden, to Spain and to Austria. It was great that I could gain stage experience in so many different places. For me, this was like a dream come true!"


After that, it's time for a new adventure. "A while ago, I saw on the website of Carte Blanche - Norway's national contemporary dance company - that they had vacancies for new dancers. I wrote a motivation letter, sent dance videos of myself, was invited to the audition, did dance assignments. Of course, I was a bit nervous, but also very curious. To my great surprise, I was hired! I sometimes find it hard to believable that I will soon get paid for what I love doing so much. It really can’t get any better than this."
In the nearby future Naomi hopes to become an even better dancer. What are her long-term plans? "I think it would also be great to choreograph more myself", she says. "I would like my own work to entertain and inspire people, but also make them reflect about society."


Does Naomi have any tips for (future) students? "Follow your passion, stay true to yourself and develop your creative personality", she lists. "As a dancer it is important to have a strong, individual identity on stage. In the bachelor’s course Dance Artist at ArtEZ you are encouraged to develop this identity."

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