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Newcomers 2016-2017

The diversity of applications that are received by the Omscholingsregeling clearly shows how multitalented dancers are. During the past period dancers proposed a wide range of ideas of directions that they would like to study. Those varied from photography to astronomy and from choreography to setting up ones own construction company. And it did not stick to that.

ODN welcomes all these applications with great pleasure. In 2016/17 41 dancers made a new application. Twenty applied for a full grant (study costs and subsistence) and twenty-one for the refund of study costs only.

Read the inspiring choices some of them made

Brett Conway danced with Nederlands Danstheater until August 2015. Then he decided to move back to his home country, the USA. Next year Brett will start a number of courses. Supported by ODN he will study ballet teaching and choreography.

"I’m so grateful to have the support of the ODN as I transition into this next phase of my life. It will help provide the opportunity to learn new skills and work toward new goals. Changing a career path can be a bit scary but knowing I have the support to help me through the transition period puts me at ease so I can enjoy the process and grow."

Sandra Marin, who is originally from Spain, danced in the Netherlands with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam and Nederlands Dans Theater. In 2010 she left the Netherlands to work in Switzerland. She continued her contributions to the Omscholingsregeling on a voluntary basis. She now lives and works in Luzern as a dance teacher and studies Yiquan and German classes supported by ODN.

"I am so thankful for being able to expand my horizon. ODN allows me to enrich myself and my future work through the support of this retraining program. I am inspired everyday through each discovery this new studies offer me. Thanks to this new experience I can continue to grow and contribute to my community in a new way, Thank you ODN"

Milan Madar has been dancing professionally since he was nineteen years old. He danced with the Hungarian National Ballet, het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam and after that he became a soloist at the Semperoper in Dresden, Germany. When he left the Netherlands he decided to continue contributing to the Omscholingsregeling on a voluntary basis, because he knew that this program would be essential to him to rebuild his life once he would quit dancing. In 2018 he will start a Bachelor in Computer Science specializing in software engineering and artificial intelligence at the Hungarian ELTE university.

“During my ballet career I already discovered my passion for computer programs. Since ODN supports pre-preparation plans too, I could fully define my field of interest while I was still dancing: I want to research Artificial Intelligence. Learning this field means intensive studying in a full time course at a high level university.  Working while studying is impossible, especially to support a family at the same time. However, thanks to ODN me and my family are safe during these years, so I can fully focus on my studies, hence my (new) dream of becoming a researcher of future technologies greatly increased.
As ballet dancers we learn teamwork, how to work hard and discipline ourselves, and these skills are very useful in every profession. But just like we trained ourselves to become professional ballet dancers, we also need to train ourselves to then become an expert in a different field. We can only do that with a solid financial background, and that’s exactly what ODN is giving me. Thank you ODN!”

Kim Vieira danced with het Nationale Ballet up to 2010. She then left to join the Cape Town City Ballet and kept on paying to the Omscholingsregeling on a voluntary basis. Kim now does a business and a sewing course in order to start her own company. In the future she would like to produce well-made and affordable leotards.

"Changing careers can be scary after living your passion but the Omscholingsregeling offers the freedom to explore other options in the hope of finding another passion to live and enjoy. The Omscholingsregeling has given me the opportunity to be able to discover a new career in safety while offering income support and being open to different ideas."

Angela Agresti 
danced with het Nationale Ballet from 2009 until 2017. After that she returned to the USA. Supported by ODN Angela studies to become a Health Coach. 

"I am so grateful for the support from the Omscholingsregeling. It is helping me to balance my life and start broadening my interests towards other work. It has been such a help in getting started on another career with less worry. I feel the respect towards my career as a dancer, and feel also like I’m staying closer to the professional world with this opportunity to study and get back out there as a professional."

Johnny Schoofs is a Belgian dancer who worked with different Dutch dance companies such as Djazzex, LeineRoebana and de Stilte. Besides dancing he is a choreographer, dance teacher and Feldenkrais practitioner. Supported by ODN Johnny studies at the Tamalpa institute in California to become a creative therapist in the Life/Art Process® method.

“In my career as a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher I have always been intrigued by how movement reflects our personality. With the intention to further investigate the psychological side of dance I study to become a creative therapist. I want to grow towards having my own practice where I can coach individuals and groups in their own personal and creative development. Both in existing institutes as well as dance academies, with my own workshops, courses and individual sessions.”

Medhi Walerski danced with Nederlands Dans Theater for fourteen seasons. Since 2009 he choreographs as well for different dance companies. Supported by ODN he set up an individual education plan with light and setdesign, a yoga instructor course and acting classes among others.

“The Omscholingsregeling is in my opinion a necessity for dancers who no longer wish to pursue a dance career. Retraining can be very challenging when dancing has been at the centre of your daily life for the past years, it is exciting, challenging, confronting but can also be intimidating. What am I good at? What career do I want to pursue now? What am I interested in? de Omscholingsregeling is in my opinion essential, it gives support and guidance in order to find clarity in what your second career might be.”

Rachel Oomens completed the classical ballet education at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam in 2001. She started her professional career that very same year at het Nationale Ballet. August last year she decided to terminate her remarkable career of seventeen years of dancing . Since then she studies to become a professional photographer at the Fotoacademie Amsterdam, supported by ODN.

"I'm very thankful for the retraining program. It's great to have the possibility and to get the opportunity to learn and develop this new passion. New challenges, a new chapter, a new start after a closure.
Once an artist always an artist. Eyes like a shutter, mind like a lens."

Oleksiy Smolyakov danced with het Nationale Ballet for seventeen seasons. Since this year he focusses completely on his new goal, which is to start his own construction company. Supported by ODN he studies Dutch, a course in electrical engineering and obtains his HGV driver’s licence.

"Omscholing is a good opportunity for me to find myself a new profession. In my case ODN helps me to become a private entrepreneur in the field of construction and repairs. Thanks to support of ODN at the moment I'm studying logistics and will soon get the rights of the CE category, which is necessary for my business in the future and also I plan to take a course in electrical engineering."

Corneliu Ganea is a Romanian dancer who has worked with different Dutch dance companies since 2007. While dancing he choreographed at the same time for different companies. To develop his career Corneliu receives a contribution from ODN towards a Digital Filmmaking course at the SAE Institute in Amsterdam.

"It's been my dream since many years to enter the film industry. Through the scheme and the support of the Omscholingsregeling I was able to follow this dream and begin a Digital Filmmaking course by SAE Institute Amsterdam. I'll be graduating in 2018 after a two years study and will be able to consider myself a film maker. My horizons have expanded, my network has enlarged and I'm therefore, able to combine dance and film as well as undertake many different film and video projects."

Erica Horwood
 is dancing with het Nationale Ballet for just over ten years. About one and a half years ago she began studying alongside her dance career. Currently she is in her second year of part-time study with the UK Open University. She is working towards a Bachelor (Honours) in Planetary Science and Astronomy. 

"I have always been an academic person and while I live and breathe in the artistic world, I have always enjoyed math and science, in particular planetary science and astronomy. After having graduated from academic high school over a decade ago though I was nervous to get back to books. So, to test the waters again I first took a short term astronomy course from Oxford University online and I absolutely loved it! The Omscholingsregeling here in Holland is incredible because it opens up the doors to endless possibilities after our dance careers. I don't know of anywhere else in the world where a dancer can find such support for retraining and studying to pursue new goals after dance however different they may be. I feel so fortunate to have access to Omscholing during my dance career to begin this path towards another dream that I hope to achieve someday as well. Thank you Omscholing!!"

Mitchell Lee van Rooij currently dances with Conny Janssen Danst. He also worked with het Scapino Ballet, Arno Schuitemaker and Nicole Beutler among others. Mitchell starts an introduction course in producing music this year, next to dancing. 

“ODN has been taking care of my future plans long before I started thinking of retraining”.

Naiara Mendioroz
 graduated in 2003 from the School for New Dance Development SNDO at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam. Since then she has worked as a freelance dancer with different choreographers like Nicole Beutler and Jefta van Dinther. Naiara started a master in Dance Therapy at Codarts in 2016. Although she did not meet the eligibility criteria ODN decided to contribute to her study costs for this year.

“For me the support of the retraining program is a unique opportunity to help me work towards increasing my own capacities and mobility. Mobility and change of one's career require an enormous amount of time and dedication and thanks to the support of this program, I have been able to walk the transition comfortably and feeling validated.”

Chao Shi was born in China. In 2005 he joined het Nationale Ballet where he danced for eleven seasons. He completed a Pilates instructor course while dancing. Now he does a Master in Contemporary Dance Teaching in Hungary, supported by ODN.

“It was always really clear to me that when I had to choose a new career, I would choose something that suits me best and that is close to the work I have done for the last twenty years. Twenty years of experience in art and body movement is my most precious asset. Expressing and sharing is the best way to respect what I did and loved for many years. To other dancers I would say: keep searching, however, the aim is important.”

If you are thinking about your future possibilities and would like to talk about your plans, you can contact ODN for careers advice. It is free of charge for all dancers! We are here to assist you.





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The Next Step

Interviews with former dancers who are in the middle of their retraining program or share their experiences afterwards.




"When as a dancer it is time for a change, a lot of feeling of insecurity arises. The Omscholingsregeling gave me financial support and self confidence to face these new challenges." (Jérôme Meyer)