Born: 1990, Purmerend (the Netherlands)
Education: National Ballet Academy, Amsterdam
Experience: Introdans (since August 2010)
Accolades: Studiebeurs Dansersfonds ’79 (2007), Aanmoedigingsprijs Dansersfonds ’79 (2010)
The dancer Yulanne de Groot has the type of body that is just made for ballet. “I’m naturally very flexible – actually hyper-flexible.” She laughs. “I come from the fishing town of Volendam and there they say if you eat a lot of fish when you’re pregnant, you’ll get supple children. And my mother really did eat plenty of fish when she was pregnant with me!”
Yulanne’s first steps on her path to a professional dance career began with gymnastics. “I really enjoyed gymnastics, but I was a little unlucky that I wasn’t as strong back then as I am now.” She demonstrates with her hands how she hardly managed to do a pull-up on a bar. “I started to get problems with my back and then I decided to switch to ballet.” It was a happy choice that was to pay off for Yulanne.
But ballet and dancing weren’t the only activities that young Yulanne got involved in. “I was very agile, always moving around, and I didn’t find it easy to calm down.” That was already pretty clear in kindergarten. When the teacher left the classroom for a moment after asking the children to sit down quietly at the tables and eat their sandwiches, Yulanne immediately got the itch. “She had hardly gone out when I was already standing in front of the class. Not at all because I wanted to be disobedient, but I simply had to do something, to move for a moment.”
Yulanne is called a ‘ballerina by accident’ at Introdans. Her sports career could have gone in any direction and maybe she would never have ended up at the National Ballet Academy if she hadn’t accidentally raised her finger during a lesson. “At the end of a ballet lesson I suddenly saw all my little classmates with their fingers in the air. So to be on the safe side I did the same. No idea what it was all about. A few weeks later my mum asked me why I had received an invitation to an audition at the ballet academy in Amsterdam. So that’s what the finger had meant!” And in Volendam a promise is a promise, so off went Yulanne to the audition.
The love of the stage and the spotlights became Yulanne’s main motivation. She has special memories of her first appearance in a professional ballet. “When I was twelve Het Nationale Ballet put on the great classic The Nutcracker. I was cast to dance the role of Clara. And that’s still the moment when I knew for sure: I’m a dancer, I want to be on stage.” Yulanne’s feelings have never changed in this respect. “Most of all I like to dance in front of others, with an audience. I notice this when we train in the studio and people watch.” And there’s something else that indicates Yulanne is a born ballerina: in 2007 she received a scholarship from Dancers’ Fund ’79, and in 2010 the Incentive Prize from the same organisation.
“In classical ballet, where uniformity plays a big role, my height is quite simply a disadvantage.” But it doesn’t matter at Introdans. “I think it’s great that I get to dance so much here. There are dancers in other companies who almost never get to appear on stage or are still always in the same position in the corps. You have moments on stage where you simply dance, and nothing else, but technique is really important so it often happens that you think about the next step and all the instructions you received during the rehearsals! Your arm a little higher here, and your foot turned like this.”