TUPELO – When he came here in 2008, Jan Dijkwel wasn’t sure what to expect from ballet students in Northeast Mississippi.
“I needed to know if there was an interest in the students and the community to go the extra mile,” said Dijkwel, a master ballet teacher who’s worked with dancers at Brigham Young University and Ballet West in Utah. “There was a strong interest, and that motivated me.”
He formed the Civic Ballet company last year, and now he’s looking for a new group of committed dancers.
“We’d like to keep it at around 20 to make the classroom and teaching environment most beneficial for the students,” said Dijkwel, who also teaches dance at the University of Mississippi.
Auditions will be 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at North Mississippi Dance Centre, 3480 Browning Drive, Tupelo. There’s a $10 audition fee.
“With the professional experience I have as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, I’m equipped to teach the details behind the technique,” he said. “The company was created with that in mind.”
Dijkwel, who performed extensively with the Dutch National Ballet, said his goal is to focus on the process of dancing, rather than the product.
“If the student learns why we do these things, they progress much faster because they can feel it. They can understand it,” he said.
The 20 new company members will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Civic Ballet is a nonprofit organization that accepts donations from corporations and individuals to help cover the dancer’s costs.
“It’s very important to me that everyone who wants to dance and can make it, actually can do it,” he said.
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal