Ben Van Cauwenbergh, oud-leerling van Koninklijke Balletschool Antwerpen

Ben van Cauwenbergh

Ballet director and choreographer at the Aalto Theatre

Ben Van Cauwenbergh is the son of dancer Anna Brabants and trained at the Municipal Institute for Ballet (SIB) in Antwerp. From 1976 to 1977, he was a dancer with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Thereafter, he worked as first soloist (Principal) with the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) until 1984, where he collaborated with Rudolf Nurejew in many productions. From 1984 until 1987, he returned as a soloist with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and between 1987 and 1992, he danced as a soloist in the theatres in Bern and Lucerne.

Between 1992 and 2007, he led the ballet ensemble of the Hessische Staatstheater Wiesbaden as ballet director and choreographer. Since 2008, he has been working in the same position at the Aalto Theatre in Essen. Since the 2013-2014 season, he has held the role of Ballet Intendant.

Van Cauwenbergh received the silver medal at the International Ballet Competition in Varna in 1976 and the gold medal at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in Lausanne. In 1984, he was declared 'Dancer of the Year' by Dance and Dancers Magazine.

We need to express ourselves through our bodies and tell the public a story.

Dear Royal Ballet School Antwerp dancers

It is important to know that a career as a ballet dancer is hard and short-lived. Therefore, you must have a burning passion and stay disciplined. You must be willing to work hard and not feel sorry for yourself. You must make the best of what you have everyday, even if you don't feel up to the task. You can't afford to lose a day in this sector.

These days, managers are looking for dancers who have mastered both classical and contemporary dance. Try to stay positive even on bad days. Respect your teachers and ballet assistants. Take good care of your body in order to prevent injuries. Try to find an exciting challenge in every task. Be yourself and believe in what you do. Personality is very important; ballet is not only about technique.

We need to express ourselves through our bodies and tell the public a story.

I wish you all the best in this brutal but beautiful ballet world.