As part of our Full-Time Studies Guide, Dutch National Ballet principal Remi Wortmeyer gives his advice to students.

Remi Wortmeyer joined the Dutch National Ballet in 2010 and is now not only a much celebrated lead dancer with the company but also an established choreographer. He has created a substantial portfolio of ballets which have been performed internationally.

Born in Adelaide, Wortmeyer started lessons at the age of three. He began his full-time studies at the Terry Simpson Studios in his hometown, and then later at the Australian Ballet School, where he completed his secondary education.

“I do think it is very important to continue to study into your career,” he says. “During my career I have completed multiple certificate courses in Art Studies, Fashion, Textile Design and am currently studying Business and Arts Management.”

Looking back, he says a main benefit of full-time studies is the structure it teaches. “As an artist,” he explains, “it is imperative to have a structure to keep your creative ideas and ambitions on track. It takes a great deal of diligence and focus to be a professional ballet dancer and choreographer. You must know how to manage and inspire your vision [while being with] a team, balancing creative freedom with structured objectives. The fundamental training and structure of routine I received first at Terry Simpson Studios and then the Australian Ballet School has given me the ability to focus while retaining artistic fluidity.”

Wortmeyer is at a very exciting point in his career. He has just finished his first full-length ballet — Picasso's Ballerina, about Picasso's wife Olga, ballerina of the ballet Russe. “I am balancing being a principal dancer along with choreographing and set/costume designing for both DNB and internationally.

I work 12 to 14 hours most days, but I do find that creating generates energy. I am now preparing six new creations, including a new ballet for DNB’s Beethoven program.   

His advice to students? “Study art! All art! Visit museums, see theatre, opera and dance, absolutely everything you can. You don't have to enjoy everything you see, but even the things that don't resonate with you will add value to your artistic knowledge and give you artistic maturity into your dance.”

The 2020 Dance Australia Full-Time Guide is published in the current (August/September) print edition of Dance Australia and contains many more first-hand accounts from dance professionals. Buy your copy at your favourite retail outlet or online here.

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