Jean-Yves Esquerre has been the Artistic Director of the National Ballet Academy of Amsterdam since 2014. Under his tenure, the affiliated school of the Dutch National Ballet has expanded, opened its doors to international students and gained worldwide recognition.
Esquerre first studied dance with Monique Malo in France and received his artistic training at Mudra, the multidisciplinary school in Brussels. He, then, danced with Maurice Béjart’s Les Ballets du XXème Siècle, John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet and Jiri Kylian’s Nederlands Dans Theater.
In 1986, Esquerre was appointed ballet master of Le Ballet du Louvre, originally formed by Rudolf Nureyev, and staged a production of Giselle. In 1987, HRH Princess Caroline of Monaco offered him the artistic direction of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. During the following years, he expanded the company’s repertoire significantly including works by George Balanchine, Pierre Lacotte, Anthony Tudor, John Neumeier, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart and various masterpieces from Les Ballets Russes.
From 1993 on, Esquerre developed a program of dance exercises designed for injury prevention and post-surgery rehabilitation, established his therapeutic practice in North-America and traveled the world teaching meditation and mindfulness techniques. He also co-directed an art gallery for several years exploring other media like painting, woodworking, and dedicating time to writing various essays on dance, self-transformation and poetry.
Esquerre has, over the years, worked as a guest ballet master/teacher for the English National Ballet and School, the Boston Ballet and School, Le Cirque du Soleil, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and School, Banff Center for the Arts, the Royal Ballet School of London, the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, the Paris Opera Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada to name a few. He also served as a juror/chairman for several international ballet competitions such as Prix de Lausanne and Youth America Grand Prix.
Between 2007 and 2010, Esquerre worked with the San Francisco Ballet in several capacities, including company teacher, coach and school faculty member. In 2008, he was appointed Assistant to the Artistic Director for San Francisco Ballet’s 75th anniversary season. During these three years, as Trainee Program Director, he developed a teacher training program, led improvisation & choreographic workshops and offered performances throughout California.
Since 2010, while guest teaching around the world, Esquerre was entrusted by the Government of Canada with the evaluation of l’École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec, the National Ballet School of Canada and the School of Alberta Ballet. He also staged works for the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, the Royal Ballet School and the English National Ballet School.
Since 2014, Esquerre has rallied a large group of Dutch ballet teachers around his Teacher Training Program and has implemented yearly Bournonville technique seminars taught by a unique team of Danish ballet masters. Esquerre has also developed a prolific professional relationship with Ted Brandsen, Artistic Director of the Dutch National Ballet. Besides its exceptional Junior Company, they both join forces for several projects like the Dutch National Summer School.