Timothy van Poucke
Not long ago, Dutchman Timothy van Poucke realised his childhood dream of becoming a professional dancer. His goal is to continue to develop into a genuine stage personality, like Michael Jackson or ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. He believes that he can achieve this by remaining open to different views and staying true to himself.
“I owe my love of movement to my brother’s DVD of Michael Jackson’s Bad. I was fascinated by the moves. I wanted to dance too. It ended up being ballet. Coming from a family of classical musicians I was no stranger to the classical side of it. I loved dancing so much that I decided to go to the Dutch National Ballet Academy, which enabled me to focus on both ballet and school from the age of 10 to the age of 18. I felt completely at home at the National Ballet Academy.
“My goal is to dance as many roles as I can – preferably leading roles, as that gives you the most intense ballet experience. I really want to develop into a stage personality. Because that is how dancers really set themselves apart, more so than through technique.
Resilience and perseverance
“Training is extremely hard work and can be painful. At times I also have to save my energy to be able to perform at the peak of my ability. But to me these are not sacrifices. Nor do I feel that I’m missing out on something because I have to deny myself things. I’m doing exactly what I want to do with my life and so far I have never had doubts as to whether I should carry on with this. I grew into it a step at a time. And the dancing only got more exciting as I continued to develop.
“Michael Jackson was the spark, but it was ballet dancers such as Latvian Mikhail Baryshnikov who fanned the flames. He appeals to me on account of his stage personality. In addition his technique is insane: he can jump meters into the air and can appear weightless for long periods of time. I find that inspirational but I draw even more inspiration from my colleagues. They come from all over the world and have been taught at dance schools with a hugely diverse range of views. The advantage of colleagues over heroes -that you only know from videos- is that you can talk to them. You learn the most from discussions with people who take a different approach. I also enjoy passing on certain skills that I have already mastered. It feels really great to make dancing easier for others. I’m really passionate about what I do. It would be great if that joy comes across when I dance. I also hope to inspire others to do what they really want to do.
“In order to become a stage personality I need to keep on studying the art form and stay open to other perspectives and dance styles. It is crucial to make up your own mind about what exactly you are going to adopt from others and which opinions you are going to ignore. Developing this crucial view of your own does not mean that you have to be a difficult person; that is an over-romanticised image of the artist. The trick is to stay passionate about the job. In order to dance you need to get into a flow. The only way to do that is to stay true to yourself and keep on doing what you love best.”