Jean Yves Esquerre  
Organization: Dutch National Trainee Program

Position: Director

Affiliation with organization: 2018 – Present

Years active at YAGP: 2018 – Present


Jean-Yves Esquerre is the Founder and Director of European School of Ballet, located in Amsterdam. He also runs ESB Summer & Winter Schools that host teams of international ballet stars and pedagogues.

Esquerre first studied dance with Monique Malo in France and received his artistic training at Mudra, the multidisciplinary school in Brussels. Throughout his career he danced with Maurice Béjartʼs Les Ballets du XXème Siècle, John Neumeierʼs Hamburg Ballet, and Jiri Kylianʼs 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 companyʼs repertoire significantly, incorporating 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 therapeutic dance exercises designed for injury prevention and post-surgery rehabilitation and traveled the world teaching mindfulness techniques. He 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, the Banff Center for the Arts, The Royal Ballet School of London, the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, the Paris Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, and La Scala de Milano. 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 Balletʼs 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 lʼÉcole Supérieure de Ballet du Québec, Canadaʼs National Ballet School 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. Former Artistic Director (2014-2018) of the Dutch National Ballet Academy which, under his tenure, developed significantly, opening its doors to international students and gaining worldwide recognition. Esquerre implemented in 2015 his Dutch National Trainee Program, a unique course in Europe, offering a one or two-year intense full-day professional training for dancers aiming to join top ballet companies. This successful program expanded in 2018 to give birth to the European School of Ballet.

The European School of Ballet has implemented a new template of education, adding to its intense artistic and pedagogical program a series of workshops on choreographersʼ styles as well as classes on mindfulness techniques and other human sciences, thus offering a larger holistic scope of studies.

The European School of Ballet has established student exchanges with other international institutions as well as professional traineeship periods with top world ballet companies, enhancing access of our students to the professional field. Esquerre also runs his Teacher Training Program, giving workshops to various teachersʼ associations around the world.