P.A.R.T.S. is a school for contemporary dance. It provides a thorough technical training to dancers and choreographers and helps them develop into independent and creative artists. But dance is not an isolated art form; it is involved in a constant dialogue with the other performing arts – music and theatre. Both disciplines figure prominently in the curriculum, as P.A.R.T.S.always works towards the actual performance, the moment when the artist engages in a dialogue with the audience – the dancer as a performer, but also as a thinking performer. The school looks for students who are strong individuals, yet possess a sense of group dynamics.
P.A.R.T.S. opened their doors in September 1995, at the initiative of dance company Rosas and the national opera De Munt/La Monnaie. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker designed the artistic and pedagogical curriculum and is the director of the school.
P.A.R.T.S. is first and foremost an artistic project. The curriculum is based on Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's and other choreographers' extensive artistic practice. At the same time P.A.R.T.S. is a laboratory for the future. Art is not something you can learn - but we certainly hope that the material offered confronts and provokes, that it stimulates students to form their own opinions, that it proves to be a productive basis for their future artistic practice. In a word, PARTS sets out to be a place where critical and creative artistry can take root.
Full Time, International Program
P.A.R.T.S. has a full-time program, requiring full commitment from its students. The continuous efforts expected of a dancer's body call for a corresponding level of health awareness. The school makes a contribution by offering daily macrobiotic meals to the students. Moreover several courses in the curriculum are devoted to the improvement of physical health.
P.A.R.T.S. is an international program. The approximately 50 artists and lecturers who teach at the school come from Belgium, other European countries and the United States. At any moment the students represent over 20 different nationalities, coming from all corners of the world. The working language is English.
Two programs: Training and Research
P.A.R.T.S. offers two independent programs: the basic Training Cycle (three years) and the advanced Research Studios (two years)
The Training Cycle is destined for young dancers and choreographers between 18 and 23 years old who want to start a professional education to be a dancer or choreographer. In the curriculum of the Training Cycle, the students gain an insight into the technical foundations of contemporary dance and they are confronted with the specific P.A.R.T.S. approach, characterized by an emphasis on body awareness, theatre and musical training, the development of creative and compositional skills, and theoretical reflection. The program does not offer separate tracks for dancers and choreographers, assuming that a dancer nowadays has to be a co-creator, and that a choreographer’s craft is rooted in the physical work in the studio, whatever form it finally takes. All students follow the same program, from the end of the 2nd year onwards there are certain periods in which students can choose between several options with a different focus.
Click here for an overview of the courses.
A new Cycle is started only every three years.
The next start of the Training Cycle will be in September 2016 - auditions will be organized between January and April 2016. The following cycle will start in September 2019.
Click here for more information about the Training Cycle auditions
A school year counts 36 class weeks, starting in the beginning of September and running until the end of June. There are four holiday periods, in November (one week), around Christmas (three weeks), in February (one week) and around Easter (two weeks).
Classes generally start at 8.30 and last until 17.30 or 18.30, from Monday until Friday. There is a lunch break of 75 minutes. In some periods there may also be classes on Saturday afternoons. There is an average of 36 class hours per week.
The program of the advanced Research Studios is intended for choreographers and dramaturges between 23 and 35 years old, with a minimum of professional experience, who want to deepen and broaden their artistic activities through artistic research. Every cycle has a general theme, which is translated in workshops, seminars and the creative processes of the participants. The core of the program is collective work, complemented by individual research.
Click here for an overview of the program of pilot#1 and pilot#2
Currently, the Research Studios are in a pilot phase: a first pilot project ran from February until June 2015, the second pilot project started in August 2015 and will run until December 2016.
The next cycle starts in February 2017 until December 2018. Auditions for this cycle will be organized in the Fall of 2016.
A school year generally counts 34 weeks and is divided in two blocks of 17 weeks, with a period of two months in between blocks. A first block runs between February 15 and June 15, a second one between August 15 and December 15. These dates can be slightly adapted according to the concrete development of the planning.
The classes start at 13.30 and run until 18.30. In the mornings, the participants can work autonomously or join the dance classes of the Training Cycle. There is an average of 22,5 hours class time per week, supplemented by individual research time.
A student who successfully finishes the Training Cycle or Research Studios receives the P.A.R.T.S. Training Diploma or P.A.R.T.S. Research Diploma.
Although the school is financed by the Ministry of Education of the Flemish Community, the P.A.R.T.S. diplomas are not legally recognized by the authorities. But the professional field considers the P.A.R.T.S. diploma’s as equivalent to a Bachelor degree (Training Diploma) or a Master or post-Master degree (Research Diploma). Moreover, it is not very difficult to use the P.A.R.T.S. diploma to obtain equivalencies in order to get an official Bachelor’s degree or to get (full or partial) access to Master programs in other universities in Belgium or abroad.
PARTS shares its infrastructure with the dance company Rosas and the contemporary music ensemble Ictus.
The infrastructure comprises ten bright, spacious, professionally outfitted dance studios. The school has five studios permanently at its disposal. Students may make free use of these studios in the evening (18.00-22.00), during the weekends and during most of the holiday periods.
Student performances and the presentation of students' productions take place in the P.A.R.T.S. studios or the Rosas Performance Space.
P.A.R.T.S. was founded in 1995, with the intention to provide a pedagogical anchoring for contemporary dance in Belgium, which had started in the early 1980s and had seen a quick and strong development since then. At that time, there were only a few institutions in Europe who resolutely focused on these new artistic developments. When Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker became the choreographer in residence at the national opera De Munt/La Monnaie in 1992, one of her ambitions was to answer this lack in educational possibilities for contemporary dance. She was also inspired by Mudra, the school of choreographer Maurice Béjart where she had been a student herself, and which had moved with Béjart to Switzerland in 1987.
P.A.R.T.S. started in 1995 with a curriculum of three years, with each year a new group of incoming students. From the start, the school’s horizon was international, and teachers came from companies such as those of Trisha Brown, William Forsythe and Pina Bausch, artists who were considered as the artistic pillars of the program, next to De Keerrsmaeker’s own work.
The first generation of students graduated in 1998, a group of dancers and choreographers who immediately found work in the main dance companies or attracted public and critical attention with their own creations. P.A.R.T.S. can proudly say that this has become a regular pattern.
In 2000, the curriculum was restructured, and P.A.R.T.S. offered two cycles of two years each: the Training Cycle and the Research Cycle, offering students who had trained elsewhere the possibility to enter directly into the Research Cycle. Both cycles started only every two years.
In 2013, the transition to a new structure started. The Training Cycle was extended to three years, and incorporates some of the methods and structures that were prominent in the previous Research Cycle. The Research Studios are a completely new program that focuses stronger on artistic research, which started in 2015 with two pilot programs, and will find its definitive form from 2017 onwards.
Graduates of P.A.R.T.S. generally take a good position in the very competitive field of contemporary dance in Belgium, Europe and abroad. Graduates of the school dance in many large and small contemporary dance companies in Belgium and Europe (e.g. Rosas, Ultima Vez, Jan Fabre, Needcompany, Damaged Goods in Belgium, Pina Bausch, Mathilde, Monnier, Trisha Brown, Emio Greco and many others aborad), or built a succesful career as a choreographer ((Thomas Plischke, Arco Renz, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Claire Croizé, Mette Ingvartsen, Noé Soulier, Andros Zins-Browne, Marlene Freitas, Erna Omarsdottir, Daniel Linehan and many others).
Other former students are active in other artistic fields such as visual arts, theater, design, or took up different artistic functions after their dancing career, such as curator, dramaturge, company manager, teacher, physiotherapist…
Via the European project [DNA] Departures and Arrivals, P.A.R.T.S. promotes the work of former students among a series of European theaters and festivals.