The dance piece YU stands for COURAGE and will most certainly be written into the DNA of JBA; courage is namely the fuel which drives this young troupe forward and literally keeps it alive.

Creator/choreographer Altea Nuñez, herself a very strong and determined woman, knows from personal experience the pitfalls that lie in wait for all the young JBA protegées. She created YU as a mirror to face themselves and to look at what lies ahead for them on this very demanding path they have chosen.

Originally choreographed for a band of young male graduates of the Royal Ballet School Antwerp, the work exploded onto the scene in unforgettable fashion during JBA’s launch event in 2019.
A later version, adapted as audition material for JBA’s first male contingent, took the form of a short video for two Japanese men during the difficult lockdown period. It radiated courage and strength, attributes vital to everyone world-wide at that time.

This time around Altea has reworked the latest version of YU for the present JBA generation, one whose majority this season is women. It will be performed in Antwerp in the New Year and if all goes according to plan, will afterwards be shown in Geneva during the International Junior Company Festival.

Altea: “My intention is to galvanize our young women into searching inward, to fully realize the focus they need as they prepare themselves for the next important step in their careers as dancers. I truly belief that women have a deep inborn strength they can draw on – if they are prepared to use it. They also need to understand the advantage men have in the dance world today. The percentage of female dancers looking for work is so much higher on average than that of men; pure and simple – the guys have an easier time finding jobs.
Therefore total commitment is the order of the day for women; that and a clear and unblinking focus to drive themselves further, better & higher.”

YUcourage, determination, inner- & female strength in a dominantly driven piece, one whose theme is sure to resonate deeply with the public in the present-day climate!


Five of our young women are currently readying themselves for their next move after their Antwerp experience; preparing to leave the safe JBA harbour to face whatever the future holds. They have all matured so much as dancers and as people in the past year as can be gathered from the words of two of them.

Lauren Alving & Soazig Drion speak out with confidence, self -assurance and self-knowledge; all qualities the JBA leaders have striven to imbue in their dancers.
They realise that while it’s good to strive for perfection, knowing their own strengths & weaknesses is just as important. Audition material which has been prepared and filmed in the studio over the past few weeks, is composed of several sections including classwork, contemporary- and improvisation material and a classical variation which each dancer has chosen with care.

Dancing in front of a camera can be daunting, according to Soazig who is very open in admitting that she found parts of her chosen solo (Giselle, Act 1) to be tricky. However, she felt she could overcome this by concentrating on the enjoyment of the presentation, a personal strength of hers.

Lauren’s choice- the fast, demanding Tchaikovsky variation (choreography by George Balanchine) is not normally performed by a tall dancer. Yet Lauren noted perspicaciously how that might play in her favour i.e a director would see that although she might be tall, she has the speed of a shorter dancer.

According to both, over-rehearsing any material/choreography can have a disadvantage – a tinge of uncertainty heightens the dancer’s adrenaline count, thus producing excitement; the opposite is also true: under-rehearsal can play havoc with the overall quality of performance.
A true balance between both therefore remains crucial.

Together with Rinka Matsuura, Ella Matthews & Tilly Wightman, these are courageous, strong and committed young women, who will prove to be assets in any company wherever they land and are fully prepared to face whatever the future will bring

© Alain Honorez & Nicha Rodboon