In the previous Flash#14, we ended on a positive note: that however many hurdles JBA faces – seeking recognition at home, balancing finances etc. – yet the troupe’s artistic spiral is consistently upward. This was after the enormous success of its recent production JAMES and before JBA set off for Geneva to participate in the International Junior Dance Festival.

This first international outing, appearing together with such fixed names in dance as London’s Rambert School and Amsterdam’s Dutch National Ballet Junior Company, would be proof of JBA’s worth…. OR would it maybe show how much more work our very young company needed to put in order to arrive at a true international level…?
In all honesty we can say that JBA’s success was beyond expectations: the two presented pieces, YU and JOURNEY, were given the distinguished place as an opener to each of the two dancing programs. The artistic level, the originality of the choreography, the performance and presentation by the dancers were greeted with spontaneous enthusiasm by both packed houses while the professional attitude and level of our dancers during classes, workshops and rehearsals did their home country Belgium proud. Junior Ballet Antwerp proved without any doubt their right to claim a fixed place at home and internationally.

Thanks were certainly due to the Geneva Festival organizers who did an outstanding job – consider 80 young dancers, teachers, coaches and choreographers being housed, fed and work-scheduled over 3 intense days and nights in two huge locations and all done with welcoming warmth and generosity – a feat to be applauded.
And unsurprisingly it was an eye-opener to many dance professionals that JBA could achieve what they did with little financial support, subsidy or recognition and done with a mere 3-4 people at the artistic and administrative helm. Imagine how much more could be achieved with the right recognition and backing?

Ever since JBA’s launch back in 2019, international dance critic Judith Delmé has been the editor for almost all of our English written publications. With an astonishing background in the field of dance and ballet she has entirely captured the essence and spirit of Junior Ballet Antwerp during its first five years of existence. More than time we felt, to put her in the spotlight.

JBA: Judith, Thank you for your continuous support, for believing in our vision and for always being critical and honest. You have been with us since day 1!
J. Delmé: ‘I have been recording JBA’s trajectory even before it became an official entity.
With a long career in dance, my entire life, I have studied ballet, performed, taught, watched and talked with some of the very best in the field. I think this lies at the heart of success, that and the fact that it’s been and always will be my passion: the art of dance in all forms and at all levels because in order to become a journalist and critic this is what is of the utmost importance. Writing about dance is not something easily taught. An esteemed dance journalist whom I turned to for advice when I was starting out told me ‘just do it BUT see everything and write about everything – as that is the way to learn’. On top: ‘never waffle, if you can’t capture your readers in your first paragraph with the idea at the heart of the article, you never will.’ 

‘I have had the good fortune when I was writing for Dance International magazine, in that the editor was one of the finest in the business. She took me on even though I was an inexperienced writer, giving me constantly her expert and invaluable criticism. When asking her why she took the chance, she replied ’you have a true eye and apart from that, a lovely ‘voice’ – and she didn’t mean singing! The voice she meant was that I knew instinctively how to describe dance.’ (Laughing)

JBA: Your passion clearly has no boundaries!
J. Delmé: ‘I LOVE writing and I can contribute to JBA’s success by spreading their message and by informing the public. For the translation of all of my writings I work closely together with my colleague Linda Berghen… A lovely collaboration!

So now it’s with all of my knowledge and experience that I give my support to Junior Ballet Antwerp and to its leaders Alain Honorez & Altea Nuñez who’s working is of such a high artistic level, producing quality for both their dancers and their public. With all JBA has builded during its first five years of existence it’s impossible not to back them fully as dance in Belgium would be so much the poorer without them.’

Judith Delmé, editor, JBA writer & social media coordinator

© Gregory Batardon, Nicha Rodboon, Alain Honorez