Dance and music were almost a matter of course in Ellen Landa's childhood home.
"My grandparents danced, my aunt took dance classes, and I often danced at home with my mother after her dance lessons." When Ellen was four, she 'finally' got to go to lessons herself. "I loved it, the pink tutu, the chance to discover dance and to make dances myself, with friends, too."
Her guitar-playing father simultaneously encourages Ellen and her brothers to try out every possible instrument. Ellen eventually chooses the flute, her twin brother, born with an autistic disorder, the drum kit. "Life wasn't always easy for us - I often had trouble keeping up at school - but my parents always stressed the positive side. On everything that went well, on what we did enjoy."
In eighth grade at primary school, Ellen is already dancing five days a week. She has plenty of talent, but finding a dance course is difficult. "Because I was advised to go to secondary school and most ballet academies teach at higher professional education level. But 'can't' doesn't exist for Ellen. "I've always had a mind of my own, and I'm a great go-getter, so I didn't let myself get sidetracked.
She still ended up in the preparatory course at ArtEZ in Venlo, from where she moved on to a senior secondary vocational education dance course in Haarlem, and then managed to get her diploma in dance at ArtEZ in Arnhem. "I am happy with that last, extra course. The enormous range of styles taught there has made me a richer dancer."
'Cannot' does not exist for me
In the end, Ellen can choose from no fewer than five work placement contracts. The choice fell on Scapino, the company she had dreamed of as a child.
"I thought it was terrifying that I was allowed to stand among all those wonderful dancers. But I soon realised that everyone is different at Scapino. One dancer is more technical, another more modern, and yet another has a completely unique style. I soon felt welcome as the person and the dancer I am. They wanted to see Éllen, rather than someone who fits this or that particular mould. That gave a lot of peace."
- 1991, Waalwijk, The Netherlands
- Preparatory and advanced dance education at ArtEZ
- Secondary education dance course Nova College Haarlem
- Previously danced at
- Rampart Dance Company
- At Scapino since
- To be seen in
Pas de Deux, TING!, Pablo, Scala, TWOOLS, The Great Bean, What Remains, Casablanca, The Square 2, Oscar
I have been taking singing lessons since the beginning of 2020. I've always sung, once at home, now in the dressing room, but when I do something, I prefer to do it as well as possible.
Her first performance with Scapino, her first solo, the collaboration with choreographer Ryan Djojokarso, productions such as Scala and TING! , all the beautiful things she was allowed to do together with fellow dancer Filip Wagrodzki: there is so much that is dear to her.
A special recent experience is her performance in Opera Melancholica by Opera2Day. "I had the role of an imaginary twin sister, how coincidental." But perhaps most dear to her heart is the benefit gala at which she danced with Merel, a patient of Sophia Children's Hospital. "Seeing her shine meant so much to me."
On the water
What Ellen finds most important is that people can be who they are, even if they don't fit the 'perfect picture'. "That we let people be their own selves, are kind to each other, take care of each other." In addition: "Life goes by so fast, so let's enjoy it too, be aware of how beautiful life is." She herself experiences this most on her parents' sailing boat. "When I'm on the water, I can let go of everything, really be in the moment."
Photography: Khalid Amakran | Interview: Astrid van Leeuwen