The Flemish Maya Roest has always been an articulate type. "My mother taught me to stand up for myself."
During her first audition at Scapino, as a 19-year-old, she narrowly missed out. "We had to do a pointe piece, not really my thing. But when Ed Wubbe saw her perform later that year in the Codarts programme Talent On The Move and then, during a chance meeting, told her to give him a call, she didn't waste any time. "I got his assistant on the phone and she asked: 'Is it for a contract or an internship? For a moment I considered saying contract, but of course I was happy with an internship." When she then auditioned again and Wubbe remarked that he would like to work with her one day, she reminded him of that after a while. "That's why he created the solo Olé for me during my internship year. A very special experience.
Not a pale ballet girl
Tinkering, modelling, sewing her own clothes: Maya has been very creative since childhood. One day she hears music at the secondary school where her mother is a chemistry and physics teacher. The sound turned out to be coming from a ballet class. "I knew immediately: I want to do that too!"
At the age of nine, she starts at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp. Even then, she is anything but a bleak ballet girl. "I played with everyone and was not afraid to open my mouth, especially if someone was wronged." After her training, she decided to continue studying for two more years at Codarts Rotterdam. "A fantastic time. I got to know so many styles, had so many wonderful teachers and could do so many work placements. Already in her first week at Codarts she has a clear dream: either dance with Ultima Vez in Brussels, or with Scapino.
Developing yourself, absorbing new information, that's what it's all about.
She enjoys working with Ed Wubbe, the freedom he gives his dancers. But she also likes being pulled out of her comfort zone. Like by former resident choreographer Georg Reischl. "Working with him was a real revelation. He is very driven, knows how to get the most out of you."
Or by Marcos Morau, who, she says, like Reischl has a unique style of his own. "Marcos' Pablo was very theatrical, completely different from anything I had done before. In any case, it is wonderful if you are surprised, challenged to tap into new sides of yourself. Keep growing, developing yourself, absorbing new information, that's what it's all about for me, otherwise it quickly becomes boring."
- 1988, Zwalm, Belgium
- Koninklijke Balletschool Antwerpen
- Codarts Rotterdam
- Danced previously (as a trainee) with
- Paul Selwyn Norton
- Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel
- At Scapino since
- Scholarships, awards and prizes
- Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation scholarship
I am not a technical dancer. I dance from my intuition, I convey things as I feel them.
Together with her friend and fellow dancer Mischa van Leeuwen, Maya started the Rotterdam International Duet Choreography Competition in 2018, which now attracts hundreds of participants every year. "Besides Scapino, that takes up almost all my time. I have learned so much from it, in terms of marketing, production, writing plans, applying for grants, and have built up a gigantic network through it. Hopefully, I can build on that after my dance career.
The remaining time is for Ada, Maya and Mischa's daughter born in June 2021. "Producing a living being and seeing how she develops in a short time is something unimaginably beautiful, which puts many other things into perspective." What she wants to give her daughter above all? "Love! And the realisation that she can be whoever she wants to be."
Photography: Khalid Amakran | Interview: Astrid van Leeuwen