Lucas Donner

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1995 Anderlecht (Belgium)

Codarts, Rotterdam

Introdans (since August 2016)

At the top of Lucas Donner’s CV stands his statement: ‘Keep an open mind, don’t judge too much and learn as much as you can from your colleagues.’ These three points are so important for cheerful Lucas that he always keeps them in mind. “If you think you know everything, then you don’t give yourself much of a chance to grow and develop. You get into a closed state of mind because you’re no longer in connection with the people around you. You start to judge the other guy because you think you know it all. As a result you don’t learn anything and you respect people much less. That’s all precisely the opposite of what I want to achieve as a person and as a dancer.”

Sharing the hunger for dance

Lucas’ ambition is first to dance a huge amount and then later to develop as a choreographer. Moreover he would like to teach so as to share his knowledge – and best of all would be a combination of all three. “That would be really fantastic,” he beams.
Each year Lucas returns to the New Espace Danse dance school in the Belgian city of Namur to give dance workshops. This is where his love of dance originates. At the age of eleven he was in ‘hungry mode’ when he entered this dance school, run by Fabienne Lambert and her partner Mikael Mohlin, two former dancers and former students of the school of Maurice Béjart. Lucas was able to satisfy his dance hunger there for five years, before moving on to Codarts in Rotterdam.

Ballet on the brain

“My mother saw me dancing around the house when I was just a toddler, and arranged gymnastics classes for me. My older brother was already doing these. But I kept on dancing and luckily I could then go to the local dance school, where they saw that I was musical and physically strong. My dance teacher advised me to enrol at the dance school run by Fabienne and Mikael. My mother thought: ‘Let’s give it a try’.” Lucas dived into all the dance classes there. From hip-hop to modern dance, from jazz dance to show dance, Lucas did it all – the only thing he avoided was ballet. “I didn’t feel that ballet was right for me.” But Fabienne came up with a cunning strategy to convince Lucas. She asked all his dance friends to keep asking Lucas when he’d try out a ballet lesson. “In the end I had that question on the brain so much that I tried out ballet as well.”

School of life

Lucas’ eyes begin to shine as he recounts how Fabienne tutored him. “She was pretty sure that I would enjoy ballet, but that I didn’t yet know it myself. ‘Ballet is the basic language of every movement. If you want to understand the language of dance, then you have to be able to speak ballet,’ is what she always said. She’s right. Thanks to her I have become a versatile dancer. Fabienne means an awful lot to me. She recognised my talent and gave me the space to develop it. Her dance school was also a school of life where I developed and made friends for life who share this same passion.”

Feeling at home

“I’m lucky that I have a family who are open to art and creativity. My father and mother think it’s important that my older brother and I , and my two younger sisters, do something close to our heart.” Nonetheless, it wasn’t easy for them all when, at the age of seventeen, Lucas decided to go to Rotterdam to study dance at Codarts. His two sisters are also dancing at New Espace Danse. “Dance is infectious. For Lucas, Codarts was the place where he really felt at home. “I learned the origins of modern dance and I was able to develop my artistic and technical aspects. And now here I am at Introdans, one of the few companies where modern dance is spoken with the language of ballet. How cool is that, then?”

A people person

Lucas calls himself a lucky guy and a people person. “I need people around me with whom I feel at ease and where I can be myself. Luckily I have found these at Introdans.” For Lucas, dancing is not a purely individual activity but something you do with other people. “I get so much from my colleagues. Everyone has something special that I can learn as a dancer. But you have to be open to this, and keep your mind open too.”

Letting go

And what does Lucas in turn give to his colleagues? “I see myself as someone who shakes things up a bit.” His eyes twinkle. “My colleagues have been working together for quite a while. It might be interesting for them to get acquainted with this strange, funny, outspoken guy who likes to work hard and knows when to keep his mouth shut, but can also laugh at himself. I love doing what I do. I like to see this pleasure in work in my colleagues, too. I think that besides being something of a perfectionist, which every dancer is, I’m also good at putting things in perspective. Letting go, that’s the trick.”