Dancers
 
 

Pascal Schut

< >

Born
1992 Sittard (Netherlands)

Education
Royal Conservatoire, The Hague

Experience

Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken; Introdans (since August 2012)  

Accolades
Aanmoedigingsprijs Dansersfonds '79 (2012); Dans Publieksprijs 2013

If you see Pascal Schut on stage, or offstage too, you can hardly imagine that all that tamed strength and energy used to pour out uncontrolled. “I was really a classic hyperactive boy,” laughs Pascal. “I used to drive my mum crazy. I had to do something that exhausted me, otherwise I was intolerable. That’s why she sent me to gymnastic classes.”

Athletic ability

Gymnastics soon became the safety valve for the quick, supple and tireless Pascal. And his athletic ability was immediately obvious. I think that what I liked most of all was that I could work hard. For competitions, but simply during training, too. I could put all my energy into it.” At Introdans he heard for the first time that he needed to use his energy and body sparingly. “They’re right. You need to dose your strength and energy, but I find that really hard. I’m so used to exhausting myself completely.”

Perfectionism

Although gymnastics was an ideal occupational therapy for young Pascal, it wasn’t his great love. My step-sister was doing jazz ballet classes and that’s when I switched to dance. I thought dance was fantastic but I never believed that I could make a profession of it. I still find it hard to look at myself and see a good dancer. Maybe it’s our innate perfectionism but I mostly see what isn’t so good.”

Royal Conservatoire The Hague

The Hague was the big turning point for Pascal. “I have a lot to thank my mother for, because it was she who insisted I should do an audition at the Conservatoire.” By then Pascal had reached a point where he wanted to give it all up, but somehow dance must still have been part of his unconscious desires, because he did the audition and was immediately accepted. “I still love The Hague, my life really changed there.”

Within the space of a week Pascal had regained his love of dance. “It was pretty much a revelation to be among people for whom dance was just as important as it was for me. I had always had to defend the fact that I danced, but suddenly it was no longer necessary.” On the other hand, it meant a new struggle for Pascal. “I really lagged behind the others in terms of ability. I had been dancing for a shorter time, I had learned less technique and had less training. So I needed extra lessons to make up for my deficiencies.”

Pascal emphasises that he was in the company of fantastic people in The Hague. “I received a huge amount of support from the teachers and my fellow students. It wasn’t until my third year that things really clicked for me and I started to dance (major) roles – up until then it wasn’t so great.” However, Pascal continued to doubt whether he really had the talent and ability. “Of course, you attend a ballet school because you want to be a professional dancer, but I found it really hard to imagine that dancing could be my job. I saw so many amazingly talented people around me and when I look at myself, I mostly see what doesn’t work so well, where I’m not up to scratch, what I still need to learn.”

Auditions at Introdans

So when someone advised him to do auditions, Pascal didn’t listen. “They had to ask me twice. I was convinced I wasn’t good enough.” Luckily, Introdans turned out to have a better opinion of Pascal that he does of himself. “I still prefer to keep more to the background during classes. I’m not the quickest when it comes to learning choreographies, and moreover I just prefer to keep out of sight a little.” He is the first to admit that this feeling disappears once he is on stage. When I’m assigned a role I take that as a sign of confidence in me as a dancer, a trust that I really want to repay. And besides that, I can simply give my all on stage.”

This rather reserved and unsure Pascal Schut is increasingly a thing of the past. In 2013 he received the Incentive Prize from Dancers’ Fund '79 and also won the Dance Audience Award 2013. “Well, that’s a huge honour, although to be quite honest I really thought ‘why me?’.” But Pascal’s doubtful expression soon makes way for a broad smile. “But I was delighted with it, sure. By now I know that I really can dance. That I can communicate something to the audience during a performance – it’s something I continue to find magical. I’ll probably always remain my own biggest critic, but that also helped me get to where I am today.”