In the Lab, stressful performances, auditions or presentations can be practiced in a safe but realistic environment. Besides students, interested parties from outside Codarts, such as orchestra members or people who want to learn to speak better in public, can also use the Lab.
The Lab was festively opened on Wednesday, November 1, by Lorenzo Viotti, chief conductor of the Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. The Performance Lab is an initiative of the Performing Arts Medicine professorship and Codarts' Student Life student support programme, aimed at structurally investigating and optimising the physical and mental health of performing artists, students, athletes and patients.
Performing under pressure
The stresses and challenges involved in delivering top performances are no stranger to chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti. He says: 'It is very important that during their studies there is already attention for the mental and physical health of performers. It is special that Codarts is making this as such a fundamental part of its education through research, the Student Life programme and now the realization of a Performance Lab.'
After the opening of the Performance Lab, Lorenzo Viotti gave an exclusive, interactive Masterclass in Rotterdam's Kunsthal to a group of 200 Codarts students and teachers in which he shared his own experiences with the theme of performing under pressure. Among other things, he talked about how important it is for him - sometimes against the expectations of others - to make time for himself, away from the music, in order to keep the fire burning for his profession.
Codarts Student Life
The Masterclass was organized in honor of Codarts Student Life's 10th anniversary.
The Student Life programme adopts a ‘Team Around the Artist’ (TATA) approach, which means that the student is at the center of attention and is not only supported by the teachers but als by the Performing Arts Health Center (PAHC) team, which consists of health professionals with backgrounds in the performing arts or elite sports. Physical therapists, student psychologists, a speech therapist, a dietician, a performance coach and an ear protection specialist are all part of the PAHC. The PAHC works closely with teachers of Pilates, Yoga and Alexander Technique. In addition, students are supported by study coaches, a student counsellor and the International Office.
Dance students at Codarts have 6 times fewer injuries than students in similar international programmes. At the start of the professorship, physical and mental health problems led the list of most frequently mentioned reasons for quitting a Codarts study programme. Since then, these reasons are no longer in the top 3.
In 2022, the Student Life team won a Higher Education Premium from the minister of Education, Culture and Science worth €500,000 to further develop the programme. The Masterclass with Lorenzo Viotti is part of that.