After graduating from Deerfield in 2009, contemporary dancer and choreographer Ingrid Kapteyn attended the Juilliard School, where she received a BFA in Dance and the Martha Hill Prize. She then went on to perform extensively in New York, with Brian Bookes, Danielle Russo, The Metropolitan Opera, and Sleep No More NYC. She also co-founded the performance collective HEWMAN. Kapteyn recently returned from China, where she spent a year performing seven roles in Sleep No More Shanghai, and also directed and danced in two independent installations called CAMPFIRE and POP.
A native of Deerfield, Kapteyn began dancing at the young age of three by attending dance studios after school. When she was seven, she began to seriously pursue ballet, and during her four years at Deerfield Academy, she was exposed to and explored many other styles of dance as well.
“I loved doing [Dance Director Jennifer] Whitcomb’s modern dances,” Kapteyn recalled. “She had one class that was based off of Horton, and another that was based off of classical jazz, and she was always pushing herself to do new material. It was very challenging, but I was ready for the stimulation.”
Towards the end of her Deerfield career, Kapteyn contemplated becoming a professional dancer, and she applied to both colleges and performing arts conservatories to let admissions decide for her.
“I was five minutes away from deciding to go to college when I learned that I had been admitted to Juilliard. I was shocked and felt so lucky, and you can’t say no to Juilliard,” she said.
At Juilliard, Kapteyn decided to become a contemporary dancer, taking classes in contemporary partnering, modern technique, creative processes, and student choreography.
“It was challenging because it was exhausting,” Kapteyn remarked. “The days were long, but I loved it.”
After her time at conservatory, Kapteyn co-founded HEWMAN, a performance collective based in New York that “[brings] dance where it hasn’t been before,” with two of her Juilliard classmates, Jason Collins and James Lindsay Harwell. Though Kapteyn never had the specific goal of starting her own dance company, she always knew that she would love it.
“HEWMAN happened out of a conversation,” Kapteyn explained. “We wanted to get our own ideas out, so we started rehearsing to make one piece, and we formed a company to start doing it.”
Kapteyn described their creative process: “For me, once we start making a piece, the piece tells us what we need. It feels like we’re holding onto the reigns of a horse that’s galloping wildly, and we need to do whatever we can to keep it rolling.”
With regards to Deerfield’s current dance program, Kapteyn commented, “I continue to be amazed by what Ms. Whitcomb has been able to put together on a campus where students are pulled in every direction. Everyone is studying a thousand different expertises at the same time, but she still manages to give students a broad and solid spectrum of dance that set up a crucial foundation for me.”
As a recommendation to any Deerfield students interested in dance, Kapteyn said, “Try as many different types of dance as you can, and strive towards any chance you have to perform, because there’s really nothing like the experience on the stage.”