Interview Prince Credell

Text: Gusta Winnubst
Portrait photos: Sacha Grootjans
Photo of Prince in ‘Woke up Blind’ by Marco Goecke: Rahi Rezvani

Diversity and inclusion

After a dance career of over twenty years, the last eight of which were with NDT 1, Prince Credell felt it was time for the next step. That step proved possible within the world of NDT, where he now works as Policy Advisor Diversity & Inclusion. It takes some getting used to such an office job after years of physical exertion, but the pedometer is ticking nicely as he puts his feelers out and connects with colleagues all over the organization and beyond.

“I was 30 when I joined NDT, which used to be considered “old” for a dancer. At some point you have to start thinking about the next step in your career. That’s why I started studying Arts & Culture at the University of Amsterdam in 2020. My thesis was about the influence of social movements like Black Lives Matter, MeToo and Arab Spring movements and how the sentiments of these social movements affect discussions in the arts, and dance world. The new position of Policy Advisor Diversity & Inclusion fits well with my development and interests. It came very naturally, and the timing seemed ideal despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on NDT’s performance schedule. My thinking about representation and equality fits with NDT’s growing awareness.”  The arrival of Willemijn Maas and Emily Molnar created a change within NDT, also in terms of awareness about social safety, equality, access, diversity and inclusion. Prince has had several conversations within the organization with various individuals to attempt to get to the heart of the matter. “Over the past few years, the discussion on this has widened in our industry both locally and globally. NDT offered me the opportunity to increase that consciousness further by putting it on the company agenda. There is already some diversity at NDT, we have dancers from all over the world, with various identities. Still, you always wonder if every individual feels safe, heard and seen. It’s not just about colour, gender or identity but about the powerful potential of each individual.”

Feeling safe, heard and seen is something that affects us all

This season marks Prince’s second year shaping this new position. He is working on a detailed Diversity & Inclusion policy plan for the coming years. One of his first achievements in 2022 has been the launch of the NDT Forum on Anti-Discrimination (NDTFAD) in line with the former NDT Book club, which focused on James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis and others. The NDTFAD seeks to be an online platform run for and by NDT employees, brimming with cultural content about inclusion, diversity, equity and access. “There is room for nuanced interaction about issues that have been crying out for attention in the dance world since #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements. Exchange of experience and ideas creates empowerment.”

In addition to his strategic role, Prince Credell does more within the company. “As one of several project coordinators with Talent Development & Education, I work with a great team and have a creative role, putting the theory of diversity into practice, for example by designing virtual dance workshops for students in the Global South and East. I am also one of the three appointed confidentiality councils within NDT. In addition to the desk work, when possible, I walk around, watch classes, rehearsals and performances, and talk to colleagues. That helps me keep in touch and connected within the organization.”

Exchange of experience and ideas creates empowerment

Golden Rules for everyone

Bark Stoffels, Human Resource manager at NDT, sees the Policy Advisor Diversity & Inclusion as a welcome addition to the efforts that were already in place in that area. “We did have projects, such as inclusive language workshops and diversity-focused recruitment, but an integrated approach is not something you do on the side. Now we have someone who can fully focus on ensuring that the whole organization engages with it.” “For all our employees, including freelancers, we have our nine Golden Rules, that describe what we do not tolerate, and also what we expect from everyone in contribution to a mutually respectful environment. A safe working environment in which every employee can flourish. But that is only the beginning. It’s about the mindset of collectively becoming aware of unconscious biases and your own identity within NDT. To that end, we are introducing workshops on unconscious bias and microaggressions. We are also working on labor market communication to create more diversity not only among the dancers, but throughout NDT. This requires an investment in terms of policy, vision, and implementation. With Prince, we are professionalizing that.”


For all our employees, including freelancers, we have our nine Golden Rules

Prince Credell

From the age of 7, Prince Credell started dancing and learning various dance styles (tap, jazz, African) in New York. At age 13, he continued his dance studies at the Ailey School and the NYC High School of Performing Arts. “My parents were always very supportive. Even when I took a break, they didn’t push me. There was also no better way to end my dance career with NDT 1, than having my mother attend my last performance.” As a dancer, he danced and guested with several dance companies including Ailey II, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genevè and, as of 2013, eight seasons with NDT 1.

Photo: Rahi Rezvani