CriticalDance Forum

Royal Ballet of Flanders
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Author:  ksneds [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Royal Ballet of Flanders

Kathryn Bennett has resigned (or really been fired) as director of the company as of 2012. Bennett's move was caused by the decision of the Minister of Culture - who has NEVER attended even a single ballet performance - to join the ballet and opera under one director.

Bennett explains her choice (in English) in this interview: ... a/1.890921

While spending cuts may well be necessary in today's economy, this is yet another example of ignorant civil servants making decisions about things they know nothing about. And decisions that dramatically affect the lives of many people. In this case, the decision could have massive effects on the company, since Bennett has brought the company way up the world, and I can't see someone else wanting to take over a company in such circumstances...

Author:  CarolinaM [ Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

The Company is showing their support of Kathryn Bennetts and their frustration towards the governments decisions by writing letters addressed to Joke Schauvliege ( the Minister of Culture). They are asking for your support to take the time to write your own letter to prove to the Minister the impact on the global dance community.

The email address is
Please place in the cc of the email

Important things to be mentioned in the email

1) The Company does not want an Intendant who will do the programming for the ballet
2) The budget should be raised
3)The actual proposition from the Minister of Culture will mean the end of the Royal Ballet of Flanders

Please forward this to as many of your colleagues, friends and family to get them also to write letters. The more emails that the Minister receives the more chance the company has of fighting back.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

In the New York Times, Stephanie Goodman includes a brief response to the situation from the Flemish Minister of Culture.

NY Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

Valerie Lawson talks to Kathryn Bennetts in The Australian.

The Australian

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

In The Observer, Luke Jennings reviews the situation at the Royal Ballet of Flanders and reviews a performance in Antwerp.

The Observer

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

In the New York Times, Roslyn Sulcas writes a feature story on the impasse at Royal Ballet of Flanders as of mid-March 2011.

NY Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

The Royal Ballet of Flanders is performing William Forsythe's evening length work, "Artifact" at Sadler's Wells on April 19-21, 2012 and at the Birmingham Hippodrome on April 25-26, 2012. Sarah Crompton interviews William Forsythe for the Telegraph.


Author:  David [ Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

Royal Ballet of Flanders
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London; April 19, 2012

Charlotte Kasner

Kate Strong as The Character in Historical Costume invites the audience into her world using a wall of words. Having accepted, we find ourselves in a synethesesic universe: hear what we see, see what we think. Then, like a demented Countess from the Queen of Spades, she shatters the wall using a hammer of verbiage.

The Man with a Megaphone wanders through, ineffectually intoning “The dust, the rock, the sand, forget, remember”. Eva Dewaele’s The Other Person, wanders through on long, diagonal walks in a purity of form and function. How lovely too to here two performers with such good intonation and diction.

The corps forms a crazy ballet class that implodes and explodes into solos, duets and pas de deux, seamlessly changing from allegro to adage and back again.

Much is said about Forsyth’s deconstruction of theatre and much is extremely pretentious. But “Artifact” really does this. Are we inside the performers’ world or outside? When we are invited in do we forget or remember? A performance is a rock that erodes to sand and then to dust, only to disappear once it is over. The large, empty stage at the Wells is perfect for Forsyth’s utterly brilliant lighting plot, some lights rising up from the pit, others criss-crossing the performing space which is sometimes brilliantly lit, sometimes gloomy.

Forsyth’s costumes are also simple but effective: black, green and yellow, the dancers are set quite a challenge in quick changes. The curtain drops like a giant eyelid, closing off the action, then letting us in again, while it continues regardless. The stage is full of dancers then rapidly clears to reveal one or two performers, then full again.

Movements are strongly horizontal and vertical with rigid bodies, long arabesque arms and occasionally horizontal bodies. The synchronisation and discipline were breathtaking. Forsyth’s dancers have all the precision and attack for which Balanchine’s dancers were (and are) lauded, but with a cerebral nuance that defies imitation. Their fluidity in the adage sections match Bach to perfection, although even Bach is deconstructed.

The late Eve Crossman-Hecht’s score fits the work like a glove, but we are not denied the opportunity to hear Bach in a “pure” form, with a mixed of recording and live piano.

This is a must see with knobs on. It remains to be seen in which direction the Company will go once artistic Director Kathryn Bennetts leaves. We can but be thankful to have enjoyed the fruits of her labour within the Company during her tenure.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

London press reviews of "Artifact."

Clifford Bishop for the London Evening Standard.

Evening Standard

Zoe Anderson for the Independent.


Ismene Brown for the Arts Desk.

Arts Desk

Sarah Crompton for the Telegraph.


Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

Clement Crisp reviews "Artifact" for the Financial Times.

Financial Times

Author:  David [ Tue May 01, 2012 8:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

The Royal Ballet of Flanders
Birmingham Hippodrome; April 25, 2012

David Mead

After their London performances, the Royal Ballet of Flanders moved up to Birmingham to kick off the city's 2012 International Dance Festival. And what a cracking start they gave it. Even very well known visiting dance companies sometimes struggle to sell at the Hippodrome, so it was nice to see the theatre almost full, and give the company a great reception.

"Artifact" is without doubt a modern classic. It has an uneasy beauty as the comfortingly classsical collides at speed with the unsettling, the unexpected, the strange and the new.

A figure in historical costume (Kate Strong) wanders around. Looking for all the world like a cross between Carabosse and some ancient queen. A figure from ballet's past, she is lost in her memories. She invites us to “Step inside”. She asks, “Can you see what I'm saying?” “Can you remember what I'm forgetting?”. Addressing Eva Dewaele, an almost formless human figure, perhaps representing someone from the dustiness recesses of the archive (although she could equally have been a new born), she says, “I forget the story about you.”

White haired Nicholas Campion, meanwhile, meanders around with a megaphone, more often than not, looking down. “Rocks… sand… dust…,” he mutters, as if that is all that is left of ballet’s past. And how appropriate that comment is given the uncertain future of the company. In June this year, Artistic Director Kathryn Bennetts, formerly Forsythe’s assistant at Ballet Frankfurt, leaves the company, a victim of the Belgian government’s decision to merge the company with the Flemish Opera under a single director. It seems most of the company dancers will be following her out of the door.

Around the couple Forsythe constructs some beautiful choreography. The way he marshals his 30-strong corps provides a link to the classics, but his formations are innovative and unusual. Straight lines abound. The second section is especially outstanding. Eva Crossman-Hecht’s music for piano, beautifully played by Margot Kazimirska, is replaced by Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor for solo violin. Framed by the corps mostly performing simple class port de bras and steps, two couples dance a sleek and athletic double pas de deux full of razor sharp movement, fast turns and extreme extensions. I could have watched Aki Saito and Wim Vanlessen in particular for hours. Before long, the curtain bangs down time and again, on each occasion rising almost immediately to reveal a new order as the work, and ballet, evolves.

Talk of Forsythe and we think of deconstructing the classics. Well, yes, but if there is one thing that strikes home above all else with "Artifact", it is just how classical it is. Our figure in historical costume might have forgotten, but he had not. Bennett's departure and the likely reinventing of the Royal Ballet of Flanders will be a huge loss to the art from. But here's a thought. Forsythe, generally, is seen far too rarely in Britain. What chance a British company picking up this or some of his other work?

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

In the Guardian, Judith Mackrell reports that Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has been named artistic director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

The Guardian

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

In the New York Times, Roslyn Sulcas provides further information on the situation in Antwerp that has led to the appointment of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Tamas Moricz as director and associate director, respectively.

NY Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue May 12, 2015 1:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

In the Financial Times, Gerald Dowler reviews a revival of Kurt Jooss' The Green Table and the premiere of Flanders Fields by company member Ricardo Amarante, at the Opera House in Ghent.

Financial Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet of Flanders

Royal Ballet of Flanders opened a new Nutcracker with choreography by Demis Volpi on Sunday, January 24, 2016 in Anwerp. Euronews reviews the performance.


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