Ballet will not become the poor cousin of the Flemish Opera

"Ballet will not become the poor cousin of the Flemish Opera," says Assis Carreiro– This is a reprint of a most important subject, having all the work of Mrs Jeanne Brabants and her ‘baby’ the Royal Ballet of Flanders (Koninklijk Ballet van Vlaanderen) not really recognised by the Belgian government.-

“Ballet will not become the poor cousin of the Flemish Opera,” says Assis Carreiro “Ballet will not become the poor cousin of the Flemish Opera,” says Assis Carreiro Tonight sees the opening of the Flanders Royal Ballet’s performance of The Return of Ulysses in Antwerp. This is the second production staged by Portuguese Assis Carreiro, who joined the company as artistic director in August last year.

On arriving she was not only met by an orphaned company, but one without any programme for the 2012-2013 season. “I immediately went out to find a repertoire to make something of the season. The other three productions we will stage are a little bit in the vein of ‘giving the best we can’, but as from next season my artistic vision will be visible on stage.” Strangely enough, The Return of Ulysses, as a retake of Christian Spuck’s 2006 choreography, comes very close to this vision. “I endorse ballet that is firm in its classical roots, but also contemporary. For her the fact that she was never a top dancer herself, as the critics keep reminding her, is not an issue. “I know the ins and outs of the dance world, I can compile a programme, I can sit in on auditions and I can lead a company. That’s what an artistic director is meant to do. Not to dance.” With Flanders so famous for choreographers like Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Wim Vandekeybus, Carreiro finds it hard to understand why the Flanders Ballet has such a dated image. She’s set on changing this image and promoting the company as a much more modern troupe, with extensive tours and more aggressive marketing. “Our dancers must become public figures,” she insists. Carreiro plans to treat her dancers like adults; unlike the traditional patronising treatment of ballet dancers like children, for which she blames their training. “From a very young age they are taught to do as they are told, without asking any questions. Then you end up with adults who never ask any questions either. I don’t want that. I would like to communicate with my dancers before I make decisions. This will obviously not be that simple as a ballet company normally consists of mostly young people. When you reach 35 your career is over.” At this stage she does not yet know what the future holds for the Flanders Royal Ballet. The transitional report on the merger of the Flemish Ballet and Opera Companies indicates that it will take an additional income of at least 500 000 euros to keep the merged companies afloat. The ballet company currently runs on a budget of 7.5 million euros and the opera company on 25 million. Carreiro is not opposed to a merger, but adds that “It must be a merger based on equality. We do not want the ballet company to be the poor cousin of the Flemish Opera. A merger is commendable when it comes to issues like staff policy, auxiliary services, marketing, education and such like. But from an artistic point of view I would like to keep my independence. I don’t want anybody telling me what to do.”

De Tijd ; Thu, 18 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT ; p.13

Editor in chief: Pierre Huylenbroeck

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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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