A Choreographer Being Investigated for Abuse Brings His 24-Hour-Long Work to NYC Tomorrow
When Jan Fabre's troupe Troubleyn presents his Mount Olympus: To glorify the cult of tragedy (a 24 hour performance) at NYU Skirball tomorrow it does so under a heavy cloud of controversy.
Fabre is a celebrated Belgian multidisciplinary artist who has been honored as Grand Officer in the Order of the Crown, one of the country's highest honors. His visual art has been displayed at the Louvre and at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. According to The New York Times, his dance company, Troubleyn, receives about $1 million a year from the Belgian government.
But in an open letter posted to Belgian magazine Rekto Verso just a few months ago, 20 of his company's current and former dancers outline a horrific culture of sexual harassment, bullying and coercion. This comes on the heels of similar accusations at New York City Ballet and Paris Opèra Ballet.
Fabre is known for testing limits and exploring the most hedonistic aspects of humanity in his dance works. In Mount Olympus, the dancers perform for 24 hours straight, sometimes napping on stage. The work features exhausting displays of physical performance—with dancers repeating steps endlessly at the coaxing of the audience—plus full frontal nudity, simulated blood and realistically enacted orgies and violence.
Inside Mount Olympus. The Performers www.youtube.com
The work has been called a "transformative experience" by members of the audience, according to Skirball director Jay Wegman. But at what cost? Signers of the open letter told The Times stories about being coerced with drugs into taking part in sexually humiliating acts while Fabre photographed them, and having participation in sexual acts held over their heads as a means of attaining better roles, among many others.
What message does it send to promote the work of an artist who is being actively investigated for such horrific acts of abuse? Skirball has posted several links about the accusations at the bottom of a web page intended to prepare audiences for the performance (though the accusations are not mentioned on the main page for the show). It also "stipulated that Mr. Fabre could not appear publicly in conjunction with the show," Wegman told The Times. But is this enough?
Mount Olympus de Jan Fabre - 24 heures de performance non-stop / Extrait 1 www.youtube.com
Engagement Arts, an advocacy group including former Troubleyn members, wrote a letter to Skirball employees urging them to take the accusations more seriously:
"We feel that presenting Jan Fabre's work is a form of complicity with his practices. If you do not support sexual harassment, bullying and denigration of performers, and underpaid or unpaid work hours, then we feel that you are responsible for addressing the publicly available testimonies rather than presenting the work without comment."
Though the group has not received a response, Wegman told The Times that Skirball had "behaved responsibly in including information about the issue on our website, and we've been forthcoming about it in all our communications with the public."
What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.
Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.