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Scheissegate #5: Contract with assailant and choreographer Goecke in Hanover dissolved. Nederlands Danstheater continues with him.

It was announced at a press conference at the Hanover State Opera this afternoon that the contract with choreographer Marco Goecke has been 'permanently terminated'. In addition, he has been denied access to the Opera's premises. This sanction follows a serious incident last Saturday at the premiere of a choreography by Goecke in Hanover, where he is ballet director. Being agitated by a negative criticism from the dance critic of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he scolded her and smeared a turd of his dachshund Gustav in her face.

The State Opera immediately evicted the assailant from the building, suspending him pending a final decision on his future. The Nederlands DansTheater (NDT), with which Goecke is affiliated as associate choreographer, and about whose ballet In The Dutch Mountains the aggressive confrontation was about, took a wait-and-see attitude, and hastened to reinstate Goecke's grace when he published apologies.

Graver charges

Those very apologies were grounds for further action against the choreographer in Germany, as he did not actually apologise, but defended himself by making even more serious accusations against the victim.

Laura Berman, general director of the Hanover State Opera, said that there were still extensive talks with the pooping choreographer, but that he did not appear to be open to reason. When asked by a journalist present whether Goecke might also be helped to solve mental problems due to the high workload, Berman replied that that was a private matter for Goecke, and that he did not want to know about it during their conversation.

Talking to dancers

According to Laura Berman, why it took until today for Goecke to be permanently evicted was due to legal and organisational obstacles. She explained that it had been immediately clear that Goecke was not tenable as ballet director. But it had taken time to find the right solution for the separation. It had also been important to talk to the ensemble of dancers who now continue to work in Hanover.

That such a thing is sensitive has now also become clear in the Netherlands. Many people from the dance world show understanding for Goecke's action, although they disapprove of the act itself. Perhaps it is time for the directors of dance companies to remind their staffs and employees that freedom of the press also applies to art journalism, and that violence against journalists must be absolutely condemned.

NDT takes no action

Nederlands Dans Theater commented as follows: "As already stated in our statement of 14 Feb, NDT stands by its decision to continue the Dutch tour of In the Dutch Mountains; the work is equally a creation of the dancers and the NDT team. At this time, we have no further comment."

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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