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This season, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, which was founded in 1969, will be entering a new period. From now on the only large classical ballet company in Flanders will have a new artistic director, Kathryn Bennetts, assisted by Jan Nuyts. 

Kathryn Bennetts made her name as a dancer with the Australian Ballet and the Stuttgarter Ballet and, following an injury which put an end to her career as a dancer, built up an international reputation as a dancing teacher. In 1989 William Forsythe invited her to join his company in Frankfurt as a teacher: for 15 years – until the company was disbanded – she worked as Forsythe’s right-hand.

Jan Nuyts has his roots in the Flemish dance world: he was a student at the Stedelijk Instituut voor Ballet in Antwerp and then danced with such companies as the Netherlands Dance Theatre, the Ballet of the XXth Century and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. For several years he directed the Mudra School in Brussels, founded by Maurice Béjart, and became artistic director of the Prix de Lausanne. 

Today the Royal Ballet of Flanders has a well-trained, enthusiastic corps which has developed a harmonious, academic style. In the first season, which was compiled by Kathryn Bennetts, we see on the one hand a great respect for the past and on the other a strong interest in every possible innovation in the classical idiom of dance. The 05-06 programme includes a classical ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, as well as Forsythe’s masterly Impressing the Czar. This is the first time Forsythe has allowed a ‘foreign’ group to learn and perform this work, which could almost be described as an overview of western civilisation (of dance). In addition to these two classics, in 2005-2006 the Royal Ballet of Flanders will perform work by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine, as well as creations by young choreographers such as Douglas Lee.

The desire to develop ballet as a living art form is also pressed home by a choreographic project entitled Uncontainable which will be staged in the Kaaitheater in Brussels. Uncontainable is the result of an international competition for young choreographers. An international jury will select five finalists from creations submitted by participants on video-film. For several weeks in March and April 2006, these five young choreographers will be allowed to work together with six to eight dancers from the Royal Ballet of Flanders on a choreographic piece lasting fifteen minutes. These five short works will be combined in an Uncontainable evening which will be staged in Theater ’t Eilandje, the Royal Ballet of Flanders’ own theatre, and in the Kaaitheater. On the first evening in Brussels (26th April 2006 at the Kaaitheater) the best work will be awarded the Hapag-Lloyd Prize.

The finalists

The Belgian-Colombian born in Leuven, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa studied at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp. She spent two years in Germany dancing with the B.W.gung Tanztheater in Ulm and the Heidelberger Stadttheatersloot, before joining the Nederlandse Djazzex. She was then a soloist with the Scapino Ballet under Ed Wubbe for seven years.

The Russian Alexey Miroshnichenko graduated from the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg in 1992, where he is still with the Kirov Ballet; he also studied choreography under Professor Belsky.

The Spanish Inma Rubio Tomas trained at the conservatories for music and dance in Valencia and The Hague. She danced with the Scapino Ballet in Rotterdam for ten years and took part in the dance film Lost.

Cayetano Soto, who is also Spanish, trained at the Instituto del Theatro in Barcelona and at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague. Initially he danced with iT Dansa Barcelona, but since 1998 he has been with the Ballettheater Munich.

Finally there is the Italian Matteo Moles, who studied at the National Dance Academy in Rome and at the Houston Ballet Academy. He has danced with the Béjart Ballet Lausanne as well as with the Ballet de Tours.

production Ballet royal de Flandre
en collaboration avec Kaaitheater
avec le support de Hapag-Lloyd