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On trial for sexual harassment, choreographer Jan Fabre defends himself by interposed letter

Belgian artist Jan Fabre at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, March 30, 2019.

The famous Flemish choreographer and plastic artist Jan Fabre, 63, will have to wait a few weeks before knowing if he will escape the three years of detention claimed against him, Friday March 25, during the first day of his trial, by the public prosecutor of the correctional chamber of Antwerp, Belgium. Or if the court will follow his lawyer, Mrs.and Eline Tritsmans, who claimed a week later, on the second day of the hearings, the release for a creator “caricatured, dehumanized, demonized”. Judgment has been reserved until April 29.

Since 2018 and a complaint filed by about twenty members of his company, Troubleyn, the creator, indicted for sexual harassment, intimidation, violence and attack on honor, has been very discreet. His latest show, The Fluid Force of Lovewas banned from Belgian cinemas in 2021 and the artist was absent during the two days of the trial hearing, “so as not to cause an overflow of emotions”according to M.and Tritsmans.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Belgian choreographer Jan Fabre accused of sexual harassment

Emotions in any case very strong on the side of the eleven plaintiffs who have constituted a civil party. On the first day of the trial, their lawyers detailed, for six hours, facts that would have taken place between 2000 and 2018 and can be summed up in a sum of touching, violence, threats against young women who have come from all over the world to try to join Troubleyn. “No sex, no solo” has become the key word in this affair: the dancers affirm that, if they did not yield to the advances of the director, they would have no chance of shining on stage.

Very precise details

Kissed on the neck and stripped of her T-shirt, a young woman says she asked Fabre if “so they were true” those rumors that you had to sleep to dance a solo. ” It’s now or never “, he would have replied. Many women, among the 35 former employees of the troupe who testified at the start, also indicated that the refusal to participate in photo sessions organized by the choreographer in his Antwerp apartment could seal the end of their career. They delivered very precise details which led to a harsh comment from the prosecution. “I can’t imagine a more serious case of deviant behavior”said the Auditor General.

Insults (“stupid cow”, “you’re too fat”, “you’re a shit”), injunctions (the obligation to say “Yes Jan, I want to work in your garbage”), the account of many scenes of a pornographic nature: the pleadings of Mare Christine Mussche and An-Sofie Raes impressed, depicting lives and careers shattered.

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