The Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in The Hague has suspended its collaboration with choreographer Marco Goecke (1972, Wuppertal) after an unfortunate incident earlier this month at the Staatstheater in Hanover. The German choreographer took exception to criticisms by Wiebke Hüstera, of the Frankfurter Allgemeine and smeared dog faeces in her face. He claimed the attack was in response to years of “annihilatory criticism” and he confronted the unfortunate critic in the theatre foyer during the interval of the opening night of his latest work, In the Dutch Mountains. The work premiered at the Amare in The Hague on 9th February.
Following the attack the Nederlands Dans Theater issued this statement,
“Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) deeply regrets the incident between Marco Goecke and a reviewer from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that took place in Staatstheater Hannover last weekend, in which Marco violated the personal integrity of the individual concerned. This action is contrary to our values that we hold as guiding principles in all our collaborations. NDT also values the journalistic freedom of reviewers”.
They pointed out that they had spoken to Goecke who had said,
“I regret the way I expressed my displeasure with Ms. Hüster’s very negative review last Saturday. I went way too far. I was shocked by my own impulsive behavior. Therefor I apologize. It was an expression of deep and prolonged frustration. That doesn’t make it justifiable. I now realize that with my act I have caused problems for the whole team of the company. I regret that I may have possibly damaged the reputation of NDT, a valued collaborator for years. I apologize for that.”
“For more than ten years we worked very pleasantly together. That was also evident in our recent process. This incident, therefore, came as a shock to the members of the company. A difficult company-wide conversation and the fact that Marco is accountable for his action and has apologized has supported our decision to continue touring In the Dutch Mountains”.
The NDT had originally said it would continue to work with Goecke as he had shown remorse for his actions and taken accountability for them during a conversation with their organization. However, after receiving a letter from a number of prominent theatre and dance critics NDT was forced to reconsider its decision and issued anther statement which said,
“NDT announces that we are suspending Marco Goecke’s position as associate choreographer. This means that he will not be creating any new works in the upcoming season. We will continue to perform Marco Goecke’s existing repertoire, created in collaboration with NDT’s dancers and team.”
Goecke had already been sacked from his job with the German dance company where he worked as a ballet director.
The letter to NDT from the critics had read, “In your statement, you declared that Goecke had now ‘come to terms’ with his act. Therefore, the tour of In the Dutch Mountains could go on as usual. What was unfortunately missing in your statement was an essential part of Marco Goecke’s ‘apology'”. Even though Goecke had apologized, he was guilty of a “remarkable piece of victim blaming” and made serious accusations against art criticism, the critics explained.
NDT said it disapproved of the Goecke’s assault and use of excrement in every way. “If we have not made this clear enough, we are sorry. The NDT also sees this incident as an attack on freedom of the press.”
As of today Marco Goecke’s page still remains in place on the NDT website.
25th February 2023