The following story ran in the Oct. 5, 2013, edition of the World Arts Today online arts and culture magazine. SMU Meadows School of the Arts commissioned the profiled artist to choreograph its production of "Rite of Spring".
October 8, 2013
The Dutch Choreographer Joost Vrouenraets talks about breaking out on his own and his inspiration for his Rite of Spring.
HEERLEN, NETHERLANDS – As dancers with Ballet Béjart de Lausanne, Joost Vrouenraets and Maïté Guérin had illustrious performance careers ahead of them. A place in the company meant the opportunity to work with one of ballet’s choreographic geniuses, Maurice Béjart. His work has been sought by institutions such as the Paris Opera Ballet and legendary artists like Maya Plisetskaya and Suzanne Farrell.
And yet, in 2005 Vrouenraets and Guerin both left the Swiss company in search of more. With an artistic urge to create their own work, the pair relocated to Heerlen, in the south of the Netherlands (Vrouenraets’ home), to form Gotra Ballet.
Today Vrouenraets, a Dutch choreographer, is enjoying international success.
Outside of Gotra Ballet, he created Ex Orbis for the Béjart Ballet Lausanne and Schwarze Heimat for Das Theater Osnabrück in Germany. He’s won the Prijs van de Nederlandse Dansdagen in 2008 for most promising new choreographer as well as Inspiratie Prijs van Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Limburg in 2012.
In less than a decade, Gotra Ballet has performed Vrouenraets’ works in France, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, not only in theaters but also venues atypical for dance, such as cathedrals and stone factories. Within the Netherlands, Gotra has expanded to run an annual pre-professional summer academy called Step Forward, as well as Care to Dance, an outreach program to benefit those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (both led by Guérin). As an artistic director and choreographer, Vrouenraets continually pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance in building a connection with society.
Last spring, Dallas, Texas audiences saw Vrouenraets’ creative productivity. Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Dance Ensemble
commissioned him to choreograph his own ballet honoring the 100th anniversary of Vaslav Nijinsky’s Rite of Spring, which caused a riot when it premiered in Paris in 1913. Many companies around the world commissioned living choreographers to create their own versions commemorating the centennial. Vrouenraets’ work debuted at SMU’s Bob Hope Theater and at Dallas’s Winspear Opera House last spring to praise and acclaim. He will eventually re-stage his Rite of Spring at other U.S. and European universities....