Jan Fabre’s Nachtboek relates 1980s Flemish Wave


One of Flanders’ top choreographers and stage directors, Jan Fabre recounts the early years of contemporary performance in a new book

On shelves next month

Dagboek literally translates to “day book” but is the Dutch word for “diary”. It’s no surprise that enfant terrible Jan Fabre calls his a nachtboek (night book). It’s the title of his new book, which relates the exciting and triumphant performing arts scene in Flanders in the 1980s – a scene that spilled into the rest of Europe and became known as the Flemish Wave.

Together with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Wim Vandekeybus and Alain Platel, Fabre took local performing arts from the traditional to the cutting edge and co-operated with international players such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton and William Forsythe. He relates these relationships as well as his personal desperation to translate his never-ending thoughts to the stage – which kept him up at night.

Nachtboek: 1985-1991 (in Dutch) releases on 15 September. It is published by De Bezige Bij and retails for €22.50.

Photo of Jan Fabre by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1984

Flemish dance

Flemish choreographers are considered some of the best in the world, and the region is known for the number of top choreographers based here. Contemporary dance has been flourishing in Flanders since the 1980s, when a handful of choreographers known as the "Flemish wave" drew international attention with radically innovative works.
Names - Pioneering Flemish dance choreographers include Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Alain Platel, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Wim Vandekeybus and Jan Fabre.
Funding - Dance companies Rosas, Ultima Vez, Les Ballets C de la B and the Royal Ballet receive the lion’s share of available government funding.
School - Founded by De Keersmaeker and based in Brussels, P.A.R.T.S. became the first professional school in Belgium focused on contemporary dance.
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Wim Vandekeybus stuns the dance world with his premiere production What the Body Does Not Remember

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Performing Arts Decree is signed, enabling dance companies to receive structural government funding

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P.A.R.T.S. founded