What’s on: Japanese choreographers dance on broken glass


Brussels’ contemporary dance festival, Flanders’ infamous carnival parties and a celebration of animation make this one busy week

Brussels Dance

American pop artist Rachel Platten might sing about dancing on broken glass, but Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara actually does it during the third edition of Brussels’ two-month festival of contemporary dance. He and dancer Rihoko Sato dance glass to pieces live on stage (pictured). It stays, and more glass is added for the next evening, making each performance unique.

The festival takes place in 13 venues across the capital. There are more than 100 performances; others to watch out for are New York-based dancer Nora Chipaumire’s “post-colonial boxing match” Portrait of Myself As My Father and Brussels’ own Ultima Vez in Invited, which lives up to its name as it encourages the audience to become part of the performance. Until 31 March, across Brussels

Carnival (and most particularly, Aalst)

If you’re new to Flanders, you owe it to yourself to take part in the annual Carnival celebrations. If you’ve been to one already, the good news is that dozens of towns and cities across the region throw a party, each with its own local flavour, and all the way into April. No need to dress up if you don’t want to, just line up to watch the big parade.

The largest and most famous one needs no introduction: The Aalst Carnival is recognised by Unesco as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Its 90th annual parade is on Sunday, but activities – occassionally bawdy – last until Tuesday. There are endless train connections to Aalst from all over the region, so take this poster’s advice on the Life in Belgium Facebook page: “Take the train and you’re right in the middle of it all as soon as you step outside the station. Dress warm!” Until 8 April, across Flanders


Belgium’s only film festival dedicated to animation is back in Brussels. There are shorts and features from across the globe and as many subjects as there are movies, so just throw a dart at the programme to find something unique. Certainly one can’t go wrong with the Oscar-nominated The Breadwinner by one of the co-creators of The Secret of Kells. Irish filmmaker Nora Twomey has adapted the book of the same name about an Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to try to earn a living for her family after her father is abducted by the Taliban. 9-18 February, Flagey, Heilig-Kruisplein, Brussels