What’s on: Next Festival brings the whacky and wild to 19 cities


Don’t miss the border-crossing Next Festival, with some of the most-acclaimed stage productions of the last year, nor your chance to get tickets for Wim Vanlessen’s final performance with Ballet Flanders

Next Festival

Think Flanders and Wallonia don’t get along? The annual Next Festival begs to differ, as it crosses borders, taking place in 19 cities of the Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai Eurometropolis. The what? That’s one of the EU-designated cross-border regions that work together on all sorts of issues, including tourism, arts, mobility and land use planning.

In the case of Next – which throws in the city of Valenciennes for good measure – it’s all about performing arts. Its focus is on edgy stuff, such as the Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Pursuit of Happiness, wherein Slovenian dancers act out a surreal western (pictured) – a show the New York Times called “weird, gross, dumb and hilarious” – and British company Forced Entertainment’s highly acclaimed Real Magic, in which the actors dress as chickens and take part in a game show that taunts and tortures them. Until 1 December, across West Flanders, Hainaut & Hauts-de-France

Bozar Night

One of Brussels’ most popular venues throws its most popular annual party: Bozar Night gives you seven hours of techno, house and adventurous ambient right in its exhibition halls. Visit one (or more) of five of the fine arts centre’s temporary exhibitions – choose the sublime Baroque brushstrokes of Theodoor van Loon, for instance, or the unsettling black-and-white stills from the work of French filmmaker Chris Marker – while moving to the beat(s). Following that, shake it into the wee hours with electronic music makers Daniel Avery of the UK (pictured), Jacques Greene of Canada, Charme of right here in Belgium, and several more. 10 November 20.00-3.00, Rue Ravenstein 23


While Bruges’ Adornes Domain, a completely renovated 15th-century estate, is worth visiting in its own right, an exhibition by Flemish photographer Karel Fonteyne sweetens the deal this winter. “I do not generally photograph what I see but rather what is reflected in my mind,” the artist once said. Hence the title of the show, Inner, and its stylised subjects, portrayed showing what drives them – or haunts them or moves them – on the inside. Fonteyene’s former career as an international fashion photographer is ever-present in this collection of shadowy, compelling works. Part of the exhibition takes place in the domain’s chapel, adding an additional layer of eeriness. Until 5 January, Peperstraat 3, Bruges

Get tickets now: Boléro

The Royal Ballet Flanders’ only male principal, Wim Vanlessen, is retiring from the company. This is his final season, which called for a revival of Boléro, which he performed in 2016 to wild acclaim. There are very few ballet solos that compare to the late choreographer Maurice Béjart’s wondrous vision of a performer – sometimes male, sometimes female – elevated on a pedestal ringed by admiring male dancers below. Tickets are flying out the door, so get them while you still can. 25 January to 3 February, Antwerp Opera, Frankrijklei 1

Photos: Andrej Lamut/Nature Theater of Oklahoma (top), courtesy Adornes Domain (above)