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What’s on this week: 6-12 January

Alexandre Bouglione Circus
12:58 05/01/2023
Banish the January blues by enjoying a spot of culture, from concerts, performances and art to holiday family shows

After a couple of years absence due to the pandemic, the circus is back in town. Alexandre Bouglione has set up his big top in Flagey and is inviting audiences to two shows a day.  Among the performers are five Ukrainian artists, and the programme –  completely without animals – is designed to thrill and entertain all ages. Until 15 January, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

Brussels Jazz Festival (c)Johan Jacobs

Warm up those cold winter nights with hot sounds during the Brussels Jazz Festival. Mixing up-and-coming talent with established musicians, the festival opens with a terrific double bill featuring jazz legend Henri Texier and the fresh and frenzied work of three young talents who met at the Rotterdam Conservatory (including Belgian trombonist Nabou Claerhout, pictured). Along with an eclectic programme of jazz music, BJF also features film screenings and workshops for kids. 12-15 January, Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

The Seagull (c) Simon Gosselin

Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is one of the most enduring plays in the world, but you won’t have seen a version quite like the one by French stage director Cyril Teste, who creates film productions of his pieces in real time in front of the audience. In a French translation by poet Olivier Cadiot, this production by Collectif MxM integrates excerpts from Chekhov’s correspondence and his work A Dreary Story (In French). 10-13 January, Théâtre National, Boulevard Émile Jacqmain 111

Animal Alienation

Say animals had all the power rather than humans. Would they treat us the way we treat them? This is the intriguing question at the heart of the Silver Bear-winning film Everything Will Be OK, the opening feature in the similarly compelling Animal Alienation festival. Movies, discussions and an exhibition explore how people coexist with animals – in a largely manipulative way, you might have guessed. 12 January to 26 February, Cinema Nova, Rue d’Arenberg 3


World music hub Art Base invites audiences to bathe in the sounds of Constantinople and Smyrna in an evening of Greek music courtesy of the Tatavliano Trio. Consisting of two stringed instruments, an oud and a lacuto, plus a clarinet, the trio’s inspiration is the ‘Café Aman’ style of music. 7 January 20.00, Rue des Sables 29

Brussels jazz innovator Casimir Liberski and his ‘ReTrio’ play present The Zelda Suite Project at Jazz Station. The ever-evolving acoustic piece explores free jazz and ‘retro’ themed video games to create a contemporary and singular sound. 7 January 18.00, Chaussée de Louvain 193A-195 (Saint-Josse)


As a prelude to a major retrospective dedicated to iconic Belgian film director Chantal Akerman, the installation Self-portrait/Autobiography: A Work in Progress at Bozar is closing shortly. Consisting of several monitors, it presents selected images from some of her most famous films, including Jeanne Dielman and Hôtel Monterey. Accompanying the carefully-chosen shots is the artist’s voice over (alternating Eng and Fr versions), reading extracts from her book Une famille à Bruxelles/ A Family in Brussels. Until 15 January, Rue Ravenstein 23

Brussels Muzique

Claude Debussy’s 1915 Sonata for flute, viola and harp takes centre stage at chamber music collective Brussels Muzieque‘s first recital of 2023. It’s part part of the concert series musIICa, a collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Brussels, and features an Italian among the trio of top-flight musicians. Alongside the influential Debussy work are compositions by Nino Rota and Serge Prokofiev. 11 January 19.00, Italian Cultural Institute, Rue de Livourne 38


French dancer and choreographer Laura Bachman creates a sensual and subtle pas de deux in Ne me touchez pas, which she performs with Paris Opera lead dancer Marion Barbeau. The latter made the leap onto the big screen in 2022 as the heroine in Cédric Klapish’s latest film En Corps about an injured ballerina making a dramatic comeback. Together, the two dancers breathe new life into this intricate classical dance form. Jazz musicians Vincent Peirani and Michele Rabbia provide the sound backdrop. 9-11 January 20.00, Halles de Schaerbeek, Rue Royale Sainte-Marie 22a (Schaerbeek)

Rufus Wainwright (c)Tony Hauser

Book now: The inimitable operatic pop musician and composer Rufus Wainwright is joined by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta for what promises to be an unforgettable evening at Bozar. Titled Devils and Angels after the song of the same name on his album Unfollow the Rules, the programme is peppered with songs about love and hate. His own work is interweaved with opera arias and covers by Prince and Paul Simon, among others. It’s the tour’s only stop in Belgium. 24 January 20.30, Rue Ravenstein 23


Death of the Virgin (detail)

One of the greatest works of art in Belgium, ‘The Death of the Virgin’ by 15th-century Flemish primitive Hugo van der Goes, has undergone a complete restoration and the results are spectacular. The paining is at the centre of Face to Face with Death: Hugo van der Goes, Old Masters and New Interpretations, an exhibition that looks at the concept of death from many different angles and also incorporating work by van der Goes contemporaries Hans Memling, Jan Provoost and Albrecht Bouts, among others. Until 5 February, Sint-Janhospitaal, Mariastraat 38, Bruges


Brightening up the final weekend of the holiday season, Festival Lumière d’Hiver offers a feast of family shows for children under the age of six. Some five performances are staged by the cultural centre and local libraries in the annual event. 6-8 January, Centre Culturel d’Herstal, Large Voie 84, 4040 Herstal

Michel François (c) Murielle Lecocq

Take advantage of free entry on the first Sunday of the month to benefit from guided tours of Le Delta’s exhibitions on their final day. The contemporary shows include Belgian artists Maëlle Dufour & Jean-Michel FrançoisFais pas ton genre and Sans vue. Cent perceptions. It’s also possible to visit the centre’s museum space, while children aged six to 12 can enjoy a free creative workshop from 14.00-17.00. 8 January 10.00-18.00, Le Delta, Avenue Fernand Golenvaux 18, Namur

Creature ©Tristram Kenton

Book now: Creature  Following the success of a dark and haunting Giselle, British choreographer Akram Khan is returning to Opera Ballet Vlaanderen with his new production Creature. Played out on a devastated planet no longer fit for human survival, the ballet’s title character must undergo experiments to assess his ability to withstand extreme cold and isolation. Creature is a warning to humans who, according to Khan, fly too close to the sun. 21-29 January, Stadsschouwburg, Antwerp; 10-17 February, Opera Ghent

Photos: Brussels Jazz Festival (c)Johan Jacobs; The Seagull (c) Simon Gosselin; Chantal Akerman in 1986 © Jean Ber – Fondation Chantal Akerman; Rufus Wainwright (c)Tony Hauser; Jean-Michel François © photo Murielle Lecocq; Creature © Tristram Kenton 




Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw