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Culture beat - April 11
Sensual tango seems to have replaced saucy salsa as the leading Latin dance. Here in the capital, fans of the provocative partner dance can work out non-stop at the Brussels Tango Festival until Monday. They’ll be lucky to find time for a siesta with a packed programme of shows, workshops and demonstrations, not to mention the all-night after parties. The five-day event includes a free outdoor acrobatic show behind La Monnaie on Friday, when In Senseo perform Suspend’s Tango against a wall while hanging from wires. And the Grand‘Place and Royal Park are the setting for further displays and free initiation sessions on Saturday along with Buenos Aires duo Roxana & Sebastien (pictured) at Concert Noble. The seventh art also joins in the action with a Cinema and Tango film cycle at Flagey until April 24.
Over at Ancienne Belgique on April 12 you’ll be lucky if you snap up a ticket for Australian star Sarah Blasko. The singer-songwriter is on tour with fourth album I Awake, a beautiful and melodious journey of self-discovery.
The diverse sounds of south-eastern Europe return to Brussels as Bozar hosts the seventh Balkan Trafik Festival from April 17 to 21. In addition to traditional, folk and more contemporary beats, visitors are treated to film screenings, regional cuisine, workshops and talks. Headlining the event are Balkan bests: international artist Goran Bregović and legends like Fanfare Ciocarlia, Taksim Trio, NY Gypsy All Stars and Belgian project Aka Balkan Moon. The party starts with the premiere of Balkan Melodie, a documentary about Marcel and Catherine Cellier and their lifelong dedication to the region’s music.
There’s more multidisciplinary action, and all free, at the Festival Courants d’airs, organised by the Royal Conservatory from April 17 to 21. For this eighth edition, around 120 actors and 210 musicians, all current or former students of the conservatory and other schools, show off their talent in venues around Brussels. On the theatrical side, young and classical writers share the spotlight: Sarah Kane, Nancy Huston, Jean-Michel Ribes and Arthur Rimbaud among others. The musical programme is equally diverse with an opening concert at Brussels’ Town Hall with works by Jongen, Fafchamp and Guidacci. Others incorporate Stravinsky, Poulenc and Fabrice Alleman and the Conservatory’s Big Band perform jazz classics and Dixieland music.
The capital goes all arty as one of Europe’s most important contemporary art fairs takes over Brussels Expo from April 18 to 21. Art Brussels expects some 30,000 people to view the work of more than 1,500 artists from the continent’s most dazzling galleries. This edition is the first under the stewardship of Greek-born, Brussels-based Katerina Gregos, who replaces the late Karen Renders as artistic director. Among new features are a programme of live art and an updated look. Visitors can check out three distinct spaces: the Gallery; Young Talent; and First Call, a grouping of 14 up-and-coming galleries participating for the first time. Vying equally for art lovers’ attention is the second edition of the Off Art Fair at Tour & Taxis from April 19 to 22, showing works from 50 Belgian and international galleries.