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What’s on this week: 8-14 January

16:21 08/01/2021
Our pick of Belgium’s best activities – online and off – for the coming week

Giving up on the idea of being able to present it to a live audience anytime soon, the exciting and accomplished dance troupe Ultima Vez is presenting its new show, Hands Do Not Touch Your Precious Me, via livestream. Choreographer Wim Vandekeybus fuses theatre and dance, using inventive manoeuvres to tell mythical tales of transformation. 16 January 20.00

The period following the holidays can seem bleak in the best of times, and this is not the best of times. There is no better moment, then, to take a little interest in wellbeing and self-care. That’s the topic of expat club BIC’s next workshop, Wellbeing 101. 13 January 19.00

A memberf of the Belgian National Orchestra playing in the Fine Arts Museum

The Belgian National Orchestra and the Fine Arts Museum of Belgium worked together on projects last year to bring music and art to nursing homes in Brussels. When Art Meets Music followed on from that, opening up to the public a concert featuring Mozart’s String Quintet nr 4 and Dvořák’s Cypress String Quartet. It took place inside the museum, and the ensuing video pairs the live performance with several masterpieces, giving the paintings a soundtrack, and the music a visual inspiration. There is also a podcast.

Brussels Philharmonic, meanwhile, will play its planned New Year’s Concert at Concertgebouw in Bruges. It will be livestreamed, and the programme includes Rossini, Offenbach and Strauss. Clinking, drinking and waltzing is encouraged. 10 January 15.00

Not to be outdone, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra is putting its New Year Concert online as well. Streamed live from the Queen Elisabeth Hall, the programme also includes Strauss, as well as Shostakovich. 8 January 20.00

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen rehearses Libertango

And, finally, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen delivers a passionate start to the new year with Libertango, based on the intoxicating music of Astor Piazzolla. Ballet dancers mingle with the house’s symphony orchestra in the first of its 24 planned performances this year. 8 January 20.00

Lie back and listen to solo and duo projects by Belgian musicians two Sundays a month. Concerts in the Safe ’n Sounddays series at Werkplaats Walter range from jazz to free improv to classical. The 2021 edition will take place online until the end of May, at which point organisers hope to welcome up to 25 people for intimate concerts at its Anderlecht venue. Tickets can be bought for individual concerts or the full series, with proceeds benefitting musicians directly during a time when all their gigs have been cancelled. 10 January to 30 May

A wooden mannequin by Cat Bartolomé

Maybe you saw them pop up on social media: Those quintessential little wooden mannequin’s creatively transformed – sometimes with props – into sculptures bursting with personality. They were made by artists in support of Infirmiers de Rue, an organisation providing medical care to the homeless. Now you can see them all together at the exhibition 1,000 Petits Bonshommes. Until 27 February, Halles Saint-Géry, Place Saint-Gery

If you could ask Ai Weiwei anything, what would it be? You’ll get the chance as one of the world’s most famous contemporary artists is featured in Bozar’s digital Meet the Artist series. He’ll be discussing his latest film, Coronation, a collection of video footage sent to the exiled Chinese artist from residents of Wuhan in the middle of a lockdown that would soon be felt around the world. 9 January 19.00-20.00

Tim van de Weerd’s ‘Monstera’

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

CID at Grand-Hornu is dedicated to both innovation and design, so the exhibition Plant Fever shows us how we use plants in our daily lives and products but also the somewhat unexplored potential they offer in showing us how to survive and thrive on planet earth. Until 7 March, Rue Sainte-Louise 82, Hornu (Boussu)

Get the whole family out of the house in a corona-safe activity as Bruges’s big performance hall presents the Concertgebouw Circuit. An interactive art and sound trail takes visitors around the unique and massive building, ending with the rooftop terrace and one of Belgium’s greatest views. Weekends in January, ’t Zand 34 (Bruges)

Photos, from top: ©Wim Vandekeybus, ©Veerle Vercauteren; ©Nicha Rodboon/Opera Ballet Vlaanderen; Cat Bartolomé, courtesy 1000 PB; Tim van de Weerd’s ‘Monstera’, photo by Rene van der Hulst

Written by Lisa Bradshaw