In an exclusive interview, the former socialist minister Jean Glavany, president of the Kader Belarbi Foundation, defends the choreographer fired by the town hall of Toulouse after accusations of harassment. He is particularly concerned about the consequences of the affair on the activity of the foundation, which educates children from disadvantaged neighborhoods about dance.
Ousted on February 10 from his post as director of dance at the Opéra national du Capitole, in Toulouse, Kader Belarbi is still contesting the circumstances of his dismissal and the accusations of “sexual and psychological violence” against several dancers. The artist, who notably carried on stage, in 2021, a ballet dedicated to Toulouse-Lautrec, denounces a prosecution investigation. He has just received the support of the former socialist minister, Jean Glavany, who chairs the Kader-Belarbi Foundation. Interview.
Why did you feel the need to express yourself today?
For three reasons: first, after having been a political leader for a long time, I remain a committed citizen, passionate about the Republic, the rule of law and the defense of individual and collective freedoms which seem to me to be called into question in the circumstances; then for more than fifty years, I have been passionate about dance, an assiduous spectator of many ballet performances, including that of the Capitole; finally I am a friend of Kader Belarbi and it is in difficult times that friendship must express itself.
Read also :
Toulouse: controversy surrounding the dismissal of Kader Belarbi from the Ballet du Capitole
What is your view on the dismissal of Kader Belarbi by the town hall of Toulouse and the accusations of harassment (including sexual) to which he is subject?
Every day I am a little more shocked and outraged by this new fashion which consists in launching accusations like that in the public square, without worrying about the damage they can cause to the people concerned and their relatives, before Justice say his word. Can you imagine what Kader’s wife and children go through when they read in the press that their husband or father is a “dictator” who engages in “sexual harassment”? Now imagine that Justice ignores all this, who will repair the damage caused? I thought Toulouse had been vaccinated against these detestable ways since the “Baudis rumour” but I note, to my great regret, that this is not the case.
Read also :
Crisis at the Ballet du Capitole: choreographer Kader Belarbi denounces a “simulacrum of investigation”
However, the dismissal of Kader Belarbi was decided not following the complaint of a dancer but following an internal investigation bringing together numerous concordant testimonies – according to a union of artists and musicians…
On this dismissal, its motivation, the procedure, the work of this “internal investigation” as on everything else, I call for caution because Justice has not finished its work. Do you know the reason given for this dismissal? “Professional inadequacy” ….it’s edifying, isn’t it? As for the testimonies…152 people who worked with him on Capitol Hill provided certified testimonies in favor of Kader, who considered them? Have they been compared with the rare testimonies that accuse him?-
Read also :
INTERVIEW. Harassment at the Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse: “My dismissal is brutal, I am flabbergasted”, responds the choreographer Kader Belarbi
“He is bruised by the beatings but determined to clear his honor”
The choreographer claims to be the victim of a “prosecution investigation” and “slanderous denunciations”, in particular from artists who no longer tolerate, according to him, the requirements of the discipline. Is this also your point of view?
Dance has, in fact, specificities in its artistic practice: first of all, it requires daily bodily discipline at the highest level since it entails – like very high level sport – a form of bodily suffering. And the history of dance is full of great choreographers, Nureyev for example, qualified as “dictators” because they firmly expressed this demand with regard to dancers who did not accept it. Then dance is an art of bodily expression where each gesture, each attitude is “sculpted” by the choreographer on the dancers. Hence the eternal suspicions of touching which Bejart, for example, was the recipient of. Afterwards, faced with these specificities, all the frustrations can appear….
Read also :
Harassment at the Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse: the turmoil of a case that involves the choreographer Kader Belarbi
However, should we accept everything on the pretext that dance is a terribly rigorous discipline?
Of course not! But when you don’t accept the specificities of dance at such a high level and the gaze of those – the spectators – who are opposite, you don’t have to fall into calumny.
Read also :
Toulouse: the Ballet du Capitole deprived of a creation by Kader Belarbi, its licensed choreographer
You chair the Kader Belarbi Foundation, which aims to promote the practice of dance. Does this case have an impact on the activities of the Foundation and if so, of what order?
Two years ago, with some friends passionate about dance, we created the “Kader Belarbi Foundation” which I have the honor of chairing. Because we had admired and still admire the immense dancer and the great choreographer that he was and remains, and that the man commands our respect by his humanism. And we were, like many, impressed by the quality of the work carried out over the past ten years at the Capitole ballet, which has continued to progress with it, to expand its repertoire by multiplying the creations, and to shine throughout France. and abroad where his tours are in high demand. And we wanted this talent to be at the service of new audiences: Last year, we financed with Kader “body and graph” workshops for very disadvantaged kids from a college in La Courneuve in Seine Saint Denis, work whose result gave rise to a performance at the Carreau du Temple in Paris. Great success, very moving. We were planning to repeat the experience at Mirail but my little finger tells me that the Toulouse municipality is not going to encourage us….
In what state of mind is Kader Belarbi today?
I would say… bruised by the blows received, determined to assert his rights and clear his honor, and impatient to resume his creative work, his true passion.