A safe scene

By Audrey SomnardMisch PautschLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Sexism, sexual violence, and abuse of power in the arts: five years after #Metoo, the performing arts sector is beginning to examine its conscience and is seeking to create a serene climate for artists who are often in a precarious position.

The performing arts sector in Luxembourg has taken a first important step. The "Unmute Power Abuse" conference was organised in November to free the voice of artists. The aim was not to settle one's differences behind closed doors, but to start a series of discussions to find out what model Luxembourg could base itself on. The aim was to promote a safe working space for artists, an environment where abuse of power would no longer be a problem. In a preamble, Ainhoa Achutegui, director of Neimënster, president of Planning familial and specialist in issues of sexual violence, insisted, that "any form of violence in the name of art is no longer acceptable". This is a real change of direction. Until now abuse has been widely accepted by the milieu, and suffered by many artists if they wanted to be able to continue to work and live from their art.

Luxembourg has so far escaped the great #Metoo debacle. No public denunciation, no scandal, no complaints, as if the Grand Duchy were on a peaceful island, far from the tumult of sex scandal cases in the art world. But Luxembourg artists work a lot outside the country and with foreign choreographers, directors and producers. In 2018, a scandal tainted the Belgian choreographer Jan Fabre who was accused by dancers of "sexual humiliation" via an open letter. Artists spoke publicly about the choreographer's abusive behaviour, which had long been accepted by the milieu, even though "everyone knew". At the time of the scandal, the Luxembourg dancer and choreographer Sylvia Camarda gave an interview in the pages of Le Quotidien to defend the choreographer and to denounce her colleagues: "Every dancer has the right to say how far she wants to go with a choreographer. If they are not able to do it during the production, let them stay on the project until the end, I wonder: are these girls frustrated because they have a bad experience or because they did not get a new contract?"

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