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May. 12, 2011
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Kunstenfestivaldesarts and Festival Transamériques both program chelfitsch and potudo-ru
 The Kunstenfestivaldesarts is a contemporary arts festival held each May in Brussels with a program focusing primarily on the performing arts. Known for its programs of progressive works, this is a festival that contemporary arts presenters worldwide look to for latest trends. In addition to featuring artists from Belgian and across Europe, the festival reaches out to find young artists from emerging nations with less developed support networks and produce many works. The festival’s name combines the Dutch and French words for “arts” on either side of the word festival to produce the unique name Kunstenfestivaldesarts.

Festival TransAmériques is the outgrowth of the Festival de théâtre des Amériques that has been held every other year in Montreal, Canada since 1985. As the name indicates, the festival programs works from the two Americas, North and South. The name was changed to Festival TransAmériques in 2007. The range of genre have been expanded in recent years to include a wider variety of experimental and boldly innovative works from North and South America and well as inviting progressive works from Europe and other parts of the world.

The program for this year’s Kunstenfestivaldesarts (held May 6-28) features 32 works, including 12 from Belgium (of which 7 are from Brussels-based artists). Kunstenfestivaldesarts (held from May 26 to June 11) also has 32 works on its program (9 of which are from Montreal or Quebec-based artists), making the two festivals roughly equivalent in size and breakdown. The two cities of Brussels and Montreal also share a bicultural, bilingual community makeup and several works are also appearing on both festivals’ programs this year, including Neutral Hero by Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players that explores the history of the united States from the perspective of heroes, and the Lagartijas tiradas al sol group’s El rumor del incendio, which explores the concept of “resistance” in the context of Mexico’s 1960s and 70s.

Kunstenfestivaldesarts has continued to program works by Japan’s chelfitsch since presenting the first European performance of the company’s Five Days in March in 2007 and has also produced their collaborative work Free Time. This year’s program presents chelfitsch’s We Are the Undamaged Others and their latest work The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise. For Festival TransAmériques, the program will feature chelfitsch’s Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech for the first time. Following a sensational European debut last year at Theater der Welt, potudo-ru will perform its Yume no Shiro (Castle of Dream) on the program of both festivals.

As evidence of these two festivals’ constant concern for responding to international trends in the arts, there is special concern for developments in the Middle East this year. The Kunstenfestivaldesarts program hinges on three key words: Standstill, Body and Young (, while Festival TransAmériques has built its program around “striking, disturbing and inspired pieces that question with candour or fury, with intelligence and sensitivity” and “Thus are created spaces open to the imagination, spaces where the questions asked are of course not answered” ( It will be interesting to see how the works by the two Japanese companies will be received at these two prominent festivals.
+Festival Transamériques