Causing a stink: NDT choreographer ‘smears critic with dog faeces’ after bad review

The State Opera House in Hanover where the incident happened. Photo: Guandalug via Wikimedia Commons
The State Opera House in Hanover where the incident happened. Photo: Guandalug via Wikimedia Commons

A damning critique of a performance by the Nederlands Dans Theatre in The Hague resulted in the director of a leading German ballet company being suspended and facing a police probe after he allegedly smeared dog excrement on the face of the reviewer, the Guardian has reported.

Marco Goecke, the head of Hanover State Opera’s ballet company and associate choreographer at the NDT, confronted Wiebke Hüster, the ballet critic of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), in the interval of the performance on Sunday night, the paper said.

He first attacked her verbally before producing the dog faeces in a bag and rubbing it on her face. Huster had described the performance, In the Dutch Mountain, as one in which the viewer ‘alternates between a state of feeling insane and being killed by boredom’.

Hüster was first helped to clean up and then drove to a police station to make a formal complaint.

The decision to suspend Goecke, who trained at the conservatory in The Hague, was announced on Monday afternoon.


The NDT told Dutch News that Marco Goecke is ‘a valued associate choreographer of NDT with whom we have enjoyed working for many years, resulting in wonderful dance creations’.

‘We regret that this incident took place in which Goecke violated the personal integrity and self-expression of the individual concerned. This action is contrary to our values that we use as a guideline in all of our collaborations.’

Goecke was appointed associate choreographer in 2013 and, according to the NDT website, is due to extend his contract this year for a further four years. In the Dutch Mountains is his first full-length creation for the company.

The ballet is currently on tour in the Netherlands and can be seen in Maastricht on Thursday and Groningen on Sunday. The Volkskrant gave the show four stars.

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