Kristien De Coster

KRISTIEN_DE_COSTER
Date: 23/11/2006
Place: Ultima Vez offices

Kristien De Coster studied German Philology and Theatre Science at the
KULeuven. During her studies she worked as a freelance journalist for
dance and theatre. Her articles about dance and theatre in Deze Week in
Brussel (now Brussel Deze Week) brought her in contact with the Brussels
dance and theatre scene. She joined Ultima Vez in September 1989. As the
assistant of former manager Louise De Neef, she was responsible for tour
management and promotion. From 1994 onwards she formed the Ultima Vez
management team together with Bart Van Langendonck and developed the
educational program and the support to young choreographers within the
structure of Ultima Vez.
Since the departure of Bart Van Langendonck in 2002, Kristien De Coster
is Ultima Vez' company manager.

 
As a company manager, Kristien De Coster works at the service of, but that does not mean that she feels restricted in her job. She has a sense of freedom because she has the possibility to develop new initiatives. She would never intervene artistically because she wants to keep a clear distinction between the artistic and organizational section in the company. Being a producer is not always the best position: she sometimes has to limit the artistic imagination because of practical reasons. She considers it as a responsibility, even an obligation, of a big company to engage itself in representative structures like Kunstenoverleg. There is a necessity not to stay passive, to anticipate the future and to constantly question your position in the field. It is necessary for instance to be aware of the position of dancers: the reward they get is small compared to their investment and commitment. Being a dancer has repercussions on one’s personal life: financial instability and a short career, not to mention the dilemma for women to have children or not (when they choose to have children, it often means the end of their career). De Coster thinks that the community feeling is maybe stronger in the cultural than in any other sector because of a strong passion that is shared.
The role that the big dance companies played in attracting people to the Brussels dance community should not be underestimated. And of course PARTS played a crucial role too. Other factors are the relatively cheap working and living conditions and the cultural policy : artists can get support because of their artistic qualities, regardless of their nationality. And finally, there is the international character of the milieu with its intensive exchange and appealing dynamics. The big challenge for Brussels as a dance capital will be not to loose this potential : on the one hand consolidating what exists, on the other hand keeping openness and flexibility for new initiatives. The dance and performance field look now completely different than twenty years ago, the whole scene has been highly professionalized. The informal platforms where artists used to meet each other have become official structures. Although the dance community might be international, artists have to deal with the everyday reality of Brussels and the local cultural policy. Thanks to the cultural actors in the 80s and 90s, the political consciousness arose that culture is an important part of society. When asked about rules and codes in the dance community, De Coster mentions open-mindedness towards different nationalities, religions and opinions. In general, there is a desire to meet each other and an abscence of prejudices. Another ‘code’ could be the taboo to talk about material possessions.

 
thesis – philology – research – platforms – political level – bilingual – incredible boost of artistic energy – change in mentality – love and learn – manager – jungle of dance and theatre world – professionalized – more complicated – to give them a push – core activity – educational projects – transmit the vocabulary – aware of this position – subventions – constantly question – boss – intervene artistically – anticipate the future – big impact – strong passion – open-mindedness – no prejudices – feeling of alienation – cultural policy – crucial role – reinforces – consolidate – obstacles – at the service of – integrity – uppercut

 

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