The Brugse Koninklijk Danstheater Aglaja ceases to be. For over 50 years it was a foremost ensemble in Bruges, in its home country and abroad. Hundreds of young people joined the company over the years but now it is no longer possible to carry on its activities.
Although prior knowledge and experience were not required, it turned out to be ever more a challenge to attract new dancers. And this was exactly what Aglaja was all about: hitting the road with fresh, young dancers. “We have to accept that it is no longer possible to continue along the same artistic and pedagogical tenets we’ve always held on to,” says choreographer Jan Dewulf. In the sixties he took over Keurgroep S.F.X. and remained the great promoter of Aglaja till today.
Aglaja’s achievements are numerous. The corps de ballet was firmly established as a player in a great number of activities and events in Bruges: the Procession of the Holy Blood, Week of the Amateur Arts, Reiefeest, Fedekam Taptoe. Internationally Aglaja performed over 1600 times in over 20 countries. All this was made possible by the free and voluntary commitment of dancers and collaborators.
A few of the highlights were the performance to celebrate John Paul II’s visit to Ypres in 1985, several performances for the Royal Family, the performance on the Red Square in Moscow in 1993 as part of the ‘European Way’ tour and the Golden Jubilee tour of 2015. On this tour the company travelled and performed for one month eventually reaching Athens, Greece. In 2015 Aglaja obtained the epithet ‘Royal’.
All involved feel pain and consternation now the curtain falls on Jan Dewulf’s ensemble, but there’s also gratitude, says administrator Stefaan Franco: ‘We are grateful for all the chances we were given at De Frères, our cradle and haven. We are grateful for everything Aglaja gave to all those young people, to all collaborators and, last but not least, to our audiences.’
Aglaja – the Greek goddess of splendour and beauty – will no longer shine on stage. But anyone who chanced to meet her, will always remember her.
Brugge, 11 oktober 2016