The director of one of Germany's leading ballet companies has been suspended from his post for attacking a critic of the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
newspaper by rubbing dog poop in her face, according to the journalist and newspaper's account.
Marco Goecke, who directed the dance company of the Hannover Opera until Monday, faced criticism during a performance after it published a negative opinion of another of his works.
According to the newspaper account, he took advantage of the intermission to confront Wiebke Hüster.
He first scolded her for the criticism and then opened a bag and rubbed the contents, her dog's excrement, all over her face.
The Hannover Opera has announced this Monday that it is suspending Goecke "with immediate effect" and that it is also prohibiting him from entering the institution "in order to protect the ballet and the theater from any other incident."
The Police are investigating what happened after the critic filed a complaint at a police station in the city, in the north of the country.
The "unpleasant incident", as described by the FAZ, occurred on Saturday afternoon, during the premiere of the ballet
at the Hannover Opera.
During the break, the chief choreographer and director of the ballet went to look for the critic, who did not know him personally, in the lobby of the building.
He first asked him what he was doing at the premiere.
Later he threatened her with "forbidding her entry" to the opera and accused her of being responsible for the cancellations of subscriptions.
Finally, he took out a bag containing animal excrement, rubbed the contents all over her face, and left without being stopped.
The newspaper describes what happened as a "humiliating physical attack" and an attempt to curtail the "freedom of art criticism."
The choreographer Marco Goecke with his dog, 'Gustav', in a photograph from his Instagram account.
The article that angered Goecke is a criticism published on the same Saturday of the piece
In the Dutch Mountains
, one of the choreographies he created for the Nederlands Dans Theater, the national dance company of the Netherlands, which is currently touring several country theaters.
“Watching it, one feels alternately mad and bored to death,” Hüster wrote of the performance.
According to the critic's account, Goecke, who was with his dog at the time of the attack, took the bag by surprise from one of his pockets.
"When I realized what I had done, I started screaming," he recounted.
The theater press spokeswoman helped her clean herself in the bathroom and then accompanied her to the police station where she filed the complaint, which is being investigated as an alleged assault.
The journalist assures that the choreographer had it prepared and that the attack was not the product of an outburst.
Goecke, 50, received the national dance award in Germany last year.
He is one of the best-known choreographers in the country and has created more than 90 choreographies in more than 20 years of activity.
His works are found in the repertoire of companies around the world, such as the Paris Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada or the Monte Carlo Ballets.
Director of the Hannover ballet company since 2019, he is known for always carrying his dachshund, named
, with him .
On his Instagram account there are numerous photos of the animal, which according to the
has come to accompany him to a dinner with Carolina de Monaco, apparently a fan of this breed of dog.
"We contacted the journalist immediately after the incident and apologized to her personally and publicly," Hannover Opera director Laura Berman said on Sunday.
She added that the case was going to be studied and this Monday the institution decided to expel the choreographer.
Frank Rieger, president of the German Association of Lower Saxony Journalists, described what happened as an "attack on press freedom."