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Cancellation of the Montpellier Dance Festival

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The dance festival of Montpellier, one of the biggest French contemporary (modern) dance festival, has been cancelled after just a few performances. It has started on June 26th and was supposed to last until July 5th.

A few days ago, a reform of the status of the "intermittents du spectacle" (it's a bit complicated to explain, but it's a special status for the people who work in the field of performing arts and who don't have a steady job; if they work enough hours in a year then they can get some unemployment benefits for a period) was decided, but it was signed only by a union which represents only a small minority of the people in that field, and the main unions didn't sign it. The whole topic is a bit complicated...

There have been some demonstrations of the "intermittents du spectacles" in many cities, and also many strikes which have caused the cancellations of some performances (for example a performance of Pina Bausch's company at the Théâtre de la Ville). In Montpellier, several of the first performances had been cancelled, and the director of the festival decided to cancel it (and said he agreed with the strikers' motives). There might be some other cancellations soon in the other big French artistic festivals of the summer (Aix-en-Provence, Avignon...)

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The Israeli press has also reported the cancellation of the Montpellier Festival as the Bat-Sheva Company was supposed to perform at the Festival in 3 different programs. Naomi Fortis-Bloch, the managing director of Bat-Sheva, said to the press that on the one hand they are very sad but on the other hand they support the artists' protest.

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Some other festivals have been cancelled, for example that of Pau, "Les tombées de la nuit" in Rennes, the "Scènes estivales" in Albi, the first week of the outdoors cinéma festival of La Villette in Paris... Also the first day of the Avignon festival has been cancelled, and it is not sure the rest of the festival will take place.

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