Arts critics are used to trashing sub-par performances with negative reviews, but they are rarely on the receiving end of an all-too-literal smear campaign.
This weekend though, the chief choreographer of Hanover State Opera smeared the face of a dance critic with dog excrement after she gave a negative review of his latest show, German newspapers wrote.
Wiebke Hüster, a dance critic for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), was attending the premiere on Saturday of the ballet “Glaube – Liebe – Hoffnung” (Faith - Love - Hope) at the Hanover State Opera.
During the interval, Marco Goecke, one of the production's choreographers, confronted Hüster in the theater's crowded foyer and smeared her face with dog excrement, newspapers said.
Goecke, who is Hanover State Ballet's chief choreographer and director, threatened to ban Hüster from the theater before removing a bag filled with the feces and wiping its contents in Hüster's face, FAZ reported on Sunday.
The exchange followed Hüster's negative review of Goecke's new show "In the Dutch Mountains," which was published in the FAZ on Saturday.
Hüster wrote that watching the show, which recently opened at Nederlands Dans Theater in The Hague, was like being “alternately driven mad and killed by boredom."
Response to the incident
Hanover State Opera apologized for the episode and said on Monday that Goecke was being suspended with immediate effect and barred from attending the theater.
"This is not only about the future of Marco Goecke, but also about the future of the over 30-strong ballet ensemble," the theater said in a statement. "The theater management has a duty of care towards every member of the ensemble."
FAZ said that a police investigation had been launched.
"This humiliating incident is not only an act of bodily harm but also an attempt to intimidate our free, critical view of art," the newspaper said.