Every three years 1000 young dancers from all over the world audition for PARTS, the renowned school for contemporary dance in Brussels, directed by choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Every three years, only 40 are chosen to enter the Training Cycle. The documentary podcast Generation XIII drafts a portrait of the generation that has been studying at PARTS since September 2019, through the experiences and voices of five students. Through interviews and audio-diary entries, we follow Eleni from Greece, Marllon from Brazil, Zoé from France, Renátó from Hungary, and Kia from New Zealand, all through their training.

PARTS is an excellent school whose particularly talented students are recruited worldwide. The podcast promises a view from within the walls of this remarkable place. Generation XIII brings to light the story of young people who leave home, move across the world to a city as vibrant and diverse as Brussels to spend the most intense, formative years of their lives together. The five protagonists differ in terms of their socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, the countries they come from, their previous dance experience (from tap over ballroom dancing to twerk and ballet), personalities, and ambitions. Sometimes in harmony and sometimes, in contrast, their voices draw a picture of what it means to learn, to dance, and to create and about what happens when a diverse group of young people from all over the world forms a community in a city as vibrant and diverse as Brussels. Generation XIII is as much about dance as it is about the thrill and challenges of starting a new life, of learning and working hard, of homesickness, coming to grips with cultural differences, seizing life, forging friendships, and having fun.

Halfway into the first school year, the Coronavirus entered the stage and claimed a leading role in this story. More than we could have anticipated, Generation XIII thus also became a time capsule that captures these extraordinary times.

Each episode of the podcast series will cover a semester at school, six in total (45 minutes on average). The prologue consists of five short portraits with the background stories of the protagonists  (15 minutes on average). The podcast is carried by the voices of the students and interwoven by the typical sounds and abundant music that resound through the studios and corridors of a dance school.


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This post was written by Delphine Hesters.

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