Awkwardness in EU Parliament as delegates treated to interpretive dance performance

Awkwardness in EU Parliament as delegates treated to interpretive dance performance
Closing ceremony of the Conference of the Future of Europe. Credit: European Commission

To celebrate the closing of the Conference on the Future of Europe at the European Parliament on Monday, participants in the hemicycle were treated to an interpretive dance performance in what was intended as a moment of light entertainment.

But what organisers had envisaged as a pleasant way to lighten the mood ended up being a painfully awkward affair.

MEPs in the chamber looked visibly confused and uncomfortable, probably hoping the show would end sooner rather than later. Though interpretive dancing is an art form in its own right, it transpires that displays are rather less suited to the Parliament's hemicycle, as performers glided and gesticulated dramatically amid puzzled delegates.

France's Emmanuel Macron looked particularly unimpressed, as the dancers were the warmup act for his keynote speech, which included a more sober note on Ukraine's EU accession chances, suggesting that Ukraine join a "parallel European community" instead.

Observers on Twitter were quick to comment on the evident discomfort of those in attendance, with one likening the spectacle to Eurovision performances: "It's Eurovision week, and it shows."

A parody account for Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt commented: "Ukraine is burning. What is the best thing to do? Interpretive dance. Take that Russia! Putin is finished now."

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Jumping at the chance to take a dig at his old employers, former MEP Nigel Farage exclaimed that "there are many reasons why I am pleased to no longer be an MEP. Not having to witness this 'interpretive dance' is one of them." Presumably the polemicist is struggling to retain any relevance in post-Brexit public discourse.

Comedy Twitter account, Mepassistant, speaking for everyone, responded to Farage: "Big 'stalking your ex on social media to see if she moved on' vibe."

In fairness, even the young dance troupe did not look comfortable on their new stage. Following the bemused reactions to the performance, EU conference organisers may want to rethink future artist interventions.

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