Canadian F. Gravel, who will present a dance about the dark sides of man: “Don’t worry, I’ll experience everything for you” | Culture

It is true that although the performance is solo, there is also a music group on stage together with it, with which a real rock concert is started. The stage doesn’t explode, but electricity really runs through the backs of the audience. And not just from the sound.

The dancer and choreographer is interviewed by A. Audickaitė.

– The motto of this year’s festival is “Experience now.”. What does living in the moment mean to you?

– When I dance, I try to be as busy as possible, I give my character a lot of tasks to be in the moment. So I think a lot of the time the character I create is a bit naive because he’s focused on what’s in front of him.

I think it’s not easy on stage, but it’s also a very natural way to be. I feel a certain paradox in life – we say that we don’t know how to live in the present, but I think that’s not true. It seems to me that we even get too involved in what is happening now. I feel that we should stop more often and think about what is important, and not get quickly distracted by other news.

Photo by David Wong/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

Is it true that when you were a teenager you dreamed of being a musician and not a dancer?

– I have always created music, played for fun, I was fascinated and inspired by music personalities. But I did not imagine myself as a professional musician, they seemed too distant and unattainable to me. I assessed my possibilities realistically, it was enough to do it with my school friends in the basement, it was my daily pleasure.

Whereas dance for me as a teenager was more about serious preparation and work. My mother was a dance teacher, I was her student, we created choreographies and performed for the public at the end of the year. Not many of my school friends took these classes, so dancing was a completely different world to me than playing in the basement.

– Ar can you say that your mother played an important role in choosing the path of a dancer?

– My mother founded a dance school when I was very young. I was already taking dance lessons at the age of 4, I joke that I had no choice but to become a dancer.

My mother was actively interested in cultural life, she took my brother and me to plays, museums, we read a lot. I think it had an even bigger impact on me than the dance lessons.

Through the world of art, I became aware of the world and dance, thanks to which I became open to try and get to know different styles of dance.

Do you remember the moment you knew dance was going to be your career path?

– I met many people for whom dance was their first choice and I was fascinated by their passion and dedication, but for a long time I thought that I did not fit in with them, that I was not good enough. I studied political science at university and thought it was my passion. Gradually I realized that politics was too abstract for me and returned to dance.

Photo by Nans Bortuzzo/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

Photo by Nans Bortuzzo/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

-​​​​​​​ In the performance “Fear and Greed” that you will perform at the festival, you dance alone, but you are on stage with a music group. How was the overall process of creating music and dance?

– I usually create the movements first, and only then add the music to them. While dancing, I write down how the movements are born, what music would go well with them. So, when we start a conversation with musicians, I know more or less what I need. When the movements are accompanied by live music, I go into dialogue, match the length or tempo of the song.

In general, both I and the musicians improvise a lot in this performance. The main idea of ​​the performance does not change, we have a plan, but the length and course of the performance are adjusted, it is important for us that the performance develops and there is room for improvisation and creativity.

And what influence does the audience have on the performance?

– In my performances, I talk a lot with the audience, I tell them what I do or what I want to do. They listen to what I tell them and I listen to them. But in this show, it’s not me talking to the audience, it’s my character, and he’s not creating a show for the audience, but more for himself. Even if there was no audience, he would still dance.

–​​​​​​​ How would you describe this character?

– At some point, I realized that this dance is a ritual in which the character seeks connection with himself and the environment in which he is. And in order to discover something new, he must be quite naive, full of wonder and enthusiasm. But as he searches, he realizes that everything is much more complex, so his discoveries become darker and darker. But the character is not depressed, he is aware and when faced with his dark side, he does not deny it or run away, but accepts it. In this way, he becomes less and less naive.

I created the show in order for people to find a connection with themselves through it. I show them how to do this and reveal that the search for connection is not always bright. The title of the play encodes the two axes around which the whole world revolves, namely fear and greed that bind us together.

Photo by Jean-Christophe Yacono/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

Photo by Jean-Christophe Yacono/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

–​​​​​​​ The feeling of helplessness is one of the themes of the play. Why is this topic interesting to you?

– I think this topic came from my political studies, I was already interested in the concept of powerlessness then. We all live in the illusion that we can come up with what to say and do if we want to – we can improve, change the world, but in reality everything works a little differently. We are influenced and manipulated by different forces, so often what we say or think is shaped by someone else.

We are all shaped by external circumstances, influences, etc. When we realize this, we feel helpless because we don’t even know where to start to think or act as independent individuals. At the same time, this does not mean that we cannot do anything. We can be critical, but it’s not a comfortable position, so we often choose not to be.

It seems to me that the power of people lies in their sensitivity, in their connection with themselves. That is what I want to reveal in this play. I like to talk about my feelings and helplessness at the same time. The more sensitive I am, the more power it gives me: to be empathic, to listen and hear, to look and see.

Photo by Nans Bortuzzo/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

Photo by Nans Bortuzzo/New Baltic Dance/Frederick Gravel

How do you feel about dancing alone?

– Although the performance is called a solo performance, I am on stage with the group and feel strong support from them. Music occupies the same important place as dance in the performance. I feel like a fourth musician playing together, only on a different instrument, but I understand that the biggest responsibility of the performance falls on me. Therefore, before creating this performance, I asked myself if I was ready to take the whole burden alone. And my answer was yes.

–​​​​​​​ What should Lithuanian viewers know before coming to this show?

– Be prepared that the music is very loud and the lights are very bright at certain times. (laughing)

I have to admit that the show is physically difficult for me, but it has to be, because I make sacrifices so that the audience can experience the whole palette of emotions through me. My advice is to close your eyes sometimes and just listen to the music because it’s amazing. And also listen to yourself.

After Fear and Greed, I got feedback from older people that the show brought back a lot of memories for them. Some said that I was playing them on stage. Such feedback makes me happy, then I feel that I am doing my job well.

This show is very energetic and more like a rock concert than a dance performance. But my goal is not to show off what an impressive dancer I am or to blow up the stage, the goal is to dive deep and give the audience what comes up.

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2024-04-16 04:28:09

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