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#HOFEST: Interview with dancer Frédéric Despierre

6 October 2015 Alice Westoby

As #HOFEST draws to a close this week, and with a bang, at the O2 Academy in Brixton, here’s our final installment of our series of interviews with the dancers. Last but not least is dancer Frédéric Despierre who we chatted to about the season and what it takes to be a professional dancer.

London Calling: Hi Fred! When did you first begin dancing?

FD: I first began dancing when I was very young, about 5 years old. It was first more of a hobby, something to get me to do something different. My mum put me into dance class then I grew up with it and grew up loving it more and more and when I joined an intensive school it became a job.

LC: How did you join the Hofesh Shechter Company?

FD: I joined the company in 2011, almost four and a half years ago. I met the company before I joined, I did a sort of internship with them for a week and then I auditioned for an apprenticeship with them. So I was an apprentice with the company for a year and then joined as a full member. 

LC: So you can relate to the members of the apprentice company Shechter Junior, who are performing degeneration presented by East London Dance at Stratford Circus. How has it been rehearsing alongside them for the opera, Orphèe et Eurydice?

FD: It was great. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to work together until the opera because we were both busy with our tours but it was great to have them and for them to be able to meet all the dancers of the company and to work with different people. They are very enthusiastic and are working hard.

LC: Performing in opera Orphèe et Eurydice at the Royal Opera House will be something quite different for the company. Do you have any experience with classical music or even classical ballet?

FD:I did start my training as a ballet dancer and I switched half way through. So I did a lot of ballet, but I didn’t have any experience with opera in particular. It’s not the style I would go to immediately to get inspired or to create something so it was a big challenge to work with the company on this.

LC: Has it been hard to put Hofesh’s unique style of movement to the classical music?

FD:It was hard, it was interesting because we had to find how not to go completely into the aesthetic of it but try to create something that goes with the music. So there was this balance of trying to find the perfect balance between our style and the aesthetic of the opera.

LC: barbarians is another new piece, a trilogy of work, can you tell us a bit more about the rehearsal process?

FD: So barbarians in love, the first piece, I was in the original cast for. It took a long time to come to an end so that was a long process for our group. All three pieces are very, very different, at the moment we are also teaching these pieces to the other dancers so everybody is learning almost every piece. You can really feel the difference in style between them but they are all connected. I think it’s a powerful evening.

LC: What advice would you give to any young aspiring dancers?

FD: I’d say keep working, I know when I left school and joined a company I thought that I was ready for professional work but I realised as I started that it was just the beginning and that was when I really had to work hard on my movement and on my ability. Stay interested and keep working.

Catch Fred and the Hofesh Shechter Company performing as part of #HOFEST. For more information and tickets visit www.hofesh.co.uk/hofest

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