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#HOFEST: Interview with Bruno Guillore, Associate Artistic Director of Hofesh Shechter Company

8 September 2015 Alice Westoby

London Calling caught up with Bruno Guillore, Associate Artistic Director of Hofesh Shechter Company ahead of #HOFEST; their exciting season of work taking place over September and October.

The season will take place at four iconic venues around the capital; Sadler’s Wells, Royal Opera House, Stratford Circus and perhaps most surprisingly, the O2 Academy Brixton and will showcase old, new and incredibly diverse pieces of dance from the company’s vast repertoire. From opera Orphèe et Eurydice at the Royal Opera House to a piece of dance turned rock concert in Brixton. There’s something for everyone, from serious dance fans and opera lovers to those who don’t even realise they like contemporary dance yet.

Over the next 6 weeks we’ll be chatting with various members of the company, so keep an eye out for interviews with the dancers and choreographer himself, Hofesh Shechter. First up, we asked Bruno to give us an idea of what’s to expect from the next six weeks of dance and we get an insight into what it’s like to be a dancer preparing for a season like this, something never previously done by a contemporary dance company.

London Calling: Hi Bruno! You’re the Artistic Director of Hofesh Shechter Company. Firstly, can I ask how and when did you begin dancing?

Bruno Guillore: You want a very short version I think! I started dancing when I was nine years old. I was a very violent child and wanted to do Kung-Fu and Kickboxing and my parents were against violence, so they said ‘if you have too much energy maybe you can do ballet!’

LC: You were one of the founding members of the Hofesh Shechter Company – how did you and Hofesh first meet?

BG: We just met by luck in London when we were taking a class together, I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me, but he came to talk to me and we had a chat and then decided we were getting along nicely so we did the audition and improvised and jammed together, and then we decided we would work together.

LC: This is the first time the company has presented a season of work in this way – what are we to expect from the next month of performances during #HOFEST?

BG: A few dead dancers probably!

LC: I can imagine it must be incredibly busy for you all with four different shows to prepare! How are rehearsals coming along?

BG: It’s really difficult because we have so many things to prepare! We have the junior company who are performing at Stratford Circus, and then we have the opera Orphèe et Eurydice which we are creating choreography for with the premiere on the 14th at the Royal Opera House, so time is running out! And then on the 18th we are at Sadler’s Wells with barbarians, which we are in rehearsals for as well.

LC: barbarians is your next full-length work as a company, can you tell us a bit more about this and the rehearsals for it?

BG: It’s a trilogy; it’s three short pieces and was almost a year in the making because it’s three separate pieces. barbarians in love which was the first piece, that started a year ago, and then when that was finished it was premiered at Sadler’s Wells in a mixed programme with Crystal Pite and other choreographers. And then we went into the creation of tHE bAD (the second piece), which took three weeks and then premiered in Birmingham. After that, we went into the creation of the last piece, which is a duet, and then once the duet was finished we actually put the three pieces together!

LC: You’ve travelled all over the world as a company, but with Political Mother: The Choreographers Cut, this is the first time you are performing in a venue that is mostly used for rock concerts, the O2 Academy Brixton. Is this daunting or are you looking forward to the challenge?

BG: For us, it feels the same. From a performance point of view it’s the same, so I think for the dancers it will actually add to the vibe and help them! I don’t think they will feel in any way more nervous. I think the piece is more suited to this environment than in a theatre and I think this venue is more designed for music, which is such an important part of this show. So I think everybody is more excited because it just sounds great.

LC: Orphèe et Eurydice isn’t something you might think HSC would do – how is it moving in the distinctive style of Hofesh to Gluck’s classical score?

BG: I think in general Hofesh is very aware of the music and story telling so the movement fits and there is something more lyrical in the dancing, but it’s not like we have tried to copy a classical piece, it is being performed by people who know his movement well.

LC: The season includes the dancers of Shechter Junior, the apprentice company, in their first year together. Can you tell us a bit more about them?

BG: We thought there was a gap between school and a professional company and that’s why the junior company was formed, to try to bridge the gap, to not only give the experience to work with choreographers but to give the experience to work with other professionals. It is a life-changing thing for them, working at that level.

LC: I bet you will all need a well-deserved break after #HOFEST is over! Does the company have any plans for 2016 yet?

BG: Yes, there’ll be no break! We go straight into a Canadian tour and then the company breaks in two and performs barbarians at the same time in different places. So we have quite a lot on from now until Christmas, there is no break!

Catch Bruno and the Hofesh Shechter Company performing across September and October as part of #HOFEST. For more information and tickets, see the website.

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