Meet the Artist: Gaspard Louis
September 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
Meet Gaspard Louis, one of our esteemed choreographers for this year’s North Carolina Dance Festival. On tour this year, audiences will have the chance to see his company, Gaspard&Dancers, perform Rubix. Read more about this Durham, NC based dancer.
Gaspard Louis (Founder/Artistic Director) was born and raised in Haiti. His experience includes being a dancer and choreographer with the cutting-edge and internationally renowned Pilobolus Dance Theater. In addition to performing, touring, and teaching globally with Pilobolus, he collaborated on nine major dance works during this formative decade with the company. He has also choreographed for Freespace Dance Company in New Jersey and Kentucky University Dance Ensemble.
Currently, he directs The American Dance Festival’s year-round creative movement outreach program, which provides free dance classes to Triangle youth. He founded his dance company Gaspard&Dancers in 2009, in order to create his own personal vision of dance in North Carolina. The past couple of years he has created two works as part of planned trilogy about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which has personal resonance for him. With each of these works, he has explored themes of loss and aspiration on personal, communal, and national levels. He has always sought to push the envelope technically and creatively in his choreography. He hopes that his work engages the audience in a way that is emotional and visceral.
RUBIX is an abstract piece that explores the idea of a human Rubik’s Cube. The dancers use their bodies to form complex physical design of ever-shifting of parts fitted and refitted into numerous possible combinations.
Dance Project had the opportunity to interview Gaspard earlier this year. Here’s what he had to say about his work for this year’s festival.
Dance Project: Tell me a little bit about your choreographic process. Where do you usually start? Do your ideas start in your head or body?
Gaspard Louis: My choreographic process is for the most part a collaborative process. I come in the studio with an idea and describe to the dancers. I bring some of my own music, but I also ask the dancers to bring some music as well just to get a different perspective. I sometimes give them a phrase as a starting point, ask that they add an 8 to 16 counts to it, and let it develop from there.
DP: Do you prefer creating abstract work, or narrative?
GL: I am much more comfortable creating abstract work. However, if the situation presents itself where I have to create a narrative work, I will not shy away from it.
DP: How did you get started with RUBIX?
GL: RUBIX started with an image of the rubik’s cube in my head where the body moves organically, intertwining and forms a series of patterns and shapes.
DP: How long did it take for you to come up with such intricate lifts? Did anyone ever get hurt in this part of rehearsal? How do you ensure their safety?
GL: Having a Pilobolus background, the lifts came quite easily to me. However, I had to be extra careful when teaching that particular technique to my dancers. Some have had partnering, but not to the extent that I have. I usually work backwards with them when it comes to do an intricate lift. We start with the ending image so that everyone involved knows where the grips are, and then go back to do it in real time. Nobody got hurt during RUBIX. Safety is always at the forefront of every rehearsal.
DP: Did the music come first or last?
GL: For most of my works, the choreography and the music are usually created together. I have been fortunate so far to be able to collaborate with local musicians. Sometimes they would come in the studio to play as we were improvising, other times, I would listen to piece of music and ask them to compose something similar to it.
DP: What do you hope the audience will come away with?
GL: I only hope the audience leaves the theater having been entertained and satisfied and wanting to come see me again.
Want to see the show? Check our schedule to see when the NCDF will be in your neighborhood!