Gauthier Dance will present two programs in Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: REGINA BROCKE)
The Theaterhouse Stuttgart is no average performance space, and Eric Gauthier is not your run-of-the-mill company director. Unlike nearly every other theater in the region, Theaterhouse Stuttgart is privately owned and, as such, has an immense amount of freedom to program and present whatever its artistic directors like.
“My company, Gauthier Dance, is one of the only private companies in Germany,” explains former dancer and artistic director Eric Gauthier. “We survive on our own success. It’s a big thing in Germany. Even small state theaters here have a dance company. The Theaterhouse, where my company lives, was built by three hippies that are in their late 70s. They get very little money from the province and city, which means that we survive on success. Most of my friends who are directors have their millions, while I am looking to find funds for my dancers and the costumes and sets. I often think that we have a better repertoire than they do because they are bound by many things, like wearing pointe shoes, because they have a big boss. I have this hippie guy saying, ‘Do what you want.’”
Gauthier, 40, is the father of three children, the oldest of whom just started first grade. Gauthier was born and raised in Montreal. At 18, he told his parents that he would be moving abroad for a year or two to dance with Stuttgart Ballet.
“It turned out to be a bit more than two years,” he laughs.
Gauthier spent 11 years in the company, first as an ensemble member and later as a soloist. It was during his time in the troupe that he developed his choreographic voice. His company just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a production called Big Fat Ten
Gauthier speaks easily and without too much pomp. In fact, it is his light approach and sense of humor that won him a place in the German dance community. From the first days of his company, Gauthier made certain that his repertoire was accessible and funny. As it turns out, humor is a big draw for young audiences, and Gauthier intuitively tapped into this crowd’s funny bone while serving them with a fine dose of expert dance.
In Israel, the company will present two programs. The first is a mixed bill by a list of top international choreographers. The second is a full-length work about famed dancer Vaslav Nijinsky.
“When people venture to the theater, I always try to have them be surprised and expect the unexpected. There are two sides of my company that I like to show, and I think we will do that on this tour. The first is a very mixed program; something for everybody. There are some deep and poetic works, and some that are fun so people giggle and laugh,” he says.
The second program, Nijinski
, is a biographical ballet by Marco Goecke.
“The mission of that evening is the opposite of the first. It takes the audience on a different trip, one that lasts 70 minutes,” he explains.
Gauthier’s dancers are well equipped to handle the challenges of each piece. While technically superb, Gauthier’s cast of 16 are also a varied crew of individuals.
“The company is very eclectic. There are many different nationalities. They all look very different, which is important. I look for diversity. A lot of people can dance well, but it’s the human being behind the dancer that I want to see. I’m looking for the kind of person that makes the public love them. That is what makes you great,” he says.
The combination of the cast and diverse repertoire provides the audience with many elements to latch onto in each performance.
“The aim is to spread dance, to get people all over the world to fall in love with dance. Once, someone called me the Jamie Oliver of dance. He said I could get people to love dance who didn’t even think they could like it. That is the whole point,” he asserts.Gauthier Dance will perform the first program October 16 and 17 at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.
Gauthier Dance will perform the second program Nijinski, at the Opera, the performing arts center, Tel Aviv October 2=19 at 8 p.m. and October 20 at 1 p.m. for more details www.israel-opera.co.il