August 12, 2022


“I don’t see boundaries”: Director Marco Gerris on Components of Freestyle at Sadler’s Wells

Marco Gerris is finest recognized for his function as a choose on So You Assume You Can Dance, however in his upcoming present Components of Freestyle, he showcases the spectacular breadth of his creativity and experience. The efficiency from Netherlands’ ISH Dance Collective merges breakdance, inline skating, skateboarding, freestyle basketball, BMX and free-running in an explosive fusion that’s set to be massively entertaining.

The Upcoming caught up with Gerris to learn how he went about creating this bold mission, and what his ideas are on the infinite potentialities that motion and dance afford.

How did you first conceive the concept of Components of Freestyle?

The concept was all the time there. Inline skating is my ardour, and BMX, breaking and all the opposite road abilities have all the time been an inspiration for me. However after working for a few years with extra classical theatre types like ballet, opera and classical music, I felt it was time to return to my roots (street-art, hip hop and abilities) and create a present with these disciplines. I questioned if I realized one thing totally different and if I nonetheless had that zeal for excessive sports activities. This present options uncooked beats as reside music and classical devices like a violin and a cello, however typically in addition they sound very “excessive”!

What attracted you most about devising a multi-disciplinary expertise?

The entire package deal! And in addition to that, the life-style and mindset of the folks in all the abilities are very comparable: similar drive, similar ardour, similar humour. When you have a bunch of very expert and proficient folks, there aren’t any boundaries.

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Would you say there’s a tendency to be conservative on the earth of dance, within the sense that there are purists who prefer to preserve types and disciplines separate? In that case, did you encounter any criticism due to this?

I meet a whole lot of purists in my life, most of them are afraid that we “abuse” their abilities and life-style. I’m not afraid of that, as a result of I present them that theatre can match completely with their imaginative and prescient and philosophy. It’s all about data and respect towards the scene. It helps that I’m an inline skater and perceive the life-style. Most of my performers initially of the method are sceptical – after a few hours they see and really feel it was all an phantasm! In case you can work with an open thoughts you’ll be able to break boundaries and it’ll additionally encourage and provide help to attain one other stage. My philosophy is constructing bridges, bringing totally different cultures and worlds collectively.

How did you choose your performers? What explicit qualities do you search for?

Most of them I do know from “the scene”. I go to a whole lot of battles and contests, a few of them are buddies, I all the time have a look at the full package deal. I look in the event that they grasp their abilities (approach) and if they’ve one thing “theatrical”: presence, charisma, one thing that forces me to have a look at them. However you don’t have to be a showman, an introverted particular person might be very fascinating to observe if he/she masters his/her abilities.

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What fascinates you most about motion and what the physique can do?

I’m nonetheless stunned by the velocity of growth of the actions. The creativity and stage of those individuals are insane. For instance, what we used to play with Tony Hawk on the primary Ps – you see that in actual life now. That’s loopy and that’s comparable for many of those road abilities.

To what extent do you take into account breaking boundaries to be an vital a part of the artistic course of?

I don’t see boundaries. The one drawback might be the ego or being dangerous in choosing up choreography.

There’s a big social side to free-styling, whatever the self-discipline. How does this inform the efficiency and manifest on stage?

In case you perceive that half, it’s additionally a blessing to work with the “freestyle” actions. It’s potential to implement that in our choreography. The artwork is discovering the steadiness between freestyle and the theatre construction.

You say that there’s a poetic facet to excessive sports activities. What makes you say this? Which side do you discover most bewitching?

I just like the tips as a result of they labored very laborious for that. I don’t see a distinction between a ballet dancer doing six pirouettes or a breaker doing head spins. Each put a whole lot of effort into mastering these abilities! However in addition to that it’s the vitality, the drive they must land that particular trick. If not, they go loopy. The “fly” half is magic and scary on the similar time.

Are there any themes or ideas that you simply want to discover additional in future? Do you could have another initiatives within the pipeline?

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So many. At this second I’m making ready a giant present with breaking, freestyle soccer and road soccer. I’m specializing in the “footwork” and once more drawing on the similarities. I see a whole lot of dance with and with out the ball. And subsequent season, I’m going to create a present with the Nationwide Ballet (Amsterdam) based mostly on the ebook Dorian Grey. It’s already our third present collectively (after Narnia in 2015 and Grimm in 2018) the place hip hop dancers share the stage with ballet dancers.

What would you prefer to see extra of on the earth of dance?

Loopy combos, conferences from totally different worlds – however in a method that already occurs typically. Additionally, extra theatrical acts?

Why ought to folks go to see Components of Freestyle?

You will note superhumans on stage, but in addition the enjoyment they share. If you’re an excessive sportsperson you’ll love the present due to the standard of the performers (there might be world champions of various disciplines). For everybody else: you’ll be blown away! You’ll come out of the theatre filled with vitality and completely hyped by the performers and the efficiency. It’s as refined and aesthetic as it’s uncooked – aka ISH!

Mersa Auda
Picture: Alex Brenner

Components of Freestyle is at Sadler’s Wells from 13th April till 23rd April 2022. For additional info or to ebook go to the theatre’s web site right here.