What is the difference between dance and circus, and what do you find similar?
I feel the answer, but to describe it is not easy. From my perspective, both are theater genres, and the beauty of theater is communication. Circuses are becoming more and more an art form that can speak like dance, and this is very beautiful because it’s opening a new perspective.
The vocabulary of dance is much more broad because there are so many different dance styles, and the variation of movement is endless. When you look at circus and you are on a tightrope 10 meters high, your vocabulary is much more limited. You can’t let go, you can’t close your eyes, you can’t just spin: You need to keep your balance aligned because your life is at stake. That never happens in dance. You can get injured, but your life is not really at stake.
How did “Non Solus” come to you?
I was in Chile at the Atacama Desert watching this really incredible sunset. Deserts are really similar to theaters — it’s a huge empty place. You’re left alone with your thoughts. You see this red sand turn even redder by the sun and suddenly there is no one around you. It brings you back to some sort of ancient feelings of humans. “Non Solus” is this.
What was the working process like for you and the performers?
A lot of crying. In the end, it’s like, “I’m not a dancer, I know I look stupid, I don’t want to become a dancer!” [Laughs] There was a lot of insecurity. In a way, the whole piece is about letting go of your ego and finding your own faith. Only when they let go does the show start to work its magic.
How difficult is the partnering?
When you partner in a show for 10 minutes, it’s fine, but when you partner for 60 minutes, it’s very hard. From the viewpoint of circus art, 60 minutes by two people is like the Olympics.
What turns you off in terms of circus?
When I see productions that say they’re doing contemporary circus and deny liking classical circus, but in the end that’s what they do. They just put a new piece of music or change the costume.