Today we’d like to introduce you to Ghislain Grellier.
Ghislain, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started dancing in France, which is where I am from. I took my first dance class because I saw my friends dancing when I was 11 years old, and I just wanted to do the same. After this day, I went to the Conservatoire of Nice, and then, later on, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse of Paris where I got my diploma five years later. The year after graduating from the Paris Conservatoire, I got my teaching diploma from the Centre National de la Danse of Paris. For the next three years, I was dancing for different types of events: commercials for companies like Chanel and Dassault, and also for Opera like Paris Opera or La Monnaie Brussels.
At the same time, I started choreographing and I have created with my friend and co-worker Romain Dayez, a company that was originally Alliage Art Project, now changed to Le Rapt Invisible. For almost 5 years, we have created specific site shows, such as Khatchkar at the Cathedral of Brussels, De Profundis at the Church Sainte Marie in Brussels, and BACH at the Cité de la Musique in Paris.
Two years ago I moved to Los Angeles, to do a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography at UCLA. I am now entering my last year creating choreography for a new ballet that I am really excited to share soon!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Through my work as a choreographer, I am deeply interested in understanding the place of the community in our environment. Each time you come to a rehearsal, a new relationship is created between dancers, between the space, between collaborators, and with the choreographer. Each artist I work with is brings to the community their own relationship with the world and a part of their community into the project. Being part of a community makes you open to the question of what this community is. Why am I part of it? With who am I sharing it? And how can I engage myself in it? However, pointing to a single community is not my primary interest. Indeed, I am researching the component of a community and what could possible create a common community between people. That is why I am looking as to what makes us part of the same world and what the connections are between us as human beings: with live performances, different generations of audiences, with their interests and backgrounds meeting in the same space to share an experience, a time together. With my work, I hope to create connections with viewers from different communities.
My work engages a relationship between live performance and images, under the form of video projections, applications, and digital devices. The use of this
technology is making the link between different generations: between the “connected generation”, which is used to watching art on web platforms, and the more traditional generation used to the environment of theaters. Coming from a traditional dance background in France, I have always been interested in questioning my relationship with the dance world. I have always been interested in understanding the place of technology and image in live performances, but also to understand the evolution of dance creations and dance audiences. My work is created to connect people. I hope to create for a large and eclectic audience who can share a common experience, even if everyone will find their own references to their life in my work.
The next work I am making is a ballet repertoire choreography called The Twelve Brothers. This piece is for me the perfect example of what I am describing above. This piece uses the concepts from traditional ballet repertoire like Swan Lake and Nutcracker, but with a new story with the use of contemporary dance and ballet, and with video projections. The ballet is moved into a digital space where live and animated share the performance.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
I believe our place as artists is to open art to everyone and every community. I do think that as a young choreographer, my job is to create art that can connect people. With the evolution of technology, the interest for the art field has changed. Young and older people are more connected and expect faster ways of seeing and experiencing art, and it is my role to adapt my work to this generation and to create diversity in my work. As a French choreographer living in the USA, I came to realize the dance field is different. There are many opportunities for international artists to create, especially in Los Angeles, but I had to adapt what I learned in France to fit into the LA dance scene.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
The next work I will be presenting in Los Angeles will be The Twelve Brothers at Glorya Kaufman Theater at the University of California Los Angeles, on February 21 & 22, 2020. Meanwhile, you can find my video work and other projects on my website www.grellierghislain.com. You can support my work by joining me at the performance of The Twelve Brothers in February and sharing this experience with me. On my website, you can also find a Donate page where you can financially support my work.