TBI Q&A: Eric Languet
Choreographer Eric Languet has joined forces with Footnote Dance to tour an entrancing new dance work for all ages that begins its journey at Jennifer Beal's character in the quintessential 80s film Flashdance. As well as movement, Bbeals involves original music and theatre.
The world premiere in Dunedin at the Regent Theatre on Friday March 13 features international dancers from Portugal and Belgium dancing alongside Footnote’s own performers.
The project was made possible with help from a Boosted crowd funding campaign which allowed Footnote to travel to Reunion Island where Eric is based to workshop and rehearse late last year. Now, he’s back with dancers from his French company Danses en l’R. It is a reunion of sorts for Eric as he lived and danced in New Zealand for ten years from 1988 with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
He is very pleased to be back in the country working with Footnote, a company which shares the same values of his own company with dancers on salaries and professional development opportunities. “There’s a homecoming feeling being back in New Zealand. While this time I’m in a different scene, with contemporary dancers rather than ballet, the opportunity and the project feel symbolic of where I am at now."
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During what hours of the day do you feel most inspired?
Early hours of the morning (3, 4 am) or when I am with the dancers.
How would a good friend describe your aesthetic or style?
Wacky and organic.
What aspect of your creative practice gives you the biggest thrill?
It is to see people rolling around during their working day, beats working in a bank.
How does your environment affect your work?
My environment is my biggest inspiration: politics, the financial world, football fans, disabled people, the sea in front of my house, the wind in poplar trees, the bullshit we accept to believe in, the last lambs shank I ate (it was amazing), people in general, in all their complexities … this my everyday inspiration.
Do you like to look at the big picture or focus on the details?
Usually a small detail takes me straight to the big picture.
What's your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in the creative industries?
You have to be humble and build a good team around you: artistic, marketing, PR . They have to be good but most of all, they have to understand and share your values.
Which of your projects to date has given you the most satisfaction?
The integrated dance workshops I have been developing with my company for the last 14 years. (dance with disabled and non disabled people).
Who or what has inspired you recently?
The long discussion I had with Alain Platel, Belgian choreographer of Les Ballets C de la B.
Were you nervous or excited about coming back to New Zealand after so long?
Both really, because when I came back two years ago, for the 60th birthday of the RNZB two years, it was intense and emotional. It felt like I had never left Wellington. This time I have more time to touch down and have a more in depth feel about my country of adoption.
How do you think the dance community is faring currently in New Zealand?
My point of view could only be really superficial so it is difficult to answer this one, but I see a lot of highly trained dancers working in bars to make a living …
Why did you agree to work with Footnote on this collaborative project?
Because I took a couple of trainings two years ago and I was really impressed with dancers. And I enjoy working with dancers of my company together with another group. Living in each others countries develops a better understanding of why people think or move the way they do. And last but not least, Deirdre Tarrant shares a lot of values with me and with what I am developing with my own company : Danses en l’R.
If you could go back and choose a completely different career path to the one you've chosen, what would it be?
Marine biologist I guess.
What place is always with you, wherever you go?
The place I just left. Otherwise, I have this piece of fabric from Mozambique that I take with me every where I go , this like my house.
What's the best way to listen to music, and why?
With your ears I guess, I tried once with my toes and it did not work!
You are given a piece of string, a stick and some fabric. What do you make?
A handkerchief at the end of a stick, I am not very good with my hands.
What's the best stress relief advice you've ever been given?
Eric, grab your board and let’s go surfing.
What’s your big idea for 2015?
Realising that life can be worth living after all.
What changes have you noticed in in the past 10 years?
The rise of integrism, be it religious, ethnic or financial.
What are some of the opportunities and challenges for the next decade?
A personal challenge will be to keep performing until I am 62. On a more general level, inventing new structures in order to adapt to the radical changes of the European cultural policies. Lack of money does not mean the end of creativity, on the contrary. We just have to think of new ways of sharing our work as artists, and sharing resources.