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Featured Choreographer: January 2020

14 Jan 2020

Featured Choreographer of the month: Adrian Look

What motivates you to pursue a career in choreography?
It is a combination of things really. I believe that artists shape an opposition to an otherwise pretty much corrupted world which is very much based on profit rather than morals. Having my voice heard and creating art that puts values and the human condition into the centre of my art is a huge motivation to me as I believe it subtly helps to slow down the decay of our moral system and consequently the state of the world itself.

From a purely artistic point of view it seemed the natural next step to take for me. I enjoyed being a dancer too but at one point I could not ignore anymore that I had this strong urge to create. I believe every choreographer needs a vision and a voice and once I started trusting in the value and potential of mine I felt a strong need to start developing my own work and exploring where my vision would take me.

Can you share with us some highlights of your choreographic career and/or your current engagements?
We started off at a small festival at Stratford circus and then performed at the Resolution festival at The Place three years in a row, first as an independent choreographer under my name and then later as Tanztheater Adrian Look. Since the formation of our company we have performed at Tate Modern, the Cockpit Theatre, Michaelis Theatre and Waterloo station. The highlight so far was probably performing at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis which was a great experience for all of us. We are currently trying to get for our first UK tour together presenting our latest double bill The Art of Failure.

How has your choreographic process and work developed over time?
I think that the essence of my approach has not changed much but the actual working method has been consistently refined over the past years. Extending the tradition of German Tanztheater, the starting point for me is always the emotional state so character development is a big topic for me. What started as a general exploration has now turned into a proper system which guides me through the creation process. This system gives me the security to search widely into the unknown and leads me and the dancers from the absurd and funny all the way to the dramatic.

What do you think are some of the main challenges choreographers are faced with today?
Missing opportunities, politics and financial risks are the biggest obstacles we face today. Too often dancers and choreographers have to work for free because there are not enough paid opportunities.  Getting your work seen is extremely difficult and financially risky and bigger organisations do not have enough platforms to showcase work, especially for emerging choreographers. I also see a danger of companies reaching a high quality on paper but not being able to extend it to the place where it actually matters: The stage. Often those artists that are able to sell their art well reach a level of success a lot quicker ignoring the actual quality of the work itself.

What advice would you give to emerging choreographers?
Create a vision, find what makes you unique, get rid of your ego, gather collaborators and stay curious. The weird thing about our job is that it is ultimately based on friction. Because even though it is impossible to create the perfect piece we should strive for perfection, knowing that we will never reach it. If the vision is not strong enough, the ego too big or the mind too satisfied we will not create something of value. Also, you will not pull it off just by yourself. Carefully find people that share your vision and grow together.

What kind of work are you currently interested in pursuing?
I’d like to work with more complex stage design and also raise the number of dancers in the company to at least ten.  I would also like to work on an actual dance film.