Sean Gandini juggling: Royal Opera House plans intriguing crossover
Star juggler Sean Gandini has collaborated with the Royal Ballet on a startling new work. He tells CW how maths, ballet and juggling fit together
Long fascinated by mathematics and a keen student of the discipline, Gandini is big on patterns. Dance editor Teresa Guerreiro asked him how it all fits together.
Culture Whisper: Juggling; ballet; mathematics – where is the intersection point?
Sean Gandini: I think both ballet and juggling are essentially aesthetic mathematical structures, the obvious intersections are time and space, but there is a more complex and to me more interesting place, which is the place where one thing seeps into the other, the traces one geometry leaves on another.
CW: How easy or difficult was it for you as director to bring these different performers together to the point where their respective arts blend so seamlessly?
SG: I thought the mixing of these two arts would be worth it but laborious like mixing oil and water. What I found from the very first session was that actually our understanding of juggling is surprisingly compatible with classical ballet. I think we’re inventing a "classical juggling" for this piece. We worked quite a lot with the jugglers without the ballet dancers - it takes longer to make new material with the jugglers, and contrary to our initial expectations we have given the jugglers quite a lot of movement. Also I think the dancers’ co-ordination has been stretched. One of my favourite sections has the dancers’ arms tracking complex two ball patterns which are 20 beats long. The arm co-ordination is very complex, and then we layered with feet and ribs. I don’t think they ‘re used to working in such a complex manner. But they learn incredibly fast!
CW: Where do you go from here??
SG: So many places to go! We are lucky in that we always have a handful of projects on the go, but we want to do something very theatrical next, using scripted text. It has a working title of "Berlin Women." We also would love to keep exploring our love affair with Ballet!
Gandini Jugglers: 4 x 4 will show at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio from the 13 - 15 January 2015. Read our preview here.