A short talk with Alexis Forabosco - Demi Soloist / Vienna State Ballet, Jun. 9th, 2017
a t t i t u d e
Demi Soloist / Wiener Staatsballett
June 9th, 2017
Having arrived a bit earlier than expected at the Café in which I was supposed to meet Mr. Forabosco, I gained time to do some reflecting on the many years during which I had been following his career closely. How many years? 10?
I thought about the many roles in which I had seen him and, all of a sudden, I remembered two ladies many years ago, talking about him during some intermission… They were obviously big fans of his and said quite excitedly: “He’s the only dancer with sex-appeal in the whole ensemble”. Funny remembering that… but then thinking about his last performances as “the Bolshevik” in “Giselle Rouge” as well as Gremin in Cranko’s “Onegin” and most notably as the warden in McMillan’s “Manon” (one of the most daring erotic charged roles ever to be choreographed) I realized that they were surely right. I started writing these thoughts, not to forget them and was so concentrated in keeping them “just for the record” that I was quite startled as I heard his voice greeting me and nearly jumped to the ceiling!
It had been some time since we had last talked but today it was going to be different – we were going to put this on paper – and I tell you, this is not an easy task with Mr. Forabosco. It is always a pleasure to talk to an intelligent, critical person. Especially because his thoughts are extremely pinpointed and logical. But he’s quick. He’s very quick. So much that I caught myself thinking that I wished I had not forgotten the shorthand I had to learn sometime at school…
We started talking – I told him about the two ladies and their opinion about him. He smiled. I gave him my thoughts about the “Bolshevik”, about Gremin and about the Warden (strong masculine roles) but had to underline his extreme versatility. I went back in my thoughts to Wronsky in “Anna Karenina”, to the “Golden Idol” in “La Bayadére”, to the pas de trois in “Manon” and the different Robbins’, Tharp’s, Forsythe’s and Kyliáns’ pieces I had seen him in… up to Lifar’s “Suite en Blanc”. We did not mention these roles during our talk – but knowing about them, having witnessed him in them and is a precious thing. It makes an interview so much easier just for having a precious knowledge about the artist you are going to talk to.
Talking about his creative process while constructing a character, creating a role he said: “I don’t have to think much about it. First I start looking for information. The next step is analyzing the character – Questions like “What would I do if I as this person?”, “How would I think I was this person?”, “How would I react if I was him?”.
And even quicker he went on to “I need information”. I thought he’d make a short pause but no… he was completely “electrified” with the connections and coherence of the theme: “People, especially the coaches give us lots of information and I love talking to them about what I’m doing, why I am doing it and discussing with them… “
An intellectual, analytical way of working that I much admire.
“What about technique?” I asked in connection to the theme. He smiled again and said simply “People start mixing Ballet with the Circus” and winked wickedly “We have such a great access to information nowadays – but people don’t know how to use it”. “Sure” I added and expressed a thought that I had felt more than 40 years ago for the first time “But dancers do not talk much about anything else than dancing. They do not think about anything else than dancing… They don’t have other interests! “
“Yes” his eyes sparkled “that’s it. We use the information we get in such a limited way. Handies, IPhones and Tablets all the time. Everyone is watching videos of incredible technical achievements. But there’s not much behind that. Can you believe – no names mentioned – that once, a dancer who was rehearsing Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet” simply asked “But who is this Mercutio anyhow?”
My mouth opened at that.
We could have gone talking for hours and I could still be sitting there talking to Mr. Forabosco – such a joy this mixture of intelligence, wit, quick thoughts and answers, humour and seriousness about a job that he takes extremely earnestly. Pure joy!
I like that and say “Merci bien, Alexis!”
Ricardo Leitner / Attitude-devant