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    Michel GASCARD

    School Atelier Rudra Béjart Lausanne

    A whole career dedicated to dance and still so much creativity, where did you get this passion and what is your source of inspiration?

    I have been working in the Maurice Béjart house for 45 years this year. I started my profession in 1972 at the age of 16 in Maurice Béjart’s school “Mudra” in Brussels. I joined Maurice Béjart’s company “Ballet du XX’ Siècle” in 1973. You dance your life. It is not an occasional job. It is not only a vocation, it is a philosophical and moral commitment. It is the path of this way that allows you through teaching to bring our help. For me, Youth is sacred and it is a duty to pass on life experiences and knowledge.

    A few words about the Rudra Béjart workshop school… its philosophy, its particularities, its influence?

    Maurice Béjart, like a visionary, conceived in 1971 the Mudra School-Atelier in Brussels as a unique place of education, research and openness. In 1992, he decided to create the Rudra Béjart School and Workshop in Lausanne, an extension of his pedagogical thinking adapted to a whole new generation of dancers. He gave it a clear direction from the start: “Rudra is also an intellectual and moral way of life. A way of existing in the modern world where the dancer takes a social place in the universe. In an age of relaxation and permissiveness, it is important to have human beings who, without being aggressive, have a real will to face the struggle of life. Maurice Béjart.

    For 25 years, this institution has been the only private, international and free artistic school in the world. Following the choreographer’s written will, it continues under the direction and responsibility of Michel Gascard to transmit his multidisciplinary pedagogy as well as his universal choreographic message.

    In 25 years, more than 500 young dancers of 65 nationalities and various social and economic levels have had the opportunity to follow two years of free teaching by world-renowned Masters; this thanks to the support of the Leenaards, Loterie Romande, Sandoz Family, Maurice Béjart, Béjart Ballet Lausanne Foundations and the city of Lausanne.

    Rudra trains young dancers in classical and modern academic techniques and develops their artistic knowledge through a rigorous musical, rhythmic and theatrical education, as well as through the discovery of traditional dances. The teaching of Kendo, a profound and sincere martial art, offers a constant focus to these different disciplines. It is also a unique place where future generations will have the opportunity to learn and work on the repertoires of Martha Graham and Maurice Béjart. The stage experience essential to their artistic training has led them to perform in Switzerland, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Japan, India and China. Maurice Béjart always wanted to train dancers who could meet the expectations of choreographers and that they also had the opportunity to find their own paths as creators.

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    To this day, many of the dancers who came out of Rudra are leading and innovating in their own companies. Resolutely turned towards the future, the Rudra Béjart Lausanne School offers its students the opportunity to train in the dance of today and to innovate in order to invent the dance of tomorrow.

    How much work time do your original creations require?

    I am not a “designer”. I run an art school. Being a creator is a very special state that is very rare and only a few individuals on the planet are lucky enough to experience and share. The students follow a very elaborate curriculum in which there is an approach to choreography and creativity.
    It is by working with the various collaborators of the Ecole-Atelier Rudra Béjart that I generally develop the construction of the shows and the periods of work vary from year to year. They also supervise and structure the students’ personal work.
    For my part, I have been transmitting and remounting Maurice Béjart’s choreography for many years. At Rudra, I do this in the form of choreographic studies.
    Sometimes we have called on a choreographer for a particular creation; this is a different approach. The choreographer creates the entire dance, the staging, the costumes… . In this case, the teachers and I teach the disciplines that will be used in the creation so that the students are at their best in front of the choreographer.

    Who do you dream of collaborating with, especially musically?

    I’ve been fortunate to work with many musicians, men of letters, and theater people. Every encounter helps us mutually in our arts and in our lives. Rudra’s excellence also lies in the fact that we have outstanding musicians with us every day; some of them are also composers.
    Musical and theatrical experiences enrich and magnify our art. To be able to give a little bit of dream every day, artists must unite to find strength and courage. The union of the arts is and always will be a benefit to humanity.

    Biography

    • 45 years of professional Bejartian career: a unique experience in the history of dance put to the benefit of dancers all over the world.
    • Trained by his mother Colette Milner at the Conservatoire de La Rochelle in France, he was the first winner of the international competition “Prix de Lausanne” in 1973 at the age of 16. He then entered the Mudra school in Brussels, directed by Maurice Béjart. After a year of studies, he joined the company “Ballet du XXIe siècle” in 1974 and obtained his first solo roles at the age of 17.
    • Maurice Béjart creates for him original works and numerous roles in more than 25 ballets. He also took over mythical Béjartian roles such as the Firebird, The Young Man from The Rite of Spring, Petrouchka, Bhakti, … .
    • For 20 years with the Ballet du XXIe siècle, he travels the world and dances in the most renowned theaters and operas.
    • His name appears in the world ranking of the 100 best performers in the history of dance. He participates several years in a row in the “Gala of Stars” in Tokyo, a gala that brings together the biggest names in world dance: Sylvie Guillem, Marcia Haydée, Monique Loudières, Noëlla Pontois, Eva Evdokimova, Isabelle Guérin, Dominique Khalfouni, Patrick Dupont, Cyril Atanassoff, Fernando Bujones, Richard Cragun, Vladimir Derevianko, Manuel Legris, Peter Schaufuss… .
    • He was appointed artistic director of the Ballet du XXIe siècle and then of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne and created with Maurice Béjart the Rudra Béjart School-Atelier in 1992.
      In 2007, after 35 years of close collaboration with Maurice Béjart, he was appointed Director of the Ecole-Atelier Rudra Béjart in his will. He teaches classical dance and Maurice Béjart’s repertoire in the form of choreographic studies.

    • He regularly remounts Maurice Béjart’s choreographies for the greatest companies: Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Paris Opera, Scala de Milan, National Ballet of China, Tokyo Ballet, Royal Ballet of Sweden, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the Teatro Real de Madrid, … .

     

    Did you know?

    The Group received at the end of 2018 at the BFM some outstanding artists representing symbols that are dear to it: elegance, passion, rising youth and internationality. In the presence of State Councillor Nathalie Fontanet, the Group received 40 students from the Ecole Atelier Rudra Béjart who created original and elaborate paintings to amaze the audience. This performance was part of the educational program of this rising youth recruited on their unique talent. The show’s fee was entirely devoted to its operation. As for Renaud Capuçon, an internationally renowned violin virtuoso, he performed on a musical program mixing classical and contemporary music until the meeting and fusion of his performance with the work of the Rudra Béjart School-Atelier, for an original and original show.

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