Interview: Hellmut Gottschild

“For me it is an almost tactile relationship with those in the audience. We give and receive.”

Nicolo Fonte’s Beautiful Decay adopts a cross-generational spirit, casting BalletX alongside guest senior dancers; a joint role shared by Brigitta Herrmann and Manfred Fischbeck, and Brenda Dixon Gottschild and Hellmut Gottschild.

This week we were honored to sit down with special guest Hellmut Gottschild to discuss his thoughts on the project. Gottschild co-founded Group Motion in 1968 before launching his own company ZeroMoving in 1972, and worked under the celebrated modernist Mary Wigman. He retired from Temple University in 1996 where he served as a distinguished member of the dance department faculty for 28 years.

What do you consider your greatest strength as a dance artist, and how does that strength contribute to an ensemble piece like ‘Beautiful Decay’? 

Making and performing my own work – I hope that this will reflect on the improvisational sections of Beautiful Decay.

Performers often talk about the magical and ethereal quality of being on stage in front of an audience. What makes performing so special? 

I guess every dancer will have his/her own answer to this question. For me it is an almost tactile relationship with those in the audience. We give and receive.

Nicolo Fonte has said that ’Beautiful Decay’ was inspired by a series of 3-D photographs of flowers by Mark Golebiowski. The work seems to be open to many interpretations, but what do you think Nicolo is trying to express with this piece?

Express? Yes, I can see a parallel to the gradual decay of flowers. That’s what it is and that is beautiful. Nothing needs to be expressed beyond this. I see a group of young dancers contrasted by one older couple. They are, the dance is. Why ask for a meaning?

Tell us a little something about yourself that the audience might be surprised to know? What is life like for you outside the dance world? 

I have no desire to be known beyond what and who I am on stage.

There’s a Voltaire quote: “Let us read and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” Do you have anything to add to that quote?

Writing, we all know, can do harm (Mein Kampf, etc.). In other words, it’s always a matter of what we read. But he [Voltaire] was a man of words, hence bias to his medium. As far as dance is concerned, he is correct.

For tickets and more information on Hellmut Gottschild’s performance in BalletX’s production of Nicolo Fonte’s Beautiful Decay, click here.

November 07, 2017