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Interview with Manfred Fischbeck

This week we sat down with Manfred Fischbeck, Beautiful Decay guest dancer, to discuss his thoughts on the project. Fischbeck is co-director of Philadelphia’s seminal Group Motion, a contemporary modern dance organization established in 1968. He’s collaborated with national and international artists such as choreographers Wally Cardona, Rennie Harris, Masaki Iwana, Akiko Kitamura, Kenshi Nohmi, Carol Brown, Oscar Araiz, Silvana Cardell and Susan Rethorst; composers Phil Kline, Andrea Clearfield, Niloufar Norbakhsh, Peter Price, Tim Motzer, George Crumb and David Ludwig; and visual artists Peter Rose, Harold Jacobs, Warren Muller, Joseph Wong, Tobin Rothlein, Quintan Ana Wikswo and others.

What was your familiarity with BalletX’s work before you joined the cast of ‘Beautiful Decay,’ and how has your impression of the company changed since you began collaborating?
I liked their work, and appreciated it more after collaborating.

How would you describe the creative process in the BalletX rehearsal studio, so far?
Most enjoyable.

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

What has been the most rewarding aspect of working with BalletX, and what has been the most challenging?
The creative interaction with Nicolo and the dancers [has been] most rewarding [and most] challenging: my aching body.

What do you think the dancers of BalletX stand to learn from your experience in life and in the dance world?
That being of age is not necessarily a hindrance but a potential advantage, and that a limited range of movement does not mean a limit in expressiveness.

Performers often talk about the magical and ethereal quality of being on stage in front of an audience. What makes performing so special? 
Sharing an extended space of awareness, aliveness and experience with the performers and the audience.

A BalletX fan was once overheard in the audience whispering to her friend that she felt as though she was moving with the dancers on stage when they performed. How would you explain that phenomenon?
When dancers are fully in their body and in their spirit, it takes everybody along.

What do you think Nicolo Fonte is trying to express with ‘Beautiful Decay’?
The Beauty of Life in all its Seasons and Colors.

Can you tell us a little bit about your daily experience behind the scenes?  
My current practice lies mostly in teaching dance and improvising on occasion, those practices are highly inspirational.

Tell us a little something about yourself that the audience might be surprised to know; any other interests you care to share?
I play music (synthesizer/keyboard), most often with dance; music was my first artistic passion, writing poetry the second, theater and dance followed.

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?
My amendments: “Let us read and speak, let us listen and dance and sing; these five amusements will never do any harm to the world.”