Alexandre Iseli from Tipperary Dance International Festival chooses his favorites

Alexandre Iseli is artistic director of the Tipperary Dance International Festival, which is currently taking place in the county. Choreographer who grew up in Switzerland and trained as a biologist and dancer, Alexandre has lived in Ireland for many years. In 2008, he founded the festival with his partner Jazmin Chiodi. Until October 16, the festival has performances in ten locations across Co Tipperary. See www.tipperarydance.com

Best Recent Book You’ve Read: I return to Jim Harrison’s books regularly. I like the simplicity, the fluidity, the wild spirit, the unabashed spirituality and its anchoring in the reality that surrounds us. Oddly enough, my bedside book was White Jazz by James Ellroy. Fantastic elliptical writing and the constant hope of redemption in the dark.

Best recent film: The last films that really impressed me are Melancholia by Lars Von Triers and Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders.

Pina Bausch.

Best recent show you’ve seen: It’s not recent, but Simon McBurney’s play The Encounter is the one that really stood out for me. Fantastic acting, dramaturgy, use of sound, storytelling, triggering the imagination, and all with one actor on stage.

Best song you have listened to recently (new or old): I am especially sensitive to the voice. Johnny Cash’s American VI: Ain’t No Grave overwhelms me. I just heard 2 + 2 = 5 from Radiohead, wish I could do dance tracks like they make music. Poema by Francisco Canaro is a gem.

Very first show or dance piece that really moved you: It was a documentary film about the late choreographer Dominique Bagouet. I discovered the dialectic between depth and lightness. I saw the depth and joy that exists in just creating movement to describe the intricacies of feeling alive.

Best dance song / show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): I think Trisha Brown’s Set and Reset was the most literally uplifting piece I’ve seen.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I rarely watch TV and if I do, I watch ski competitions or the news. I sometimes watch the Franco-German public channel Arte.

Listening to radio and / or podcasts: There is a podcast on a French channel by Guillaume Meurice, which interviews people on hot topics like race, immigration, etc. It exhibits meanness, racism and narrow-mindedness in the reactions of some people. He is very spiritual, does not let anything slip through the cracks, very frontal. It offers a real warning against complacency and the law.

You are organizing the dance festival of your dreams – who are the three artists on the bill? Marlene Monteiro Freitas, without a doubt. She is originally from Cape Verde and based in Portugal. We programmed German choreographer Alexandra Waierstall at the Tipperary Dance Festival, and I would like to invite her again. It would be fantastic if the Irish and Tipperary could see the work of Ayelen Parolin, an Argentinian choreographer based in Brussels. We had the pleasure of sharing some creative moments with her in 2015. She is truly daring and still relevant.

An archive photo of Jazmin Chiodi and Alexandre Iseli dancing together.
An archive photo of Jazmin Chiodi and Alexandre Iseli dancing together.

Your best / most famous meeting with celebrities: I don’t know anything about celebrities. When I was working at the Center chorégraphique national de La Rochelle in France, we spent a week away working with Land Artist Andy Goldsworthy. He’s one of the main artists in Land Art, but I’m not sure that fits the celebrity’s current description. I loved his work, not only his pieces, but why and how he works.

You can refer to any cultural event or musical era – where, when and why? Maybe Woodstock, to share that moment in history where people and artists came together to challenge the establishment. Many artists are now struggling to be free and simply express their own vision. Not how they see themselves, but how they read the world. Everything now seems to be managed by context, politics and fame. Woodstock’s enormous historic success was based on a vast organizational failure, what a lesson! At the Tipperary Dance International Festival, we try to create a context that leaves room for the artists, for their real voices.


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Darcy J. Skinner

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