A real mover and shaker

Stoke Newington dancer Bruno Guillore talks about touring the world with his company

Bruno, a member of the highly acclaimed Hofesh Shechter dance company – which completed a run at Sadler’s Wells theatre last month with their latest production Political Mother – does not fit your stereotypical image of a body-obsessed performer.

With cigarette in hand, he explains that it’s common for dancers to smoke.

“There’s the really organic healthy dancer who does Pilates and yoga, gets massages, goes to bed straight after the performance and turns up early to stretch, but I think it’s usual for some dancers to smoke, it’s connected to their artistic side,” said the 36-year old Frenchman who lives in the trendy Red Square.

“It’s a stressful job and people feel they need to let go,” he added.

He began dancing aged nine while living in the Ivory Coast: “I wanted to do Kung Fu and boxing, but my parents hated violence.

“One of their friends had a son who was taking ballet classes and they made me go with him, I hated it, it was tedious, but I was a very violent child and I think dancing channelled that.

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“It was a very good outlet – it’s very physical, you have to train every day to be a perfect dancer and you can express yourself as well,” added Bruno.

Born in Egypt, he lived in Senegal and the Ivory Coast, but when his father died when he was 14 his mother moved the family to Paris.

She enrolled him in the Conservatoire, a prestigious dance and music school, after hearing his ballet teacher saying he was talented.

He only agreed on the condition she bought him a surf board.

“The training at the Conservatoire was very rigid, they break your personality,” said Bruno.

“In the ballet section everyone has to be the same, dance the same, look the same, they don’t want to develop your individuality.

“It’s based on what you look like and I didn’t look like a ballet dancer – it’s about bone structure and articulation and you need to be tall.

“You are typecast, I don’t look like the prince in Cinderella so normally people like me do character parts like the joker.”

After failing his exams aged 18 he decided to specialise in modern dance at Geneva’s Junior Ballet, where he discovered a love for dance under the guidance of Beatriz Consuelo.

He met choreographer and musician Hofesh Shechter four years ago, who went on to set up his own dance company where Bruno now works.