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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Philip Hulford of Hofesh Shechter Company

Hofesh Shechter Company in Sun. Photo: Gabriele Zucca
Hofesh Schechter Company's exuberant Sun takes the Opera House stage from Nov 14—16. Philip Hulford, rehearsal assistant and dancer originally from Bolivia and now based in the UK, answered a BBQ in the busy days leading up to opening night. Thanks, Philip!

Which artist do you admire from a field other than your own?
Andy Serkis—he is brilliant physically and theatrically. Humble, smart guy, I would love to have the opportunity to work with him.

What's the biggest risk you've taken?
Hmmm, probably the decision to start dancing. Before I even considered dance I was skateboarding, snowboarding, playing video games, and I don't know what I expected from the future!

When I was 17 I decided I needed to get away. I did a Christian kind of bible course with a charity called "Youth With a Mission" in Colorado. During one of the teachings I was completely unfocused and struggled to be present in the class. I was away with my thoughts. One recurring thought I had was to move, specifically to study some dance. I don't know, I just sensed it was the next step... little did I know what a trip God would take me on! Completely random thoughts, but I believed it was the right step to make.

Philip Hulford
I contacted my dad in the UK who found me a course in a local college with classes ranging from ballet to street jazz, tap dancing, and musical theater. My contemporary dance teacher told me after a year at the college to audition for London Contemporary Dance School, so I did, got in, and started the next school year. Worked very hard and was so dedicated. Hofesh happened to land a teaching job a couple days a week teaching my school year and that's how we met.

I struggled and fought my way through his classes, lapping up the experience, but as he puts it, "looked as if he could not dance"! Anyway, I got the hang of it, and that's where Hofesh and I came to work together, I managed to finish my degree while being on tour with Hofesh performing Uprising and In your rooms. Amazing and life opening experience, well worth the risk of diving into the unknown!

What food are you looking forward to eating while in Brooklyn?
Burgers and Levain cookies—what else!!

What ritual or superstition do you have on performance days?
I try to do a few minutes of meditation to calm my mind, focusing on the task ahead but also checking if I am being "fake" in my upcoming performance. I don't want to give what I am not. I want to be real and engaged with myself and the work; if my day-to-day life is not proving constant in my efforts to trust God and love people, then my performance loses weight. Then I do very silly movements and warm up physically, make myself sweat a bit, then calm down before the show!

What is your favorite thing about performing at BAM?
I get to see my best friend and his wife! Brooklyn is also a very cool place to be, trendy, arty, and full of weird people that are different and I love that!

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