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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Guillaume Quéau of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

This June 3—6, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performs their final farewell performances at BAM. We caught up with dancer Guillaume Quéau in the busy days leading up to opening night to learn more about his craft, career, and time spent with Cedar Lake.

How long have you been dancing with Cedar Lake? Who have been your favorite choreographers to work with? Do you have a favorite piece?

I joined Cedar Lake 3 years ago. I first saw the company in Lyon. France, and said to myself: "You have to work with them! They are insane!" So, I did an audition in Paris a week later…and I got the job. My favorite choreographer to work with was Andonis Foniadakis. He’s Greek and was the first choreographer that I worked with as a member of Cedar Lake. It was crazy to be treated like a professional dancer for the first time in my life—I was just out of school, and I was really nervous to work with someone whose work I admired so much. Andonis gave me the chance to really feel like a part of the company, and I loved dancing Horizons for him.

Of all the places you’ve traveled to with Cedar Lake, which is your favorite?

My favorite piece to travel with Cedar Lake was Hofesh Shechter’s Violet Kid. The entire company was on stage together for an entire 30 minutes—no rest and a lot of sweat. It was very challenging, but through this piece I was able to experience the company as a unified whole.

What ritual or superstition do you have on performance days?

I do everything last minute before a performance. My coffee, my hair, my costume, my warm up…I really try to do everything as late as I possibly can! Being ready on stage with everybody while the curtains are down makes me nervous, so I try to avoid the wait much as possible.

Quéau in 2013. Photo: Erez Sabag
What's the biggest risk you've taken?

I don't know if I can call it a risk, necessarily, but leaving Europe at 19 to settle myself in New York was definitely a big thing. I did not speak English and I was not ready for this big monster of a city, so it took  me a while to feel comfortable.

With Cedar Lake in its final season, what’s next on your horizon?

Starting July 6, I’m moving back to Europe to work with The Forsythe Company in Germany. The company will be comprised of 16 brand-new dancers because Forsythe is passing the company on to Jacopo Godani. It's exciting, I cannot wait to start. I’m closing a book with Cedar Lake, and opening a new one with The Forsythe Company.

Guillaume Quéau dances with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet at BAM June 3–6, and tickets are still available. Follow his takeover of the @BAM_Brooklyn Instagram account all day today (Wednesday, June 3), for exclusive behind-the-scenes access while the acclaimed company prepares for its final performances.

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