|THE PROOF is a weekly roundup showcasing local creatives. A column for creatives to share their story and work, in a unique, concise format: each creative shows 8 pictures and answers 8 questions. Past participants include Bob Kronbauer, Omer Arbel, Carson Ting, Malcolm Levy, Lizzy Karp, Ben Tour, Jeff Topham – all living in Vancouver.|
When Branislav Henselmann arrived in Vancouver little more than a year ago, he quickly established himself as one of the city’s creative bright lights, helping to transform the already innovative Ballet BC into a contemporary dance powerhouse on an international level. His peripatetic life has taken him from Munich to New York to London before the irresistible lure of Canada’s West Coast. He may speak six languages and ooze urbane Euro charm, but nothing puts a smile on this man’s face like kitten gifs and a plate of chicken and waffles. He is quite likely the best friend a girl could ask for and probably very handsome.
Director of Community Relations, Office of the Mayor at City of Vancouver
Venice Biennale 2009 – the genius of Danish and Nordic Pavillion by Elmgreen & Dragset. Still one of my favorite Biennale installations. Ever.
Barbican Centre – a fine example of brutalist architecture. I love brutalist architecture. Concrete galore, and home to one of the most magnificent arts centres in London. Also my former place of work.
Manami set lunch – poetry, art and architecture, not to mention inspiration. All in a lunch box.
Breathtaking beauty of BC – this is Garibaldi Lake, one of my first hikes as a new Vancouverite last year.
Mascha Kaleko’s work is sublime – I read this book dozens of times, and each poem is as moving and mesmerizing, as it was the first time I read it.
Everything I learn, I learn from The Economist, Artforum and Vanity Fair. It’s funny cos’ it’s true. Kinda.
Paris Is Burning, a heart wrenching masterpiece about the NYC 80s subculture. Favorite quote: “ We are not going to be shady, just fierce.”
Ballet BC’s work is a constant source of inspiration. This is a photo used for the posters for our upcoming show TILT at QET in October.
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
2. What do you do and where?
I’m the Executive Director at Ballet BC, a contemporary ballet company based in Vancouver. Our studios are located in the Scotiabank Dance Centre on Davie Street.
3. What are you working on?
Ballet BC’s 13/14 season, as well as the 14/15 season. This season features seven world premieres by some of the preeminent artists from across the globe. Audiences will be able to see two of these premieres at our season opening show, TILT, starting on October 17.
4. Where can we find your work?
Our season is presented at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and runs from October until May. However, on tour, international audiences have caught wind of our work and approach. As a result, we’ve been getting an incredible number of invitations to tour internationally. We also just returned from Jacob’s Pillow in the US, the de facto Venice Biennale of dance.
5. Who are your role models?
Every single person who completely dedicates their effort and creativity to a cause they feel passionate about. In any aspect of their lives, whether it be their art, family, charity, or social justice. Also my grandmother. She spoke seven languages. No big deal.
6. What keeps you going in this industry?
Passion, dedication, friendship, lessons and the selflessness of the people I work with. A quote by the late Merce Cunningham comes to mind: “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.”
7. If you had a chance to start your career all over again, how would you do it differently?
I don’t believe that I would change. I’ve been incredibly fortunate and had chances to work with many luminaries in my field. If it weren’t this career, though, I would probably spend my time either closed up in a lab doing research or solving mathematical problems.
8. What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were young?
When I was a little boy, I remember a very old lady saying to me: “Even when you cry, your eyes smile”. Although not advice per se, it stuck with me.
If you were going to recommend a creative to VIA, who would it be? (optional)
Definitely Emily Molnar, our Artistic Director at Ballet BC.
Founded in 1986 and led by Artistic Director Emily Molnar, Ballet BC is an internationally acclaimed collaborative and interactive contemporary ballet company that is a leader and resource in the creation, production and education of contemporary ballet. Bold and innovative our company’s distinctive style and approach has helped the company make a unique and valuable contribution to the development of dance and art.
As a cultural institution, we bring value and opportunity to the life of the community that generously supports us. We are a creative place, a collaborative environment. We are a company that aims to create dance at its most essential: visceral, powerful, thought provoking and transformative.