A Long over due conversation with… Steffen Fuchs

SUSANNE TALK

February 2, 2021

Steffen Fuchs is the ballet director and choreographer at Theater Koblenz. Since 2011, he has created both reinterpretations of classics such as “Giselle”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Seven Deadly Sins”, as well as symphonic ballets including “Korngold 2nd String Quartet” and “Sergei Rachmaninov Suite for Two Pianos”. He is also responsible for choreographies in theater and musical theater productions at the Theater Koblenz.

Fuchs first began choreographing in 1998. Since then, he has choreographed for the Leipzig Ballet, the Palucca School Dresden, the Palucca Dance Studio, Svenska Balettskolan Göteborg (Sweden), the TANZPLAN Dresden, and the Tanzfonds Heritage, as well as the state theaters in Gera (“The Last Journey of Robert Scott”), Cottbus (“Come, Sweet Death”), Nordhausen (“Romeo and Juliet” and “Sleeping Beauty”) and Koblenz. His work has been presented at festivals throughout Germany, Amsterdam, Zurich, the United States and Russia.

Fuchs completed his postgraduate studies at the Palucca School in Dresden, attaining a masterclass for choreography “with distinction”. Additionally, he received a scholarship as “International Choreographer in Residence” for the “American Dance Festival” at Duke University.

A native of Halle (Saale), he received his ballet education from 1984 to 1992 at the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin. At the Leipzig Ballet, he danced as a soloist from 1992 to 2002.

 

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A Long over due conversation with… Steffen Fuchs

 

I want to share with you an episode a conversation that I had a year ago, where I was planning to actually have already just podcast launched however, it has taken me a little bit longer to find my courage. So please have a listen, I hope you enjoy what we’ve talked about. These are very near and dear people to me, people that I have danced with conversations around our experience when we were in the field after the move right in. So thank you for your time. And I as always appreciate your feedback. Enjoy.

It is very strange. It was a very long road for me to accept what happened and forgive him the way he treated us. But first of all, also to forgive myself to allow him to treat me like he did.

Welcome to Pointe To Rise, your podcast that gives you permission to dream big, take messy action, and turn your talent into profit while turning your back on perfection. My name is Susanne Puerschel high performance and mindset coach, former international ballerina profitable entrepreneur and founder of point to rise and movement designed to empower dancers. It is my mission to use my own story as an inspiration for today’s generation of dancers. And now sit back stretch warm up or sip your coffee and love learning how much it matters to point at yourself first, to rise to all that you are capable of.

 Oh, how are you?

Oh my gosh, you look amazing. Look at you.

You did you didn’t change at all. It`s not true, your hair is longer, far longer than it was.

Finally grew. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate you taking the time, especially after yesterday’s premiere. How was it, by the way? Did it go well?

Oh, well, first of all, thanks for calling me and giving me the chance. And I’m really, really happy and excited to be here. Yes, the premiere went very well. The dancers were awesome and the public totally freaked out. Something happened what never happened before in this theater, standing ovation for the dancers. This was really cool and I really liked it. So yeah, it was really a special evening for everyone.

Oh, that just give me goosebumps. That’s so beautiful. Isn’t that what we always wanted?

Absolutely! The response immediately and in real time. A friend of mine, she was a dancer as well now she is a physical therapist said. ” I’m not getting applause for a good massage. That’s something I really miss even though I don’t miss staying on stage. But this one-to-one response to what I’m doing positive or negative. Usually, a negative one you will get anyway. It doesn’t matter how good you are. But this positive response deep from the heart so that people are really just jumping up and clapping crazily in their hands. It’s really you’re not getting for a massage.” Unfortunately.

Can we loop back to this because? There’s so much good stuff already in there. I would like you to tell me a little bit. Where are you at right now? What are you doing? What is your job

At the moment I’m the ballet director and the choreographer of Ballett Koblenz, which is a ballet company in typical German theatre. So that means besides ballet, we also have drama, opera and puppet theater. That’s something I really like in this German theater system. Because I’m not just responsible for the for the ballets. Right now, I’m working on “Chicago”, the musical. And before I did the choreography for “Don Giovanni”, for the opera, because there are dances in it. I didn’t work with dancers I worked with singers, and this is totally different. Sometimes, I’m also surprised how much fun it can be to work…maybe that’s not the right word for it. But how interesting and how overwhelming it can be to work with non-dancers. The approach, of course, is totally different. They want to know more about what it is about. And so, you’re not starting to give steps or just say, let’s try that out. You have to be prepared; you have to know exactly why they have to do what they have to do. With dancers, it’s easier, but maybe because it’s my profession.

I started somewhere in the middle, I guess with 10. In the school in Berlin, most of my dancers now they start much earlier. So when they are seven or five. That’s very young. But I mean, of course, then it’s more like child dance, moving, rhythm. Not so much ballet, hopefully, to get into. Then they stick with it, like I did, like we did, basically. And then we went through that school together for eight years. You and me.

Yes, we did.

Yes, we did. And when I meet Martin Puttke today, who was our director, during that time, it is very strange. It was a very long road for me to accept what happened and forgive him the way he treated us. But first of all, also to forgive myself to allow him to treat me like he did. Now I see he is an old man. And he is just looking for attention and love. It was a very long road, I have to say. After I left Berlin, I went to Leipzig and danced there for 10 years with the company with Uwe Scholz.

How was it?

It is a bit tricky. Funny enough. Yesterday on the party after the premiere. I met someone, who was a dancer in Munich, and she worked with Uwe for one production. He did a ballet there “Jeunnehomme” Mozart Piano Concerto. She asked me exactly the same question. First, I thought maybe I should be polite and talk about the genius of Uwe Scholz. Choreographically yes, he was a genius. In the end, it is a very sad story. His story is very sad. And he was very sensitive, and I really loved working with him, most of the time. It is difficult if you work with someone who struggles with themselves so much with his doubts and fears and the pressure to be a “wunderkind” that you can see but you can’t help. I mean you can’t help anyway because you are not that person and plus, he was my boss, and I was one of his dancers. But to see how it goes downhill with him as human being that’s really tough. But I always loved dancing his stuff because it was perfect for the way my body moved. I always loved that he used that music not just as a sound carpet. But really to allow the dancers and the audience to hear that music differently. Because usually, if you have a choreographer who works with the music, and that doesn’t happen very often actually. You have a three four and he tells you something like you should count it in eights and then you’re just like what? Wait a second. It’s a three four, how can you count it in eights. But Uwe was so strict and so clear. Usually, you hear the baseline and then the melody. And you know, there’s something around that. With Uwe, he was capable through his choreography to let you hear all the instruments in between like, the viola, or this voice, they’re really “just” there to find a good transition between the bass and the melody, or just to cover some other ideas behind. You’re not getting that, but you feel them somehow… I can’t explain it better. But you, but you could see it.

I know exactly what you mean, you actually are able to hear it once you see it in the dance. Oh, my gosh, I didn’t even know that note was there. But through that movement, it came out. I think that is a special gift people have.

That’s what I really loved. I mean, if you work with a choreographer for a long time, then you hear the music, and you know exactly what’s going to happen step wise for us as dancer. And this was totally fine, because he had such an amazing taste of music and good taste of music, and was also always interested in, I think, also losing himself in different kinds of music. We did Bach on one hand, and we did Tch Stravinsky and Bartok and Kurtag. So very, contemporary stuff and let’s call it save classic. But it’s not true, because beside his Swan Lake and his Sleeping Beauty, all the classic music he used, you really got another idea of it. It’s like you explore it differently and new. It was also for me dancing wise, I could lose myself while dancing. I never thought of issues or problems or how to lift the girl. It was always like; the music drove me to it naturally somehow. I really loved that bit till the point I had to leave.

So after you left Leipzig was after that?

Well, then I tried to be a freelance dancer and choreographer. But I found out I need the structure of the theater. Because I don’t know how it is for you, from the age of 10, I was scheduled from someone else. Yes, it can feel like a cage. But it also protects. You know at 10 o’clock, there’s a class and then you work to two, and then you have your free time to six, and then from six to 10, you work again, doesn’t matter rehearsals or performance. And then on the next day, it’s exactly the same. And then you have one day off, like that. Then suddenly, you have to organize yourself. You don’t know, you have to go to different offices to get special information about how to get money for living, or for the art you would like to do. This was actually quite tough. For six months it felt like a bit like Alice, you know, falling into a hole. So not really knowing how to get out there. It happened accidentally, somehow, I guess.

Can I ask you why you left? What was that in you that provoked you to leaving? Because after 10 years, you were in your prime. Like you were what? 28 or 29? What was it that made you step out of that safety net? Because I hear what you’re saying, I went exactly through the same thing. I’m going through actually again, in a different setting, but I know the comfort of a tight schedule, and I thrive in certain ways until it like strangled me because I don’t feel like I have the freedom. But either way, like either extreme of either freedom or scheduling doesn’t work for me either. But how did you get to that point where you said I can’t do this anymore. Like what was your driver?

I think this goes back to the school again. I think we always were taught in school: We are not good enough! We are not deserving what we get!

Oh, honey, I still struggle with that to this day, like too today? I am not. It’s down here so deep in my subconscious that I yeah, it’s just a fight every day to not feel that way.

You’re not alone. You’re not. But on the other hand, it also gave me the idea what I get in Leipzig is not good enough. It could be more. And it could be…I can’t explain it better. I mean, I had actually not such a hard time in school, like most of my classmates had, because my body was able to do it all. I didn’t do anything for it, my body was made like that. There was one rehearsal of “Grand pas”. I was the second cast for the two principles. The first cast did something and Puttke was there. Then I don’t know why he said, I also would like to see the second cast. Just to keep us busy, and scared. And I think I did quite good, actually. Then he said, “You know, Steffen, this wasn’t even 30% of your talent.” Of course, he didn’t say it the way I said now. It was loud. So I always thought, okay, from that point on, I’m so talented, I deserve more. In Leipzig, I always had the feeling I was good enough to dance all the principal parts, when no one else was there. When the first cast left the company, I will jump in and dance this part. And in the end, I danced all the parts, I actually wanted to dance, but never as first cast. Somehow, I was very angry. It was stupid. I mean, he went downhill. I mean Uwe he was so busy with himself that of course, he wasn’t able to listen to someone else and his issues and problems and ego. There was a point, I asked for a talk and he said, he doesn’t have time for me. And I said, Okay, then that’s it. It was very selfish from my side. It was also quite selfish from his side, I guess. And I also guess he was actually quite disappointed that I left because suddenly, I didn’t dance anything anymore. From then on, I only danced, I think in two productions in the very last line. All the others who also quit in this season, they still got their parts they had before. But I wrote him a letter a year later. I was apologizing for everything. It was clear for me he was the reason why I was angry. But in the end, it wasn’t really related to him. It was really just something I had to deal that myself and I couldn’t do during that time. And I didn’t understand that. But I never regretted to leave the company.

Everything happens for a reason, right?  So this is so good. I think you’re the first one where I hear these words ego and forgiving and this is sort of reason why I wanted to start this and having like the honest conversation. I was and still am a great person that can just swallow things and not think about it. Just push it down and just not feel and not say anything. Just do whatever comes up or make me not feel anything. But when you have kids, that doesn’t work for a long time. Sooner or later, you find that you’re stepping into this leadership role. Even if it’s for kids, like me. You see yourself in how they react or act or say or speak. That for me was an awakening where it’s like, Huh, I don’t know, that’s me, I can I have the mirror right there. This is not who I don’t want to be like my mother at all. I don’t want to be like my teachers, I am different. And this, whatever has been given to me is going to stop right here. And I have power to make my own choices and to be whoever I want. That’s when I started digging up all the things that were given to us in the ballet school, like the heavy bullying when I was 15. That came all back, like a feeling to fat. Like To this day. And that’s just so silly. I am 45 years old, I should be over it. Yeah. And it’s like, well, what if I am feeling that way? I’m sure I’m not the only one.  I look at the generation that’s coming into the theaters now. Especially here in North America, how much they are already in this stress and disbelief of themselves and how much ego is popping out there just to keep them safe, and how Ballet companies treat their dancers at time. I was previous to that, because I danced in America and honey that that was it made me quit with 29. It made me say, I do not want this anymore to train for this my entire life. If this is what I’m gonna surround myself with the next 10 years, no, I’m gonna die. Like my soul is going to die here. So it took me two years to actually find the courage to open up the conversation. To say, Hey, why don’t I just step up and help these people with what I have learned so far in my journey on becoming a better person, or a better version of myself? Because I don’t feel that we were ever given those tools. If I look at athletes, like the tools that they have available, it’s phenomenal. Yeah. And then I look at the dance industry, the dance community, and all it is it’s just body and body image. This is how you get your muscles stronger. This is what you do to get better feet or higher extension or whatever it is. But we’re not talking about our mind, and how powerful our mind actually is more powerful than any other muscle in our body. Talking about this, you you’re leading now. Accompany you’re working with dancers. And you had to overcome you had to forgive. What initiated that? Because I don’t hear it very often. I see dancers after they stop dancing or after they step out of the theater. I see them fall into a hole because they don’t have that recognition that standing away, or even the light shine on them. Like what was it that made you dig deeper? Do you remember?

Hmm. I mean, the point why I’m still in the theater is I guess that’s the only thing I can do. I want to do. Basically, I tried something else that didn’t work out. I got this job as it often is – just pure luck. I studied choreography at the Palucca Schule  I’m one of the very few who went through Berlin and Palucca Schule. I did a choreography there. I was lucky enough that the director of the school was interested in the way I choreographed. He gave me a lot of opportunities. And one was to choreograph a piece for a project called “Tanzplan Deutschland”. That was a lot of money and cities could apply for that money from the government and you got a million euros over the period of five years if the city was also willing to spend exactly the same amount of money. And Dresden got that money, and I was lucky enough to get a place in one of the projects. And in this project, one of the teachers from the school danced in this choreography I made. She dance the part “The time” and she was actually a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of the intendant from Theater Koblenz, who was looking for a neoclassic choreographer, who’s also interested in working in a three divisions theater. She asked me if I would be interested. I said, Barbara, honestly, I have nothing to lose. Of course, I’m interested. So this is how I got the job. This was one of the very few German theaters, I didn’t apply for any position. I have never heard of Theater Koblenz before. I knew it existed, but not a huge reputation Then we had an interview. He said, “You know, at the moment, you’re my favorite, but I have two others.” I told him, “No”, don’t tell me something. Call me to say yes or no. So then he called me and said, Yes and asked me, are you still interested in it. I said, Well, of course. So this is how I got the job. He has a very good sense, when he hires people. But he hired me because he liked me. He saw one of my choreographies on YouTube, which was solo called “Aprés-ski in Kitzbuehl”, which is not what I’m doing now. Has nothing to do with neoclassic at all. It’s just Steffen is making fun of different types of disco dancers or club dancers, how they call it today. If you say disco, then the people are looking you Oh, man, you’re old.

So Old yeah. I’m still not used to this.

You are so twenty century. He hired me because he saw something in me. He didn’t know if I was able to lead a company, or if I would be able to produce at least two big ballet productions per year, or per season. I always wanted to be a director, I always said one day, I would love to have my own company.

I remember.

It was clear and I got it, but of course in the beginning, I had no experience whatsoever. I always, if there was a moment, I didn’t know how to react and how to do it, I always thought what Uwe do. And I did always the opposite and it always worked. But actually, this position as director to sit on the other side helped me a lot to understand how I behaved. To start to understand how selfish we are as dancers.

Thank you so much for saying that, because it’s the truth.

It’s the truth.  I also can understand that’s the way it is because the career is so short, if you want to have one. You’re always looking into the mirror and you see yourself. It is not like oh, and beautiful and great. I mean, we know there are colleagues who are exactly like that, now to look into the mirror to feed the ego even more, but most of us are looking into the mirror to say, No, that’s wrong. No, that’s not right. You could turn out more, you could turn more, you could jump higher, the leg is not high enough. You know, it’s always competition with yourself. So you are busy with yourself. You can’t see the whole picture. I mean, not me as directors, I can’t

No. Nobody can

But I have, let’s say I have a bigger view. I can see things and I can understand things. And I try to explain things to them. If they don’t understand why they don’t get lead, or why I’m not really happy with the situation right now we have to deal with. I always try to talk to the dancers that they understand what’s going on. Since this season we do every week a 10 minutes meeting, just to tell if there’s something I don’t like at the moment and  If they have something, I really encouraged them. Which is quite hard, because we also didn’t learn it in school to say what we want and what we need and what we are suffering.

There was no such culture we just had to work.

Exactly. From the first day on.

And if you don’t function, you can go back to your old life.

I always say, maybe we can’t to find a solution now, in this 10-minute talk. But at least we know, there is an issue, we should think about all or should take care of.

Can I just applaud you for this! Thank you so much for doing that. Because this is the first time I actually hear from a director that they’re taking the time, every week to connect, they connect, like in any other company that is successful, the success comes from the people that are working the company, and it is no different than Ballet. No, because you’re getting the money to run the company from the outside, you don’t necessarily have to earn it yet. You still should treat the people that are making it possible. Exactly the same like everybody else. So how did you come up with that?

I have to say, it wasn’t my idea. One of my colleagues here in Germany, another director, he told me  that he starts to change the way they work together. This is a contemporary company. But I thought, you know, again, a company is a company, these dancers are no different than ballet dancers, but they are still human beings. I thought, give it a try. Now it seems they’re still holding back sometimes, but they don’t feel uncomfortable anymore to talk to me because I consider myself as a very understanding director. I try when they come to me into my office, and they have a problem. I try to fix it for them if it’s possible for me. If not, then I tell them. What I really missed in Leipzig, and I mean, the company was much bigger. We are 16 dancers here. In Leipzig when I started, we were 62. And I think when we left 52 or something like that. I mean, much bigger. Some of Uwe favorite dancers didn’t have a talk for years with him. And that seems to be absurd. As a dancer, we are not just material.

We’re not. You know how long it took me to actually realize that I’m not just the body, but actually a woman. Accepting myself as a woman. You know, when we when we were going through puberty, that was just no, you’re going parts, that there shouldn’t be anything like, oh, what’s his name? Müller.

Harry?

Harry Müller, telling me. And I mean, this would love Harry, but he just didn’t know any better. But it left such a big scar on my heart. He would say “flex your breasts muscles when you do bourrée because they jiggle.” And that stayed with me. That even when nursing, it’s like, oh, my gosh, I have breasts, that is not good. So that’s how deep it goes. If you don’t work on this. I find that as teachers stepping from a dancer into a teacher into a leadership role. That there needs to be some sort of training, like you’re not naturally a leader, you’re just passing on basically what you’ve been taught. And that way nothing changes. We are in the 21st century. The way we’re operating the way we are like how we’re behaving with each other or in the world needs to change. And I think one of the reasons that dancers are able to produce results as in terms of standing ovations is because they feel heard, they feel loved. They feel respected. They feel safe. Because when you feel safe, you’re able to let more of your soul out instead of the drama that you’re worried about. Oh, gosh, I’m gonna get yelled at tomorrow. Now, so thank you for changing that. And being that person that is changing that, because that’s really all I’m looking for is to start that conversation, looking at what’s out there and how we can make things different, even though we’ve done it for the past 15 years this way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right way.

But you know, funny enough talking about how Harry Müller, just shortly, Two of my dancers were pupil of him as well. So we have three generations of people destroyed by Harry, because especially for my absolute favorite dancer Kaho Kishinami, she’s a Japanese dancer. Now he retired two years ago, but he was still killing people. We also sometimes have conversations about Harry, sometimes you make it as a joke, you know, like, be glad, Harry didn’t see it or things like that, you know Harry he wouldn’t like it. And then we all three start to laugh and the rest of the dancers are just like okay, insider again, boring. But sometimes we also have very serious conversation, especially with Kaho. Because he treated her really like shit. Telling her she’s too ugly and her legs are not tuned out to her. He said, Not great enough. And not she’s not long, and legs are too short things like that. And she is the one of the most beautiful dancers and creatures and human beings, I know. Sometimes we still talk about it, and then she opens up and it hurts. It still does.

I do want to make it really clear that we can’t blame him for that either. Because he was hurting too, and he’s probably still hurting like anybody that is hurting other people. They just hurt people because they’re hurting inside. Right. And they just don’t have the tools to heal themselves and sometimes don’t even know that they’re doing. The same way Martin was yelling in the studio. I just remember rehearsals on Saturday afternoons where he came in and just yelled just to yell. That is just not right. But he thought that’s the way to teach. You know, what I experienced when I got into the theater? I didn’t know how to operate without that fear. My motivation was inflicted by fear. Like, if I can’t do this, and your just going to yell at me. If I don’t do this Martin is going to throw me out. If I lose weight, I’m not able to dance. Like I put on 20 pounds, I finally was free. I could breathe again. But then I came into the theater and I shut everybody out. Like Brigitte Thom. Do you remember her? She really tried to call me out. And I just I gave maybe 70% every time. Because I didn’t think I was capable of doing this. And that was my it just escalated every year it got worse and worse and worse.

Of course. Yeah. But do you remember Felicitas?

Oh, yeah,

We are still friends.

How are you guys? Yeah. Great.

She’s teaching at the Palucca now.

Oh, is she?

She followed her father basically. We are calling each other from time to time and talking and unfortunately still, Anita Iden is still theme. Now a bit more relaxed, but sometimes not. It’s also very interesting. She’s a very good teacher. I saw a few of her classes. She’s a very caring, very clear in what she wants. Times have changed you know, at least in Germany. Kids are not treated anymore as we were treated. My mother apologized two years ago for letting me go there and letting me go back each week end to Berlin. I said, “Mom, you didn’t know how because I never told you in school time what happened there”, and I wanted that madly, always. And the other options were Palucca Schule or Leipzig. No way. It is my full responsibility that I went through this the whole time. But she apologized after I told her what happened there. And this was two years ago. I also remember, the first time after 20 years leaving the school, I passed the school to visit a friend there because he’s a teacher, I had to change the side of the street. I couldn’t walk on the same side as the school. Now it’s much better because they have a new campus.

I’m okay with it. Now, I just hope that being said, there are different, and Gregor is doing things differently. Not like he was treated.

He’s not the director of the school anymore. So but yeah, that’s a bit. So the guy, what’s his name? Rochinsky. He was? Yeah,

Yeah, I dance with him at the state opera.

Yeah, he was his. I think he’s now director if I’m right.

So much to say, I don’t feel comfortable saying that on air yet. Because I don’t want this to turn into something negative or like bringing people down. But I do want to lift the curtain a little bit that we do have different choices. And we, we are able to do things differently. It’s a matter of, you know, taking our power back and peeling back the layers so that we in our own life, regardless of for the theater or not, can actually help them make a difference. I feel that Dance & Theater in general is, something that could easily be put aside. There are people that need to do that. But it costs money to do this. And we need to understand that is a privilege and the entitlement that sometimes comes around it with an organization is mind boggling to me. Like when I stopped dancing, I was like, okay, we can come up with a business model on how to really run a company. Even if it’s about a company as a business, you have to work. But it’s possible. Now it didn’t work out. It was eye opening and a huge failure. But I’m finally okay with that. Because nobody else was trying it. Nobody else was really doing it. We were the only ones. But the system and the whole model itself is more applicable now than it was 20 years ago. I feel where you’re already stepping into that space and talking to your dancers every week, not serving your ego, you’re not there to fulfill your dreams. You’re the leader, you are looking at your dancers, you’re there for them. It’s not that they’re working for you, you’re working for them. And that’s true leadership for me.

No, I totally agree. Before I answer that question, in Germany you have a union for everything, and the directors have something like that to. So we meet each other twice a year. Not all directors are there. But we know each other quite well. It is always fascinating to hear which director is struggling with so many dances of his or her company leaving the company and that each year, and some others don’t have that problem at all. Of course, the dancers are coming, they try to get a job in another company. So they come for audition, and sometimes I asked them, Why are you leaving?

Love that question, yeah,

I’m not surprised because the people who are struggling with the lost of so many dances each season, let’s say are quite unique. Just for myself, I can say the people who are leaving our company, that’s not very much. And it’s not happening very often, they are quitting dancing. Or they say, which I totally can understand, we are not such a big house with a huge repertoire. Usually, it’s my choreography, and we do it 10 to 12 times, and then it’s over. We don’t have a repertoire. And then the next production starts. And they have to do operetta musical, which is not very much like in other companies, but they still have to do it. So of course, they are, especially the young ones who want something else, something new, something fresh. And then then I just say, if you want to leave, leave, it’s totally fine. I mean, it breaks my heart sometimes. But I let him go, it doesn’t it doesn’t make sense to say no, but you’ve your contract you have to stay one more year not being motivated. So would be harder for him or her and me at the same time. Unfortunately, I forgot your question.

Well, what do you use for motivation? Because you are filling your dancers, cups, right? And you have to make sure your cup is always overflowing. How do you do this actually?

It is actually quite egoistic. I need a safe place where I feel comfortable, and good and relaxed to create and work every day. And of course, it only can be relaxed and comfortable and safe, if everyone feels that way. So and yes, I’m the director. There is hierarchy. But I’m also human being. I have some needs, which are not different to anyone else. I have to feel good. And it only can happen if I feel the same energy from the other side. Because as a choreographer, I need the dancers. The dancers don’t need me as a choreographer. Obviously, because last night, the premiere was from another firm. But they’re still dancing. So I need them, so I have to treat them very well. And it’s also my pleasure. So I really like being nice to other people. I keep the dark side for when I’m not in the theater.

Well, we all have our dark side, and it comes out. And that’s okay, that makes us who we are. But do you read any books do you have? Do you have like a routine in the morning, how you set up your mind or your just your mindset?

In the in the beginning? No. Now I’m a yoga teacher as well. With a certification. And in two weeks, I have my exam for the second year, which means then I’m a 500 hour certificated yoga teacher. This really helped me a lot to let things go. Through yoga, of course I ever would I have my morning is a bit more scheduled. I feel calmer. I feel more in myself than I ever did before. Of course, this has also hopefully an impact to the company.

Well, I’m certain that it does add to us because whatever we put out, we get back, you know, what our energy we’re putting out and giving to the world. Getting back. I’m a full believer in that.

As everything in life you’re constantly learning. It’s always trial and error. I do remember the first time someone came to me into my office to say, Steffen, I got a contract somewhere else. I would like to leave you, it almost killed me. I couldn’t talk for two days. Because I really thought in this moment it’s something against me. But of course, it was not. And she was explaining immediately it, it doesn’t have anything to do with you. But of course, I didn’t listen. The moment she said I’m leaving; I want to leave the company. I blocked I didn’t hear any of her explanation and all her explanations totally makes sense. It it’s a good company. She’s still dancing there. It’s good company, well known company, which has very interesting repertoire. And she is touring the world and all that. And we are still in Koblenz. So I totally understand. Of course, it was the right moment to leave the company for her. And after these two days, I thought, I’m so stupid. And I never let it happen again, it doesn’t matter how much I love that dancer. We’re just working together. And yes, we might like each other. I don’t know if they really like me, because I don’t know. But we are just working together. That’s what it is. It feels good when we do it. But when it’s over, it’s over.

It has nothing to do with who we are and what we’re about. It’s just simply, like, we all have a certain time together. And sometimes I’m ends earlier and then we want to and sometimes it doesn’t. Honey, thank you so much for doing this. I just I have I could go on and on and on. That people will be part of our ways. Can you just let us know where we can find you? What is next on your schedule? And how, how can I support what you’re doing?

The next project is the musical as I said, it’s, it premieres on the seventh of December. But the next big ballet production will be Macbeth, which is world premiere because we get also a very new composition from a very young Brazilian composer. It’s really exciting. I say that because usually I’m not such a fan of contemporary music, but this one is really good. This will premiere in April. Is that true? Not in March, end of March. Shortly after we do a beautiful Beethoven ballet called “Für Elise” after this famous composition of him. If you’re around Koblenz is close to Frankfurt and Cologne. It is just an hour to drive. And you see great ballet or opera or drama.

I have a website called http://www.fuchs-choreography.de  Wonderful and that’s where everything where you get all information about myself as a choreographer.

Great. Well, thank you so much. Thank you for your time. I hope to stay connected. Like this is not that would be great. Just one quick conversation. Okay, thank you so much, my darling. Lots of love!

Ok Bye. It was so great to see you.

It was lovely to see you love so much.

Important Links:

About Steffen Fuchs

Fuchs completed his postgraduate studies at the Palucca School in Dresden, attaining a masterclass for choreography “with distinction”. Additionally, he received a scholarship as “International Choreographer in Residence” for the “American Dance Festival” at Duke University.

A native of Halle (Saale), he received his ballet education from 1984 to 1992 at the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin. At the Leipzig Ballet, he danced as a soloist from 1992 to 2002.

Photo: Matthias Baus, Theater Koblenz ©

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There is a better way to pursue ballet at the professional level. Instead of dancers pushing beyond their body’s limits, there is a healthier way to train your body, your mind and your spirit to soar. To become the best at your craft, you must be healthy. The mentality of surviving to make a performance perfect is an old paradigm that needs to change. As athletes, dancers must thrive in order to shine and connect with their audience. This new approach, leads to fulfillment, strength and longevity. It allows you to give more of your heart and soul on stage, creating an unforgettable experience that moves your audience. And that’s the whole pointe. 

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