Gruss: “Our identity is strong through horses, family and work”

The Gruss family was on Wednesday, April 20, at the André-Malraux media library in Béziers.

Compagnie Gruss returns in early July until the end of August at the Fonséranes facility in Béziers. What’s in store for this new show?

This second edition of “Folies-Gruss” is a show that was created during the imprisonment in 2020 and was shown only five times in Paris, in October of the same year, and which was transferred to our company from September 2021 to March 2022 . in the Bois de Boulogne at Porte de Passy. He’s had some pretty impressive success because there’s been a resurgence.

I.e?

I took over the reins of the company in 2019, along with my brother Stephan and my sister Maud, we wanted to keep our DNA, i.e. horses and all the multi-disciplinary artists that are family members. On the other hand, it was necessary to change, to plan for the future. Thus “Les Folies Gruss” was born. We poured in new blood.

My brother Stéphane, artistic director, has surrounded himself with a brand new team: Gregory Antoine, director, Bruno Corsini, lighting designer, Nicolas Vaudelet, costume designer. On the technical side, there is also something new. In a show where there are horses, traditional disciplines and people, it is important to bring modernity.

Today, all broadcast numbers are tuned to music with the help of computers, everything is digitized. We have also retained the Sylvain Rolland orchestra, the voice of Candice Parise. This is the integration of a new generation, my nephews, Charles and Alexandre, my daughters, Jeanne and Celestine, my nieces, Gloria and Venice.

It is important to know where we come from in order to understand our current philosophy.

The term “circus” seems to have disappeared from your vocabulary.

My father created Le Cirque à l’ancienne in 1974, then Le Cirque national under Jack Lang and Le Cirque national by Alexis Grusse. Today we no longer feel the identity of “circus”, because when we talk about the circus, it means everything and nothing.

And to define our family in this world, in this somewhat instrumental word… I often say that there are divisions, even the modern circus, even the traditional circus don’t work together at all. We see what happened in our land, I think it was in March or April, the Venetian circus came without permission.

I often compare it to the Conservatoire des arts équestres de la piste, or to what the Comédie Française is to the theatre.

When you have this circus image in people’s minds today, it’s impossible. Our identity is strong because of the horse, family and work, because we train horses, create shows, costumes.

Our company has created forty-eight different shows. I often compare it to the Conservatoire des arts équestres de la piste, or to what the Comédie Française is to the theatre. This is a place of creativity.

I don’t really like using the word “circus”, but it’s important to know where we come from in order to understand our current philosophy. And then the shape of the show we see on the Gruss track is actually a work presented by Philip Astley in 1768.

He was an English major who used the hippodrome to train horses and riders for the battlefields. After demobilization, he had the idea to arrange a performance in this amphitheater with horsemen and acrobats.

Family is very important in your company, but can your children choose a different path?

Certainly ! We have never been able to force them to do a job they don’t like. Our parents taught us our job and then they also made us study. For my brother, my sister and me, a little less than for the new generations, because we were in a period when it was a little more difficult, we did not have this stability.

The future of our profession was uncertain and there was a lot of work to be done. On the other hand, we had very good artists, because we were in such diverse and diverse disciplines that we reached a certain rare artistic level.

New generations, we make them go to school and at the same time learn a craft. And we try, first of all, to see for them the best possible future. The child who never wants to eat what’s on his plate must first learn to taste a little of everything and then speak his mind about what he likes or dislikes.

We are like that in life. This is how our parents raised us. There are also our natural predispositions. When you have all these values, you have a choice.

How is your work organized throughout the year?

We are six months in Paris, three months in Béziers for this second edition, and we settled in Vaucluse. Since 1994 we have had the Alexis Gruss park in Piolenza where we can leave our luggage.

We hosted audiences there, but within a few years we have new projects initiated by my father. This is the Pole of the equestrian cultural event Alexis Gruss. It will be the training and show center. This is where we transmit. The transmission of a gesture is especially important in our profession.

My father opened the first circus school in France in 1974. Today we understand that artists are always told to train and trainers to perform. But I don’t think we should mix things up. It’s like in life: first you go to school, and then you become an employee, an entrepreneur, and so on. We learn first and then we do.

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