Born in Barcelona, Joan Clevillé is an independent choreographer based in Dundee (Scotland), and since 2015, Artistic Director of Joan Clevillé Dance(JCD). He has worked for seventeen years as a dancer, teacher and rehearsal director in companies across Europe, including Scottish Dance Theatre (2009-2013), Lost Dog, Dog Kennel Hill Project (London), the Ballet of the Graz Opera (Austria), the Choreographic Centre of Valencia, and Ballet Carmen Roche (Madrid) and has recently been appointed the Artistic Director of the Scottish Dance Theatre. With this exciting news, Joan spoke with The Fountain about this appointment and working in Scotland.
TF: You’ve just been appointed as new Artistic Director for Scottish Dance Theatre, you must be ecstatic?
YES! To be honest it hasn’t sunk-in yet… I danced with the company for four years, so it’s a dream to come back as Artistic Director and work with such talented and generous artists. For me, it’s a life-time opportunity and I feel that a lot of what I’ve done in the past years as an independent choreographer has been leading up to this moment.
TF: What inspired you to go for the role with SDT?
When the opportunity came up, there was no question I would try. This wasn’t just any dance company, it was Scottish Dance Theatre! A company so dear to my heart and with such an incredible history of artistic achievement and social commitment. I am excited by the sense of possibility and the potential of having a bigger impact in Dundee, Scotland and Beyond!
TF: And you are obviously not from Scotland, what was it about the dance and cultural scene in Scotland that lured you here?
It was Scottish Dance Theatre that brought me to Scotland ten years ago to work as a dancer with the company. I was fascinated by the artistic integrity and maturity that emanated from the company. When I left SDT in 2013, I realised that I had found my personal and artistic home. There is a strong sense of mutual support and solidarity amongst the Scottish dance and cultural community, which I found incredibly welcoming. The scene is less saturated than in some big cities, there is literally space to create and find your own voice as an artist, whilst at the same time there is a strong desire to connect with what is happening in other countries.
TF: Do you have any plans for how you approach the role in the coming months?
“Observe, listen, learn”. This is not about me but about the company, which has an incredibly dedicated team of artists, administrators and collaborators. I think it is also important to “stay with the practice”, especially in a role with such complex responsibilities. It’s much easier to inspire others and make the right decisions when you keep coming back to the body, your movement enquiry and your interests as an artist.
TF: Can we expect much from the Catalan style cross-fusing into Scottish dance in the near future?
Hmm… Not sure about that! But you can definitely expect a company with a strong sense of identity and open to the world around it!
Photo courtesy of Alan Richardson.