The French connection

The French connection


The French connection

“In each moment, I live a new life… Travel a thousand miles, from here and there to everywhere, discovering and rediscovering myself, a solitary journey through a dense forest, of ideas, emotions and thought...

“From France to India, from form to energy, from body and intellect to heart and soul… that is my song of life, the meaning of my journey from France to India. I love this vibrant country, so full of energy and beauty. India is home for me.”

Meet Gilles Chuyen (42), a multi-faceted personality. Born in South of France, Gilles has studied many dance forms such as folk, ballet, modern jazz and contemporary (training with Ramon Oller, Myrjam Berns and at Chateauvallon). His academic pursuit brought him to India, where he wrote a book about Indian culture (Who is a Brahmin?). He has been residing in Delhi since 1994.

Love for the north-east

“It all began as a journey for me as a student here. I gradually developed interest in creative fields and travelled all over this beautiful country to pursue my interests as a dancer. I am especially fond of the north-east and am truly impressed by the soul and heart experience and the warmth that I share with the talented natives there. The folklore that belongs to Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam has helped me a lot to develop my own creativity. When I was a little boy growing up in France, I wondered a lot about life and the serious questions that revolved around it. I read a lot and when I came to India, I found a lot of peace and happiness. I could easily connect to my emotions here. So, even though I visit France every year to meet my mom, India is home for me,” says Gilles.

In New Delhi, he trained in Chhau Mayurbhanj, a martial dance form from Orissa at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, under Shashidharan Nair, and in dance meditation at the Karmic Research Centre. He also worked with various classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi and Kathak. He has been working with children from varied  backgrounds — mainstream, street and mentally challenged — on numerous projects involving dance, theatre and music. A member of the guest faculty at the National School of Drama, New Delhi, Gilles has been combining Indian theatre and dance traditions with contemporary perspectives. He also has major choreographic pieces to his credit.

He has also been involved in many programmes related to theatre (in collaboration with Anuradha Kapoor, Amal Allana, Sonaila Kapoor and various other directors), fashion (projects with Joe Ikareth and Manish Arora), fine arts (Vivan Sundaram) and pure dance (numerous collaborations with classical Indian artistes such as Shovana Narayan and Navtej Johar), as a dancer actor, teacher and choreographer. He has also been associated with Bollywood as an actor and choreographer for films like Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi and Chintuji, advertisement campaigns, dance workshops and various stage productions including Bollywood Love Story, a musical directed by Sanjoy Roy.
He has performed all over India and in various parts of the world including Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Pakistan, South Africa, Russia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Israel, Colombia and Mexico.

Exploring dance

He is involved in healing and finding the deeper meaning of life through movement and yoga that he has been exploring for sometime now. He designed his own dance-yoga-fitness routines, flower yoga and salsaerobics.

For the last few years, he has been involved with programmes in the north-east in the form of artistic direction of a dance academy in Shillong and Guwahati, the setting up of Dance World, a dance academy dealing with jazz, ballet, hip-hop and Latino for people of all ages. He has also been involved in dance and awareness workshops in Nagaland (Chizami) through the North East Network, and as choreographer of Rainbow of Nature, a piece for zoo dancers and musicians from the north-east.

Gilles is also a member of the guest faculty at the Hope Centre for Excellence, Music & Arts since 2010. He is also a part of research on folk dances and folk stories from Nagaland and choreographer for events organised by the Government of Nagaland (Charity Ball & Official Fashion Show) at the Hornbill Festival, Kisama in 2010. He has been a performer of the musical, Origins, staged in Kisama for the Hornbill Festival, December 2011. Gilles is presently working on a documentary on Nagaland.

Well, this highly creative and talented artiste from France has adapted himself to India so well that it leaves no doubt that he belongs here.

On a lighter note, Gilles loves sarson ka saag and makkai ki roti, the spicy south Indian cuisine, and almost all paneer dishes. He is a fan of Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor and rates them as good dancers. Amongst the Indian heroines, he admires Madhuri Dixit for her dancing skills and her smile, of course. Presently, Gilles is busy with his numerous artistic ventures and performances.

We wish you all the best, Monsieur.