In summer 2017, we invited Pew Fellow and choreographer/dancer Tania Isaac (2011) to sit down for an extended interview with Pew Fellow Hellmut Gottschild (1992), a seminal figure in Philadelphia dance. In the excerpts that follow, Gottschild describes his evolution as a dancer, how aging has affected his movement language, and the relationship of teaching to his artistic life.
Gottschild cofounded the contemporary dance company Group Motion in Berlin with Brigitta Herrmann and Katharina Sehnert, and continued to work with the company after moving to Philadelphia in 1968. In 1972, he founded Zero Moving Dance Company, which performed throughout the US and Europe. He served as a distinguished member of the dance department at Temple University for nearly three decades.
On becoming a dancer: Gottschild describes his journey to becoming a dancer and choreographer, recalling that it was a gradual process that grew out of not knowing “any other place to run to.”
Choreographer and Pew Fellow Hellmut Gottschild on becoming a dancer. Filmed on July 8, 2017.
On making dance: “There can be truth, there can be wisdom, in the movement itself. I like to find the world inside the movement.”
Choreographer and Pew Fellow Hellmut Gottschild on making dance. Filmed on July 8, 2017.
On the effects of age: “I had to go into greater depth with what I still could do, and wanted to do…I didn’t make work on a body; I made work with a body.”
Choreographer and Pew Fellow Hellmut Gottschild on the effects of age. Filmed on July 8, 2017.
On teaching: “I could not just separate the theory of teaching from the doing…It’s only working if I live it at the same time.”
Choreographer and Pew Fellow Hellmut Gottschild on teaching. Filmed on July 8, 2017.