Interview with Gabriele Bruschi – English Version
Gabriele Bruschi is an Italian musical performer who found his way to the musical stage through professional dance training. Through several productions in his home country and international tours, he joined the first cast of the European premiere of the musical Aladdin in Hamburg in 2015, where he has since found his family and his center of life. We were able to ask Gabriele a few questions and get to know him a little better, both professionally and privately.
At the age of 16 you started your professional training as a dancer at the “Teatro dell’Opera di Roma” in Rome. Was dancing already your hobby in childhood?
I actually started studying dance when I was 8 in my hometown in Sicily, but my mom told me that even as a little baby whenever there was music playing I would start shaking in my crib. So I guess it was already there from the start.
Was there a key experience that made dancing your career choice?
Not really. I have always loved dancing, but when I finished my professional training I didn’t know if I would be able to survive as a dancer, especially in Italy where there is not much work and artistic jobs are poorly paid. Nevertheless, I never stopped trying and show after show I made it to today. Obviously I also had to develop other talents such as singing and acting so as to become a complete musical performer.
What does a dance education look like? Is it all about dancing, or are there other “side subjects”?
The opera in Rome, where I studied, is a ballet academy. We also had a few contemporary dance classes, but nothing more. In fact, they were very opposed to the possibility of studying other styles.
After various ballet productions and even an international tour as a solo dancer, you took the path towards musicals. What were your reasons for this?
While I was studying at the Opera in Rome, every now and then musicals were produced as matinee shows for schoolchildren and so I discovered the musical world and fell in love with it. When I finished my training I continued to alternate dance shows with musicals and slowly I switched completely to musicals.
Already in your home country you did some musicals, followed by a three-year world tour with “Peter Pan – the neverending Story.” After that, what made you changing again into a long run and into the first cast of Aladdin in Germany?
After the tour with “Peter Pan” I had already decided to leave Italy and move to some other country where there were more job opportunities for performers, but I had never thought about Germany because at the time I honestly didn’t know anything about Germany. Then I saw that Stage Entertainment Germany was organizing auditions for Aladdin in Italy. Initially I couldn’t go to the audition, but for a strange combination of events in the end I was able to go. I knew almost nothing about the show or how long the contract would last, but I felt that the time had come for a big change in my life.
How was your start in Germany? Was it difficult to suddenly have to speak, sing and understand another language?
Funny enough, the first time I set foot in Hamburg, I felt at home. I don’t know precisely why, but right away I had the feeling that I had finally arrived where I belong. Of course the language was, and still is a bit, the biggest problem. I still remember the first day of music rehearsals. At the end of the day my Italian colleagues and I were completely overwhelmed and quite depressed. But fortunately the team was very understanding and helped us helped us along the way.
Were the experiences you gained in the Italian musical productions and the big tour helpful here in Germany, or did you have to start more or less ‘from scratch’?
I think every experience can help in the future. In my career I have studied and worked in so many different fields: dance, musical, architecture, photography, stage design, circus… I also worked for many years as a gogo dancer in discos! Everything I’ve done and learned always comes in handy. I think that only at the moment of birth you start “from scratch”.
Your CV is full of productions in which you were always able to slip into the most diverse roles. Sometimes in the ensemble, sometimes as a stilt dancer or even as the cover of a main character – which play has grown particularly close to your heart and why?
I always find something to love in every job I’ve done. Certainly “Aladdin” represented a pivotal moment in my life. Everything changed from the beginning of that production: I left my country for good, became a full-time musical performer, graduated in architecture, met my future husband. Overall, my life is divided into pre-Aladdin and post-Aladdin. I’m also already very fond of “Wicked”. I love the music and story of this show and the cast is truly exceptional. We are a really tight-knit group and the atmosphere in the theater is great. It’s really a pleasure to go to work every day.
Right now you’re playing in the ensemble or as a cover Moq in Wicked – what does this play and role mean to you?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Wicked. The music is just gorgeous and the dialogue is extremely cleverly written. Even though the show is almost 20 years old and the story is set in a fantasy world, the themes and characters are extremely current. Alongside the narration of the characters’ adventures there is a heated critique of the social and political mechanisms of the contemporary world. I particularly love the role of Moq because he is constantly changing during the show: at the beginning he is a shy, clumsy boy in love, then he becomes a slave who has lost all hope and in the end a heartless man who only wants revenge. It is very challenging to show the evolution of this character in such a short time, but also extremely interesting. Fortunately I am surrounded by great performers so we can help each other tell the story.
You’re multi-talented – dancer and performer, now newly choreographing and assistant directing, but you’re also already creating your own style as a photographer and music video producer. Where do you think your path will lead you in the future?
I have always loved learning new things and experimenting between different fields. The problem is always finding the time to do it all. My path with photography and videography is still in its infancy, but I would love to expand in that direction as well. In 2023 I will have my first engagement as a choreographer for an opera at the Dortmund Theatre. I am very excited and scared at the same time. In general, especially in unpredictable times like these, I always try to stay very open and flexible to life’s possibilities. I don’t know exactly the direction of my path, but I try to enjoy every step of the way.
Today you have your centre of life in Hamburg. Do you miss your home country or has Germany become your new home?
I’m glad I was born and raised in Italy and I miss my friends and family there, but I’m also extremely happy living in Hamburg. I have built a stable base in Germany and at this time in my life I would like to stay here.
What is important to you personally in life, what would you not want to do without?
I have always thought that the main goal in life is happiness and for me happiness is not found in one thing, but in the balance of different factors. Some of the things that contribute to my personal happiness are: building sincere and solid personal relationships, expressing my creative potential, taking care of my body and soul, loving and being loved, learning and discovering new things… Of course, there is not always time for everything, but I try to keep myself in balance.
What kind of person is Gabriele Bruschi – give us three adjectives that aptly describe you.
Ok, that’s hard… Curious, hopeful, slightly neurotic.
Do you have a life motto (quote, song line, saying) that paves the way for you even in critical situations and motivates and drives you forward again and again?
“Live each day as if it were your last; one of them will be.” I know it sounds quite creepy, but it is actually true and it motivates me to enjoy every moment of my life.
Thank you Gabriele for taking the time.
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