What is your feeling at that precise moment when you are high up on the pole defying gravity?
The funny thing is that I’m scared of heights. But when I’m performing, with the lights, the music I feel free, and it feels so good to be able to share my art with the public.
When did you start Chinese pole dancing and how did you identify it as your calling?
I’ve started pole back in 2005 and I had 4 years of intense training in an established school of circus in Brussels called ESAC. It was really hard at the beginning but later I learnt how to tame the form.
Does one need to have a dance or sports background to start on Chinese pole act?
To do an act of pole or any kind of performing arts you need a bit of sport or dance background or movement understanding.
Do you choreograph your routines? What is your inspiration to create?
Yes, I choreograph my pieces, I have so many inspirations that I have collected over the years. Personally, I don’t like when it’s just acrobatics on a pole. I tend to make it more fluid and link the floor moves and the pole moves to create more like an acrobatic dance piece. I love contemporary dance, break dancing in particular.
What is your usual training regime/schedule, that keeps you at your best?
I don’t have a specific regime, but I go to the gym to do some muscles preparation and conditioning to keep up. I feel that the main thing is to be happy and enjoy every time I jump on stage.
Would you encourage people of all ages and skill levels to try this art form?
I would certainly encourage people, but we need to know that it’s hard work and to be able to work with professional companies you really need to train hard and never give up.
Are we seeing more women joining in this art form?
Yes, women Chinese pole performers are increasing in number. I personally like their flow and flexibility in this art form. Visually powerful and beautiful!
What is the key to success as a Chinese pole artist?
The key to success is really to have your unique style, your own way to move and hard work!
You have travelled across the world with your performances. What is your experience of presenting to a culturally diverse audience?
In every country I’ve performed, the audiences have been super focussed, doesn’t matter the ethnicities. What I love is, they are all welcoming despite cultural differences. Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and many others – it’s just so amazing to be a citizen of the world and share life and passion!
Interview by Abundant Art
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Mikael Bres graduated from school in Avignon, in the South of France, with a major in literature and art. He attended ESAC Home – École Supérieure des Arts du Cirque (esac.be) – the college of circus arts in Belgium and learnt to master the Chinese Pole as well as acrobatics, dance and theatre. Since leaving, Mikael has travelled the world with circus companies including Circle of Eleven and Cirque Du Soleil and has worked with Underbelly on Limbo and Limbo Unhinged. Throughout his travels he has also taught himself to sing, beat box and play guitar and saxophone.
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