So far 400,000 people in 31 countries have watched the unique fusion of breakdance and classical music. After the Flying Steps' latest show „Red Bull Flying Illusion" – which combines magical breakdance with mind-blowing illusions – had won over Germany's biggest arenas in 2014, Red Bull Flying Bach also returned to Germany in 2015. Only shortly after it went on tour around the world again. In an interview Vartan Bassil speaks about how proud he is of the success of Red Bull Flying Bach and about his personal highlights of the world tour.
Was this project your first experience working with classical music?
"I had the idea to fuse breakdance with classical music for quite a while. Back when my mother-in-law would take me to classical performances, I thought they were incredibly boring. You'd just sit and listen to the music. Nothing happened on stage. Then I realized it's possible to breakdance to what I was hearing. I thought it would be great to replace a twirling ballerina doing pirouettes with someone doing headspins. At first, everyone thought I was crazy. But when I brought the idea to my long-time partners at Red Bull, they were like 'Sounds good! How can we help make this happen?' From then on, the project began to take shape."
Red Bull Flying Bach tells the story of a classically trained dancer meeting a breakdance crew. At what point did you come up with the idea for this?
"Actually, it happened when Christoph Hagel and I were listening to the Well-Tempered Clavier and he asked me what emotions I could discern from the music. There were all kinds – sadness, joy, infatuation. I asked myself: how can we convey these to the audience? It wasn't enough to just embody the melody. I wanted to use Bach's music to tell a story of two worlds brought together by conflict: contemporary and break dance."
The show followed up its 2010 premiere in Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie with very successful tours of Germany, Europe, and the World. What were the highlights?
"Man, there were a lot! The premier in Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie was a one-of-a-kind experience, of course. Up to that point, we weren't sure how the audience was going to react. Those standing ovations at the end of each performance were a big relief. And winning the ECHO Klassik award took everything to a completely different level. But the shows at Vienna's Burgtheater on our European tour were extremely special. A breakdance show in those sacred halls – no one thought that would be possible! Our shows in my homeland of Lebanon were emotional highlights for me personally. And then in 2014 we debuted in the birthplace of breakdancing, the USA! Having six sold out shows in Chicago was an unbelievable feeling. A German breakdance crew performing to classical music in the US – and everyone was into it! That was insane."
The Interview was taken from the booklet of Red Bull Flying Bach.