Luis Torreão, artist and pedagogue in body mime, director of the company Hippocampe
Intimately linked to the great figure of the mime Etienne Decroux, his research spirit allows him to go ever further in the transmission.
Director, actor and teacher of body mime, Luis Torreão has been running the Compagnie Hippocampe and his school for twelve years.
Having come to art rather late, after a long university course that forged a mindset resolutely focused on reflection, Luis Torreão is interested in cinema. Then he enrolled in mime classes, almost by chance, coached by his friends of the time.
He trained with body mime in Paris and the United States thanks to the teaching of Thomas Leabhart, (disciple of the mime master Etienne Decroux) and became his assistant between 1997 and 2003. It is at his side that Luis Torreão rubs himself directly with experimentation, in a daily practice of body mime where transmission and research are omnipresent.
“In the context of body mime, it is a technique and a way of doing theatre,” says Luis Torreão. It is closely linked to the reference figure of Etienne Decroux and oral transmission is very important. But for the artist, we must not forget that we go on stage to make art, not to show a technique.
“Research in art is essential, it serves to not stagnate, to evolve the artistic. We start from the legacy to take it further. We tend to want to freeze transmission, that’s a mistake. Etienne Decroux himself never did the same thing twice.” details Luis Torreão. It is always the spirit of research that animates the artist. With this desire to learn still as present as at its beginnings, twenty years ago.
His research partners are intimately linked to his company Hippocampe and form a solid core around him, driven by the same desire for evolution of this still unknown artistic practice that is body mime. Like Jean-Marie Pradier, professor emeritus of the University of Paris 8 and who accompanied Luis' research master on ethno-scenology.
« Body movement is like music, there are many artistic currents,” says Torreão. He readily confides that the main difficulty remains the public’s lack of knowledge sometimes because the word “mime” can be scary. A daily battle he wags fervently.
Luis Torreão is currently working on putting online work modules around body mime. This sharing should make its research work accessible to all audiences.