Pau Aran Gimeno
was born in Barcelona in Spain in 1981 and grew up in a small village. He discovered dance at the age of twelve, when he was asked to join the local dance school to learn ballroom dancing. He soon trained in many different styles, including Latin, Standard, jazz, modern dance and “a little bit of classical ballet”, as he recalls. While still in school, he and his partner competed, dancing their way to the European and even the World Championships. At the age of 17 he started ballet training, realising that he wanted to pursue dance as an art form rather than a sport.
After finishing school, he took dance classes in Barcelona and after four years went to Madrid to study at the Conservatoire there. He first saw performances by the Tanztheater Wuppertal in the Spanish capital and in Barcelona. Shortly afterwards, he took part in a workshop led by Nazareth Panadero. When he met Malou Airaudo, she asked him to come to the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. He applied and, after an audition in 2005, was accepted directly into the third-year class. There, he heard about an audition for Pina Bausch. He thought, “I have nothing to lose”, and applied. He started his studies in Essen but moved to Wuppertal to join the Tanztheater in 2006. “It was the right decision for me”, he says today, even though he never completed his Bachelor degree in dance, which he would have needed in order to teach.
In the ensemble, he started by learning roles in older pieces. He danced The Rite of Spring at a performance in Brussels and Keuschheitslegende (Legend of Chastity) in Wuppertal in 2006. The 2007 piece Bamboo Blues was his first new creation with Pina Bausch. He says, “I had four years with Pina.” It was a time of great intensity, and he is grateful for it. He compares it to being put on a bike, given a push, and then left to ride on his own. “I turned around, but there was nobody there anymore.” As well as dancing in new pieces, Pau Aran Gimeno also took over roles from other dancers, including Dominique Mercy. “I was so hungry, and Pina saw it and nourished me”, he says, looking back. He immediately found his place in the company. The pieces’ vitality, their everydayness fascinated him.
Today, he not only wants to dance but also pass on what he has learnt, working as a teacher and choreographer. He presented his first work at the Schauspielhaus during Underground 2019.