Happiness in the dance room

Photos: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Student portrait Gion Treichler

Contemporary Dance student Gion Treichler trains eight hours a day, five or six days a week. Dancing means pure happiness to him. His programme is teaching him not only new choreographies but also how to surpass himself.


Lea Ingber: Why did you decide to do a Bachelor’s in Contemporary Dance?
Gion Treichler: The programme offers me the best possible preparation to become a professional stage dancer. Our daily routine closely resembles what happens in a real dance company: we have technique classes in the mornings and rehearsals in the afternoons. This gets us used to our long days. Besides, there is only one class a year at ZHdK. This means that people know each other and coursework is tailored to students’ needs. For example, we can book individual lessons with instructors. I really appreciate this, and it also helps me to constantly develop.

What new things have you learned?
I come from ballet and have gone through Zurich Dance Academy (taZ) and the ballet school at Zurich Opera House. Now I have more Contemporary classes and am learning new techniques. We have many guest teachers, who introduce new facets and techniques. So as students we need to keep adjusting. This has developed me enormously. Initially, for instance, I struggled with acrobatic elements. Overall, my course has given me more courage to experiment. I am also much more self-confident.

What does dancing mean for you?
Great happiness and immense freedom. Dancing allows me to express myself. I can forget everything else. Even if I am exhausted and have sore muscles: as soon as I am allowed into a dance studio, the music enraptures me. I am always happy in a dance studio.

As a male dancer, you are often outnumbered, aren’t you?
In the professional world, there are about the same number of male and female dancers. But especially at a young age you are often alone as a boy, which is a shame. But it’s really a cliché that boys don’t like to dance. Nevertheless, they are sometimes less encouraged by their surroundings or do not dare to dance. It would be nice if more boys discovered the passion for dancing.

What project are you working on at the moment?
One of the highlights of our second year is the auditions. In preparing for our transition to the professional world, we imagine dance companies where we would like to do an internship in our third year. Usually, we travel to companies or the directors come to us. But because of the corona situation, everything is uncertain now. ZHdK enables us to record a professional application video containing ballet and contemporary exercises and a solo.

What are your plans after you graduate?
I definitely want to work in a dance company, somewhere out in the world.

Who or what deserves a renaissance?
I would like to see more ballroom dancing in clubs. And people could write more letters. I, for example, like sending postcards at the moment.

Further student portraits published in Zett
Lea Ingber (lea.ingber@zhdk.ch)  is a project manager at ZHdK University Communications.
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