Mathieu Di Scala

Born: 1989, Toulouse (France)
Education: Rudra Béjart School, Lausanne
Experience: Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Lausanne; Europa Danse, Rennes; Ballet du Capitol, Toulouse; Introdans (since August 2010)

There aren’t many dancers who arrive at an audition with a police escort, but Mathieu Di Scala has done it. Thanks to his nervous father who got lost in Lausanne, drove through two red lights and finally came to an agreement with the policemen who stopped him – together with his even more nervous son who had to get to an audition on time at the Rudra Béjart School. “My entrance was just crazy, with one police car in front of us and another behind us! Who in heaven’s name is this, everyone was thinking.”

Born a dancer

So looking cool on the outside but feeling pretty stressed on the inside, sixteen-year-old Mathieu did his audition. He was accepted. “But I had a very difficult time during the two years that I took tuition at Béjart. The school is really strict.” Not that Mathieu wasn’t used to discipline. “Even at a very early age, I knew that if I wanted be a dancer I would have to work harder than other people.” Remarkably, he never came to a conscious decision about his career. “No, I was born a dancer! As a child I just couldn’t sit still. I was always jumping and running, through the woods and the maize fields around our house.”

Mathieu originally comes from Toulouse in France and he owes his surname to his Sicilian ancestors. He spent the first years of his life growing up in a hospital. “My mother worked there, so that’s why. Not because I was ill. My twin brother Sebastien and I often played with the patients. I always tended to hang back, while he didn’t. I only loosened up once I had a better sense of who someone was. I didn’t judge, I just looked.”

Enjoy the stage

He has never fully shaken off this shyness – because that’s what it is. “Apart from when I’m on stage. These are moments I enjoy very intensively, and which give me lots of energy. I get it from the light, the costumes, the music. It’s not that I’m really unsure of myself. My mother brought up Sebastien and me as independent-minded people. We stand by who we are and what we do. It’s just that I’m maybe a little more sensitive than my brother. By nature we’re both susceptible to stress. Funnily enough, my family often asks me for advice nowadays. Dancing has taught me to focus and to structure, which are fairly rare qualities in our family. Now my parents and my brother are happy to benefit from this.”

Fascinated by Introdans on YouTube

Before moving to Switzerland, Mathieu studied at the Conservatoire de danse de Toulouse and at VM Ballet directed by Matthew Madsen en Vinciane Ghyssens. “They’ve been very determining for my professional development by extending their umbrella over me en teaching me technique, quality, musicality and more important the ethic of work. They really made me who I am today.” After two years he moved on to Béjart, which he once again left after two years because of an offer from a Swiss dance company. He first saw Introdans on YouTube, was immediately fascinated and decided to do an audition. “I was accepted and I just went for it, shy or not. The full works: moving to the Netherlands, learning English. And then learning a whole lot more as a dancer. It’s a process that never stops. I have a classical background but I’m not a typical classical dancer. My challenges are flexibility and to jump higher and higher.”

Highly talented photographer

Mathieu believes in karma. “You get what you give.” And that the best is still to come. In this respect things promise to be interesting after his dance career, too, although he isn’t spending that much time on it right now. You see, he is also a highly talented photographer. “Photography is something that really suits me. It’s another way of saying a lot without using words, just like dancing. Ideal for people like me, who prefer to look – in this case through a lens – than to talk. I’m good at it. Especially at capturing ‘the moment’ and things that you don’t notice at first glance.”

Artistic expression

In general terms too, artistic expression plays an important role in his life. He makes collages in his Moleskine notebook “to structure my impressions of all the beautiful things I see.” He keeps up with blogs, music and documentaries on the internet, created by people who demonstrate their own powers of expression. Every year he attends the Amsterdam International Fashion Week and the ArtEZ finals. To photograph, but also simply to be there. “I think it’s wonderful to be ‘amidst artists’. So inspiring!”