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Faculty Profile: Patrick Suzeau, Dance

Friday, January 19, 2018


I was born in Germany from French parents. I have 3 nationalities: French, Canadian and American. I have been living in Lawrence for the past 28 years

Have you always been interested in dance?

I fell upon dance quite by accident at the age of 15 and I have been hooked ever since.

What made you want to pursue teaching?

Teaching was a way to survive while focusing on choreography and performances. But it so happens that I really enjoyed it, so I kept doing it.

What classes do you teach at KU?

I teach upper levels of ballet, East Indian classical dance, somatics, and choreography.

Do you have a style of dance you’re most drawn to?

I appreciate excellence, no matter what the style is.

What professional experiences and areas of expertise do you bring to the table?

As a certified movement analyst, I am often able to see clearly at a deep level what is really going on when people move. Also, I have been fortunate to train in several ballet styles (French, Russian, British, Balanchine) and techniques of the second generation (Graham, Humphrey) and third generation (Limon, Horton, Hawkins, Cunningham) of modern dancers, but I have also trained in "belly" dance, jazz, African dance and intensively in two styles of Indian classical dance. In addition, I have taken master classes or workshops in other dance forms (Manipuri, Kathak, Javanese, Balinese, Thai, Malay). All these experiences have enriched me. They certainly have given me a global perspective as an educator and creative artist.

What has been your proudest moment as a faculty member?

Whenever I witness breakthroughs in my students I am filled with delight. When I see their success once they graduate I am overjoyed.

How would you describe your creative process?

My process is always changing. Sometimes the theme/concept dictates the process. Sometimes the work is abstract. In that case, I am simply guided by the music. In addition to contemporary or ballet works, I also create works that are a synthesis of western and Indian classical dance. In these cases, I am careful that both elements are richly represented in a manner that would be well received by a western as well as an Indian audience.

What do you hope your students take away from your class?

My classes are a microcosm of the society I wish to inhabit, a place where excellence thrives but not through militaristic discipline, instead through intense focus and concentration simply because the activity itself is ecstatic. I am particularly focused on having students learn to move intrinsically, away from popular culture images and towards an authentic self.

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?

In the words of Joseph Campbell: follow your bliss. I would also advise to be wild but focused and to take chances.

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?

I love being in Lawrence but I need to travel as well. I often work in South Asia or South East Asia.