On the Couch with Romain Hassanin

Romain Hassanin AAR On the CouchWho is Romain Hassanin?
I am impatient. I hate traffic, that’s what I imagine purgatory would be, perpetual traffic while needing to pee. I feel like I lie on the fringe of several disciplines but I am above all else a mover. I am a dancer, a parkour practitioner, I’ve had my share of martial arts experience, I trained in pole dancing for a whole year so I could use poles in the street more creatively haha. I’ve trained in Capoeira, breakdance and contemporary dance. I like to ‘research’ movement based forms and take what I connect with or like from them and infiltrate them in my practice. At the moment I’m a bit obsessed with the popping, animation and waving practices of hip hop, so I’ve been going to popping classes and exploring that movement style in my own time. There really isn’t enough time in one lifetime to do it all.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would love to insert my current brain and mind and put it into the 16, 17 or 18 year old me. Don’t we all wish that? Sometimes I think I would turn back time and start ballet at the age of 6 but then I think I wouldn’t have had the journey I have had if I did. I would definitely like to have done acting classes, at one point I wanted to be an actor as a kid.

Who inspires you and why?
What I find most inspirational are those that have an unwavering respect and devotion to their form of practice, art or skill and are always putting in the work to understand their practice and progress or improve themselves. I find autodidacts very inspirational and fascinating, those that have become really good at something that sets them apart and are largely self-taught or have a very unique way of moving due to the research periods spent on developing their own methods.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think I would like to mentor at some stage in the future, mentoring those that don’t fall in the traditional styles or jobs, those that are trying to find their voice in something, for example someone wanting a career in Parkour, or those that excel at different styles of movement but don’t quite know where it fits in. I think making a difference in the circle around you is a step to making a difference in the world, because the world is a big place.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I have a thing for Tasmania. It’s just really beautiful and quiet. I lived there for a year and a half and had a great time and made some strong friendships and connections. The water is cold (damn), the beaches are beautiful and there are some good movers to connect with down there.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would show them around the normal spots around Melbourne, but then I would take them on a bridge climb on Southbank so they can see a different side of the city, a climb just scary enough to make you think hard about your impermanence, the side that is a unique experience to parkour. Then we would go somewhere to chat or do some moving in a park together. I would take them to see a dance or theatre show or maybe The Astor theatre on Chapel Street.

What are you currently reading?
Essays in Love by Alain De Botton.

What are you currently listening to?
A big range of styles. I love Mongolian throat singing, but I go from hard rock to hip hop, to atmospheric to movie soundtrack composers to electronic beat composers, to 80s rock. It depends on my mood I suppose and whether I want to be creating, just training, walking in the street or thinking about choreography.

Happiness is?
A beer after a long day. A whole day without any responsibilities. Dancing like no one is watching. Good food. The look of pure happiness on the faces of those close to you. The kind of laughing that makes you snort.

What does the future hold for you?
I have no idea. I am going to stay open to opportunities that come up. I will keep doing my thing, get in people’s faces. Work hard and up skill. I’m working on making and choreographing full length shows with a few different people. I hope to keep dancing and jumping until I’m grey and old.

Romain can be seen in My Sight – Their Sight at The Melba Spiegeltent: 11 – 14 October – which is presented as part of the 2018 Circus Oz Sidesault program. For more information, visit: www.themelbaspiegeltent.com.au for details.

Image: Romain Hassanin (supplied)