Dan Gutman, Acting in English Teacher in Paris
- Can you tell us about your professional background before starting to teach in the Acting in English Department at Cours Florent in Paris?
I have been professionally active for almost 15 years! Through those years I have explored many different aspects of my job: from classical theater to very contemporary one, from street theatre to more intimate work, on stage, or in front of a camera, both in English and French. For the last 10 years I have also been writing, directing (and also acting in!) shows for children, which I’ve always found to be a fantastic audience.
- What inspired you to teach at Cours Florent?
Probably the memories I have from my own acting teachers. They all taught me a lot, and most of all they helped me understand that I had not chosen this path by chance. So I obviously felt a certain responsibility to pass this on myself.
One of the first things Isabelle Duperray told me when we met was that she always wanted the teachers on her team to feel free to teach the theatre they knew best, using the tools and methods they were comfortable with. I felt that the freedom she was offering was a fantastic opportunity, and still feel the same way after a few years of teaching.
- What do you in particular work on with your students?
The basics of acting: how you can use your body to tell a story; what it means in terms of energy, use of space, etc. to be on stage; how we act and interact with our partners on stage and with the audience.
I try to help my students trust their instinct as actors and make clear acting propositions… but also to feed this instinct with a precise understanding of the scene and situation they are performing through a thorough work of text analysis.
- What would be your advice for a future student at Cours Florent?
I’d quote John Cage who wrote a few Rules for Students and Teachers:
“Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
The only rule is work. Always be around. Come or go to everything.
Always go to classes. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully and often.
SAVE EVERYTHING. It may come in handy later.”