Interview with Giuseppe Bausilio
Giuseppe Bausilio is famously known as a former Billy lead on the musical, Billy Elliot on Broadway. Currently he is learning Utai, a Noh chanting recitation, and Komai, a dancing part of Kyogen, under a Noh master, Kansuke. As a famous artist, as a teenager boy, what kind of person is he? We asked about his future, and up-coming concert on February 26th, as well as his special interest toward Japan.
– When did you start going in to your career as an artist?
My mother and father were both dancers and my brother is also. My whole family except for my sister was dancers, so it was natural for me to be a dancer as well. I took it seriously and started dancing when I was eight years old. When I was at the final of a ballet competition, Youth America Grandpre, in New York City, I had my first chance to play a role of Billy Elliot, which I acted for two years.
–Please let us know about a role of Billy Elliot and what you got from it.
For the very first time I acted as a Billy Elliot, I was broke down and crying in the dressing room because I was scared to go on a stage as Billy. But once I started acting on the stage that was really fun. I was a totally different creature when I acted as Billy. When I got nervous, I called my mother for the first two or three months, and she was a very great mother to cheer me up.
Every single show was so memorable and different from each other, so it is hard to pick the most memorable thing. But one thing I remember the most dramatically is that I loved flying since I was a little boy. Probably my favorite part of the show was the very first and the very end when I was coming out of the stage door and when bowed to the standing ovation. Those were the most amazing moments of the show. Directors and other stuff did amazing jobs on each stage, and without their great jobs, I was not able to act a role of Billy so naturally and make the audience feel as if they were a part of the stage, as if he/she were Billy. Even after “Billy Elliot” was over, that made not much difference for me. I kept myself busy with ballet and other acting or singing classes. Therefore I didn’t have much time to look back on, and I was ready to the next stages.
– How do you think about Japanese culture?
I first met Kansuke-san (a Noh and Kyogen master) at the presentation of the movie, “Finding Billy.” Right after he mentioned about Japanese culture, he caught my attention immediately, because I was interested in Japanese culture since I was little. Like other kids, I always wanted to be a Ninja or Samurai. I saw the movie, “The Last Samurai,” and it just blew my mind right away. I got interested in Kyogen, because of Kensuke-san, so I went to the lesson next day. I found it very interesting because it was so simple, clean, and delicate. And also wearing Kimono made me feel so powerful and strong, even though I don’t know why. It makes me feel my present: “I am here.” Just like other kinds of dance, it is also very important for Japanese traditional dance to stand up straight from the core. So I like the Hakama, because it has a little wooden piece on the back which presses and makes your back nice and straight. As I take each lesson, I felt more knowledgeable because I got more and more interested in Japanese culture, and learnt some Japanese words.
The last summer I visited Japan. It was ten times cleaner than Switzerland, but very big and modern like New York. It was incredibly clean and that surprised me so much. At the subway stations and other places, there clean-up guys with little brooms, and sweeping the floor to clean up the footprints. In New York City, anyone would never do that. Also I met many Japanese young people, and it was really fun even though I couldn’t understand that much what they were saying. Sometimes I understood some words, and every time I did, I was jumped up and said, “I understood it!” Before I went to Japan, I was in my imaginary world of Japan, but even when I actually visited there, Japan which I expected was right there, except food was better than I imagined. I like Katsudon a lot, and of course I like Sushi and Sashimi.
–How would you like to take a next step as who you are?
I always believe that I should learn as much as I can from everything. For example, now I speak seven languages, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Swiss/German, and now Japanese is about to be my eighth. I am learning Chinese too. Who thought a boy from Bern, a little town of Switzerland speaks seven languages, now in Broadway, learnt all these things? So I just think I should learn as much as I can, for the future, because you never know you have to be in movies, or something else. Also I learnt different manners in Japan and every different country. I guess I am different, because someday I’m very focused, and right there, but someday, I’m little lazy, just like other teenagers. But I try to listen to my family, and they help me for anything.
– Please let us know about the rest of your family, except for ones you mentioned before.
Each of my family members is really close to each other and I think they love me a lot. Especially I love my dogs. I cannot stay away from them. The first one, his name is Billy. He was a stray-dog on the street. And he was at an animal shelter when he was six month old. He is definitely a big part of my life and also a member of my family. The second one is Fina. I’m with her since I was very little, so I’m very attached to her. About my grandmother, she is such hardworking person. Now she still is, even though she is old.
– What kind of message would you like to give to the younger generation who comes to the states?
My regular day is like, I wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, do some school work, go to ballet, take a hip-hop class, tap-dance class, acrobatic class, and in the evening, do some more school work, watch TV and go to bed. I practice ballet four to five hours, sometimes six hours a day, sometimes more. But usually my day doesn’t stay consistent like that. Sometimes you have party here, and other times you have to go somewhere here. Each day is really fun to me.
– How does your future look like in five years, and in ten years?
In five years, I’m going to be twenty. Tom Cruise was in his first movie when he was twenty one. So I hope I reach to Hollywood by then. In ten years, I would definitely like to get a couple of awards. Of course, just like other artists, I would like to be famous worldwide, including Japan. You want to be famous, you want to do something. These are natural things.
– Please tell us about the upcoming concert.
This concert on February 26th is dedicated to the Hurricane Sandy and Tsunami in Japan. I remember Kansuke-san told me that when he came to New York, he was so surprised that everybody was so caring about Tsunami in Japan, so he wanted to give it back and he got bunch of amazing artists together to get into this concert. I’m going to perform Utai, a Noh chanting recitation, and Komai, a dancing part of Kyogen.
Giuseppe Bausilio, an actor, dancer, singer, was born in Bern, Switzerland. He is best known for his role as “Billy” in the Broadway, Chicago, and National Tour productions of Billy Elliot the Musical. Surrounded by dancers in his family, his career as an artist first began in performing operas and ballets mainly at the Bern Theatre in his hometown, Bern, Switzerland. He was discovered in a Ballet competition the YAGP and come to the U.S. as “Billy” in Broadway show. Even after he got so many awards like Gold and Silver Bronze medals in Ballet and Jazz competition since 2006, he never stop improving and always open up himself to new things. Also he plays an active part in Films and some special TV shows. He also shows amazing improvement in his new areas, Noh and Kyogen, which he just started an year ago.