From a small mining town in northern England, in 1984, to the warm and promising California of 1959. From classical ballet, tights and spikes to rock and roll, slick hair and leather jackets (those of the band from the T-Birds, which are not just any). From an 11-year-old passionate about dance, who breaks prejudices and dreams of training at the Royal Ballet School, to a working-class student at the Rydell Institute, a good friend of Danny Zucco. From Billy Elliot, in the homonymous musical, to Roger, in Grease. And Pau Gimeno in both cases, at his current 17 years: shining. “I want to keep trying, improving and not stopping, because this is what I like,” reaffirms the young actor from Barcelona.
For two seasons, at just 13 years old, Pau Gimeno left his skin on the stage of the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid to give life to the character of Billy Elliot. It is currently being produced at the Teatre Victòria in Barcelona, which Pau continues to be the image on the billboard. Billy Elliot was his debut on the big stage. The adventure began in October 2017. “I was very nervous [risas], but it is true that, although the play lasted almost three hours, it passed me in 5 minutes. I have a very nice memory of that day ”, he remembers.
I want to keep trying, improving and not stopping, because this is what I like “
But the beginnings of Pau Gimeno, the ones that turned him into an actor and dancer without hardly realizing it, date back to his early 6 years, when he began to attend theater workshops at the Cercle de Gràcia in Barcelona, as his parents had also done. . Shortly afterwards, dance training also arrived at the IEA Oriol Martorell in Barcelona –where traditional subjects are joined by intensive and integrated learning of music and dance–, as had also been done by her sister. “My parents wanted me to dance and be in the art world like her. And the truth is that I liked it a lot from day one ”.
There he learned to dance classical, contemporary and Spanish, talents that he demonstrated in the casting of Billy Elliot. Of the 300 initial children who appeared, he was one of those chosen to play the protagonist, since there were six actors who took turns in the role. “The level that the character required was very high for our age and we had to work very hard. I am very grateful, because we all received a super good training ”. In the very school that the producer –SOM Produce– created to prepare its cast: the Billy Elliot School, under the baton of Víctor Ullate Roche.
An unstoppable career
Four years have passed and when Pau Gimeno looks back, only beautiful memories remain. “Without a doubt, thanks to Billy Elliot, my interest in the scenic world grew a lot. Also the friendships, because we made a very good pineapple, both the Billys, the Michaels and some of the girls. The training we receive is also going to stay with me forever… Like David Serrano [el director] He taught us interpretation, how he directed us, the different teachers we had … I remember everything very beautifully. From Billy Elliot, I realized that being an actor could be a possibility in my life, because I liked it a lot. ” And so it has been.
The young actor has just inaugurated a new professional stage with Grease, The Musical, the next step in his promising career. It was on October 2, at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid, where a special edition celebrating its 50th anniversary was staged. Pau Gimeno repeats with Billy Elliot’s creative team, including David Serrano in directing and adapting the montage.
“Above all, Grease is fun. Unlike Billy Elliot, where the Billys were practically acting alone, because the character required it, in this musical we are with friends all the time, and the characters are much more fun and hooligan. Each function we do is a total enjoyment, apart from the fact that we have formed a pineapple, we are very friends and that, in the end, helps a lot when it comes to work: you understand each other ”.
In the super production, Pau Gimeno is Roger, one of the friends of the male lead, Danny Zucco. “He is like the one who always laughs at everyone. He is not a bad person, but he is always joking around, making jokes and he ignores everything ”, he describes him. The biggest challenge of this musical? “The style of dance. We went from ballet, which I had done most of my life, to rock, which I had never done. And rock as a couple, who had not danced either. It was the hardest thing for me, but once I worked it, I’m really enjoying it ”.
We went from ballet, which I had done most of my life, to rock, which I had never done “
Created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, Grease, The Musical was premiered in Chicago in 1971, so the show celebrates its half century of life in 2021. It has been performed with enormous success in all corners of the world and in a multitude of languages. And its film adaptation is one of the highest-grossing musical films in history.
A lot of young talent
The musical is made possible by a young cast of actors and actresses who confirm that there is talent in Spain, and a lot. “There is much more than meets the eye, obviously. Luckily, production companies like SOM are giving young people the opportunity to work. There are many young people with a lot of talent who cannot do it until they are older and, in the end, we are wasting talent that we can all enjoy ”, he laments. The SOM Academy is the first school specialized in musicals in Spain, where all the performers of its productions receive support for their artistic training from the best professionals.
And from stage to television. Pau Gimeno has pending the premiere of the second season of the fantasy series Paraíso en Movistar +, of which he is the main protagonist. Interpretive work before the camera has nothing to do with acting, singing and dancing in a musical. Any preference? “I am open to everything. Being so young, she shouldn’t have preferences. I think the important thing now is to try until I am older or an expert, that I do not know if I will be, and I can decide. But now is the time to reject absolutely nothing, “he says convincingly.
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From Billy Elliot to the gang in Grease: the incredible change of Barcelona’s Pau Gimeno