Marco Gerris (Netherlands)

Director and Artistic Leader, ISH Dance Collective

Marco is the director and artistic leader of the ISH Dance Collective. And actually a lot more than that. He never wants to choose just one thing, you see. This son of the Philippines grew up in Belgium and shuttled back and forth between gymnastics and violin lessons, only to later choose judo and the saxophone. After finishing secondary school, too, it was hard for this energetic, creative person to stay put. He studied in Antwerp at Studio Herman Teirlinck, the Higher Institute for Dance and Open Living Theater but didn’t really feel at home anywhere.

In the late ’90s he fell in love with Amsterdam, where he threw himself into dancing, skating and acting. He was named the Netherlands Champion of Freestyle Skating and performed in various productions, including the musical ‘Eindeloos’ and shows by the dance company AYA. Besides that he was often to be found in the Vondelpark, where he made contacts and became friends with skaters, dancers and actors. In 2000, his new network inspired him to make his first production, ISH. He took the name from the suffix ‘ish’, which means ‘something you can’t define precisely because it’s both one thing and another’.

In the decades that followed, ISH’s star has kept rising, with several multidisciplinary productions that appeal on a broad audience coming out every year. The flame is also passed on to the next generations through workshops and residencies. In these educational projects in the Netherlands and abroad, ISH supervises young people while they make their own productions.

In addition to his activities as a performer and artistic director at ISH, Marco is active in various other areas of the creative field. For instance, director Wilko Bello made a documentary about him, ‘Wheels of Fortune’, which was broadcast on NPS and awarded at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Marco has played acting roles in the AT5 soap ‘Westside’, the television film ‘Vrijdag de 14de: Wake-Up Call’ and the film ‘Down’. He also had the leading role in Ruth Meyer’s dance film ‘Equilibrium’. In 2000, Marco was nominated for the NPS Cultural Award and in 2009 for Amsterdammer of the Year, where the jury praised him for his exemplary contribution to the arts in Amsterdam.

More on Marco’s masterclass here