STAGE DIRECTOR - STUNT CHOREOGRAPHER - ACTOR
I CREATE TRANSCENDENT MOMENTS...
As a celebrity judge on both the hit French talent show, TF1's "The Best" ("Le Meilleur Artiste"), and the new British celebrity gymnastics series, BBC's "Tumble," Sebastien Stella has amply demonstrated what a keen evaluator of talent he is. That is not at all surprising, considering how many remarkable skills he himself has shown off in his amazing career – in theater and film and videos, in Hollywood and Las Vegas and throughout Europe.
If you've seen pop superstar P!nk dangling from a trapeze on the MTV Video Music Awards singing "Sober" – or are one of the 300 million YouTube users who watched her video for "Try" – you've seen Stella's work. He created Pink's aerial choreography and was her flying partner, and also devised physical moves for Britney Spears for her "Femme Fatale" tour.
If you've seen Reese Witherspoon performing with circus animals and acrobats in the film "Water for Elephants," you're familiar with the Stella touch. He worked closely with director Francis Lawrence to make those scenes natural and authentic. Seb and his wife and longtime performing partner Katia Sereno played members of a circus family.
Stella also created and supervised the circus choreography for "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer," based on the popular children's novels and starring Heather Graham, and the carnival choreography and creative concept for Disney's "Oz The Great And Powerful," directed by Sam Raimi.
And there's so much more the handsome Frenchman has done that has drawn big thumbs up from audiences, ranging from his performances with Cirque du Soleil to his original creations for "Cher at the Colosseum" video to the acts he devised for NBC's "Celebrity Circus." Whenever eye-catching movements or stylish choreographic designs or are called for, he is on the "A" list of go-to artists, as a creative force and as a performer.
As those who have experienced his work know, Sebastien Stella is, quite simply, "The Best" at what he does.
Stella grew up in Paris working class suburb. He first became involved with gymnastics as a boy. "I was always more interested in movement than competition," he says. While attending circus school in France, he developed a passion for circus arts. He studied movement wherever he could find it: classical ballet, mime, modern dance, the films of Harold Lloyd, Gene Kelly, Charles Chaplin and Jackie Chan.
Ultimately, he attained a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a level A in KAPAP Krav Maga and trained in Muay Thai under Thai-American martial artist Master Toddy.
He also was schooled in the first generation of parkour, the "free-running," leaping and bounding urban art with its founders.
His vision is to combine all of those influences into a fluid, effortless – and, above all, entertaining – style. "I don't only match movement to music," he says. "I direct the person into movement. It has to make sense to them. I have to be open to who the performers are, and be able to match what I'm doing to who they are."
His first professional success was as an original cast member of "Notre Dame De Paris," a hugely successful musical based on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Four months after its boffo opening in Paris, he became assistant choreographer, assistant director and acrobatic coordinator for touring companies that took the production to such countries as Spain, Italy, Canada, Russia and the United States.
In Las Vegas, he became a cast member of Cirque Du Soleil's brilliant, water bound production, "O." So advanced were his skills, the company extended him the rare privilege of excusing him from its mandatory three-month training program. During his two years with the show, he discovered a greater enthusiasm for extreme styles than he had encountered in Europe.
For Cher's Las Vegas extravaganza, "Cher at the Colosseum," he choreographed stunts and appeared in her crowd-pleasing "Laverne" video. His creations for "Celebrity Circus" included an aerial cradle for "Clueless" star Stacey Dash. For a very different kind of venue, the Hollywood Bowl, he directed a breathtaking number for female aerialists who performed to an orchestral reading of Miklos Rozsa's waltz from the film "Madame Bovary."
Then came a one-two punch of major proportions: Stella was pop superstar P!nk's trainer, performing partner, creative guru and all-around protector for her phenomenally successful Funhouse Tour. The yearlong event, which presented 160 shows in 18 countries, featured daring circus stunts and extreme acrobatics (most created and performed by Stella), the likes of which the international pop audience had never seen.
He may well be the only artist who has worked with Pink, Britney Spears (for whose "W*rk Bitch" video he did action choreography and stunt coordination) and Katy Perry, with whom he performed an aerial routine for the 2012 Billboard Awards. The many commercials for which he has provided choreography, stunt coordination and/or direction include Pink's 2012 CoverGirl spot.
Stella also contributed staging and stunt choreography to the Syfy competition show, "Face Off."
Stella, who was ranked number three out of the 50 most prominent French people in the United States by France-Amerique, America’s largest French-language magazine, may well rise to number one as his influence grows. He is busy putting together the pieces for various films, live shows and theatrical endeavors. With Seb's unique ability to combine artistry and excitement, it's no accident that in his presence, magic happens.
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