By: Katarina Bennich

Tobias Larsson made his international debut as a dancer at the legendary Lido de Paris and later in the world-renown blockbuster movie, Moulin Rouge. This impressive kick-start led the way to a career with a European tour that consisted of several shows with stars like Tina Turner and Olivia Newton John.
Times have not always been good, however. Despite an education at the prestigious Academy of Ballet in Sweden, his very first job was at a fire-juggling show where he made $20. Larsson considered it a great experience, though, and he celebrated his first self-made dollar by buying pizza.


By 2009 it was time for Larsson to take on the U.S. He started in New York, and one year later he moved his costumes and dancing shoes across the country to San Francisco. He became a huge success and one of Teatro Zinzanni’s most popular artists―dressed as a life-sized bear riding a unicycle on a high wire, and as his other popular character, the Swede Sven.
"Love, Chaos & Dinner" is the slogan of the show, and many find that fitting. The intoxicating Teatro Zinzanni has entertained tourists and locals in its uniquely decorated Spiegeltent at Pier 29 on the Embarcadero for more than 10 years. During that time it has become a landmark of San Francisco’s entertainment scene.
It first started in Seattle and after a sold-out 14-month run they moved down to San Francisco. The spectacular show offers some of the oldest and most time honored traditions in amusement. The evening unites interactive theater, cabaret, circus, divas, madmen, sensuality, live music and a five-course dinner in an intriguing combination. In other words: love, chaos and dinner.
After every show the lobby is crowded with female admirers. With his athletic body, blond hair and charming smile, Larsson gives the female audience something to look at. How does one deal with all of the admiration?

"The attention is part of the package," says Larsson. "I would be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy the compliments and the acknowledgments I get for what I do. But I don’t take it personally. The audience is attracted by an illusion of me, an act, and it takes a lot of hard work to make them forget about their everyday problems and the bills that are awaiting them at home."
Larsson moved to San Francisco two years ago and has been busy ever since. "I am very fortunate to have a job. It is a tough business and a tough time financially," he says.

According to Larsson theater has an unsure future.
"It is going through an exciting stage where it is very changeable. It has a different role in today’s society, compared to what it meant to people 20 years ago. Today it is a mix of different art forms and theater has to reinvent itself to remain."
Today, Larsson is combining all of his experiences together. He is more than pleased to have the privilege of using his talents as a choreographer, director, actor and singer. That makes his typical day very diverse. But the shows are demanding and claim a lot of time for mental preparation, sleep and recharging of the batteries.
Right now Larsson is balancing down time at the beach with hours of hectic preparation for a new show he is directing. The name is not yet set, but the team calls it "The Red Swan Express." The new story tells the life of one of the actresses in the show and her story as a ballerina. There will be some inevitable comparisons to the acclaimed film "The Black Swan." His Swedish lead character, Sven, will most likely get a part too, for he is too loved by the audience to be abandoned.
Larsson has worked in Norrköping, Stockholm, Paris, London, Copenhagen, New York, Seattle and San Francisco. His preferences have varied over time but if he has to choose, his all time favorite city is New York―with its overload of creative energy. "It is like the whole city has ADHD," Larsson says with a laugh.
Fortunately for him, the world has become significantly smaller, thanks to the Internet and skype. The comfort of his home country, his family and friends, feel closer when he can enjoy his favorite Swedish radio show on P3 every morning.

"The longer I am away from home the more Swedish I feel. You become aware of the differences between other cultures and the different ways of thinking and acting," Larsson says. Even though he loves returning to Sweden, he is very happy that he initially left.
"It was incredibly liberating for me to be far away from home, and that increased my ability to create," he adds.
As a young boy Larsson wanted to become a soccer player. It was not until he reached the age of ten and fell in love with an enchanting female circus artist that he started to grow an interest for showbiz. The crush faded but he still enrolled at a circus school, continued through a college with a theater specialization followed by dance, singing, musical and finally ballet school. He did not put any real thought into it, he says, but one thing led to another and suddenly he had a great education and background that would take him to some of the most famous entertainment scenes in the world.
Larsson is convinced about the importance of entertainment in people’s lives and in society in general.
"We had a woman who came to see the show through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It is during moments like that when you get to see people’s gratitude that you know that you are really giving something back to the people."

For more info, see Tobias Larsson '..that's entertainment'