Category Archives: Dance

Sasha Waltz & Guests in Madrid’s Teatro Real

From 9th to 12th March, and with the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, Madrid’s Teatro Real will be staging three of the most recent works by powerful and emotional German Choreographer Sasha Waltz: SacreScène d’Amour and L’Après Midi d’un Faune.

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Sasha Waltz & Guests was founded in the 1990’s in response to Waltz’s spiritual curiosity and desire to interact more with a number of different artistic disciplines that she frequently included in her productions. Today, the company is made up of an international ensemble of rotating guest partners who create and perform pieces inspired by German neo-expressionism, leaving no member of the public feeling indifferent.

Sasha Waltz - Consagración (foto Bernd Uhlig)

The Madrid programme includes a version of Le Sacre du Printemps which Waltz created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the premier of Igor Stravinsky’s original masterpiece. Without completely losing sight of the focus with which the original ballet was conceived, the organic dance and group work result in a production with a primitive edge to it that perfectly conveys Waltz’s language. The programme’s triple bill is completed and balanced out by the romantic subtlety of Scène d’Amour and L’après Midi d’un Faune, whose original scores were written by two like-minded composers –Berlioz and Debussy respectively– who had much in common with Stravinsky. Scène d’Amour, an excerpt from Waltz’s full-length Romeo & Juliet, is shown as an independent piece featuring a duet, whilst L’après Midi d’un Faune portrays a sensual ambience inspired by the homonymous symphonic poem.

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For these performances, Madrid’s Teatro Real Resident Orchestra –The Symphonic Orchestra of Madrid– directed by Titus Engel, will accompany a dance company that holds a prominent position in Europe’s creative scene. This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy contemporary dance of the highest quality, one that looks to the past without losing the freshness of the present.

Additional information at 915 060 660 (www.teatro-real.com)

Photo Captions: L’après Midi d’un Faune and Sacre © Bernd Uhlig.

Dancing on pointe

LaDanzaEnPuntasCNDPortadaNiñosThe support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION to the educational project of the Compañía Nacional de Danza (Spain´s National Dance Company), has just crystallised in the publication of a new Educational Book, La danza en puntas (dancing on pointe). The previous books were dedicated to the choreographer George Balanchine and to the ballet Carmen, choreographed by Johan Inger last season for the CND.

Dancing on pointe is one of the most curious chapters in the History of Dance: How, when and why dancers began to rise on their toes? What is hiding inside these shoes? Is it difficult to dance on pointe?

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Elna Matamoros, Ballet Master of the CND and Advisor to the LOEWE FOUNDATION, is the author of these texts that, as in the previous editions, are published in two different versions: one for adult readers and one for children and youngsters. She has also been commissioned to gather a collection of images to illustrate and explain not only the origin of dancing on pointe, but also the manufacturing process of these shoes and the little secrets that every dancer keeps for herself.

MaríaMuñozCNDThe dancers of the CND are seen in this book as another link in the evolution of dance. Pointe shoes were born centuries ago and today this magical instrument makes them capable of defeating gravity and enjoying the advantages of using this tool that creates fantasy. Among other curiosities, in the book, the Spanish dancer Lucía Lacarra tells us her tips for caring her pointe shoes and how she gets them ready before each performance.

La danza en puntas was first introduced to the public at the LOEWE Talk Choreography of a dream, held at the Gran Vía LOEWE store last November between José Carlos Martinez, Director of CND, and Elna Matamoros, and later distributed during Aprendanza (an educational and performing arts festival organised by CND). These Educational Books are given to all the guests visiting the CND during rehearsals. They can also be downloaded in pdf format from the website of the Company or by clicking on the following links [only in Spanish].

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Photographs: La danza en puntas, cover: design by Anabel Poveda. Natalia Muñoz in In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015. María Muñoz’s sewing box and herself on pointe © Ángel Martínez Sánchez for CND, 2015. Kayoko Everhart and Moisés Martín Cintas in In The Night © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.

The CND shines with Don Quixote

The premiere of the ballet Don Quixote by the Compañía Nacional de Danza and its Artistic Director, José Carlos Martínez, has become the most awaited dance event. Last time this company performed a full-length ballet it was over twenty years ago. This version of Don Quixote by Martínez has become an absolute recognition of his artistic project. He has been very respectful towards tradition, emphasising the Spanish roots of the piece. The anniversary of the publication of the second part of the novel Don Quixote by Cervantes and the centenary of his death, makes 2016 the perfect year for the CND to present this ballet and to tour it internationally.

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The CND, sponsored by the LOEWE FOUNDATION, has a full repertoire which explores all dance styles and now includes one of the most famous works in Dance History. Don Quixote first premiered in Moscow in 1869 as a ballet inspired by two chapters of the second part of the novel by Cervantes, in which the original choreographer Marius Petipa left a strong Spanish imprint in all the characters.SehYunKim

José Carlos Martínez has built his choreography after that first work by Petipa and Gorsky’s later revision, as well as after the versions he performed during his brilliant career as a dancer. His priority, however, has been to emphasise the Spanish dances beyond what Petipa himself could do in Russia. Martínez plays with the Spanish folklore and underlines the character of our bailes.  He has invited choreographer Mayte Chico to collaborate in his creation in order to achieve in this Don Quixote an authentic flamenco flavour.

Guest dancers Elisa Badenes, Cristina Casa, Joaquín de Luz and Maria Kochetkova are welcomed these days in the cast playing the lead roles alongside the dancers of the CND: Aitor Arrieta, Esteban Berlanga, Moisés Martín, Haruhi Otani, YaeGee Park and Alessandro Riga.

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The performances of Don Quixote will continue throughout the Holidays at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, until next January 3rd.

More information: 915 245 400, teatrodelazarzuela.mcu.es and at the box office of the theatre.

Photographs: Corps de Ballet, She Yun Kim with Iván Sánchez and Joaquín de Luz with YaeGee Park in Don Quixote © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.

Aprendanza 2015

After the success of Aprendanza in 2014, the Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND, Spain´s National Dance Company), directed by José Carlos Martinez, has conducted a second edition of this education and performing arts festival: music, movement, communication and all the aspects that dance involves, come together to participate in the process of training young people.

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Last November, with the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, more than two hundred teachers from all over Spain met and exchanged ideas, knowledge, their motivation and difficulties. With the leadership of a team of specialists in education, they found their creative path.

Aprendnaza2015.2The weekend started with an open rehearsal of the CND performing the ballet Don Quixote, which will premiere next week in Madrid. Later the workshops coordinated by Pedro Sarmiento -director of LÓVA and driving force of Aprendanza- included activities to generate movement by using creative tools, body percussion, experiences through observation and plastic art workshops. This year there was a special guest, Monica Milocco, responsible of the educational programme of the Gottemburgh Opera. Some members from the CND also led some of the workshops: José Carlos Martínez himself taught Koreographía, a brainstorming of ideas in order to invent our own choreographic language, Elna Matamoros revealed links between dance and almost all the academic subjects, and Agnès López Río with Elizabeth Biosca led a large movement class that brough all the participants together.

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The showing of the film Five Days to Dance by Wilfried von Popel and Amaya Lubeigt, some free time for meetings and the welcoming facilities of Matadero Madrid, Ballet Nacional de España and the CND itself, were the perfect blend to enjoy a memorable weekend for this group of teachers, who were all eager to integrate dance into their classrooms.

Photographs: Aprendanza 2015 © Sara Navarro, 2015

José Carlos Martínez, choreography of a dream

Proximity and a cheerful disposition characterised the LOEWE Talk Choreography of a dream, a conversation between José Carlos Martínez, Director of the Compañía Nacional de Danza and Elna Matamoros, Ballet Master of the CND and Advisor of the LOEWE Foundation, which was presented by Sheila Loewe, Director of the Foundation.

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Martínez has developed a long and dazzling career as a dancer, culminating with an important position as choreographer before his arrival to the CND. He was Étoile at the Paris Opera Ballet and danced a large and diverse repertoire. As choreographer, Martínez was awarded with the Benois Prize for his ballet Les Enfants du Paradis. He won the Spanish National Award for Dance and the French Government named him Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. “I am Spanish, but I carry the French culture and everything I learned from France with me,” said the dancer.

EncuentroJCElna2Many anecdotes and memories appeared during the conversation, which led the audience to his native town, Cartagena. “When I was young”, said Martínez laughing, “I didn’t mind dancing at my parents’ kitchen or on the stage of the Paris Opera”. Elna Matamoros remarked the importance of early teachers for dancers and José Carlos Martinez said he had “learned how to dance before getting into the Paris Opera Ballet School”, where he studied only for one year. After his early years at his hometown, where he studied dance with Pilar Molina, he moved to Cannes (France) under the tutelage of Rosella Hightower and José Ferrán. There he received a personalised and wide dance training. “I learned to dance before I could speak French”, said the dancer.

For Martínez, his professional years at the Paris Opera went by without feeling “a prisoner of that great temple of dance. I never felt the need to leave the company to develop myself artistically.” Precisely for this reason, Martínez has tried to approach that same model of company when he arrived to the CND as Director. He wished to spread the repertoire of the company to a wide variety of choreographic styles. Martínez made the audience laugh when he explained that he believed that probably the main reason to have been chosen by the INAEM-Ministry of Culture as Director of the CND was that he was “the only fool who said he could do everything with so little budget”. Now he ackowledges both astonished and pleased, that “in three years we have met the goals I set for a minimum of five”. Next December 16th, the company will premiere the ballet Don Quixote, the first full-length classical ballet danced by the company in over twenty years.

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During the LOEWE Talk, which took place at the flagship LOEWE store in Gran Vía, Madrid, José Carlos Martínez appreciated “the support of the LOEWE Foundation -Official Sponsor of the CND. We have been able to open the doors of dance and the company to a large audience, to people that neither dance nor will ever do, but we’ve piqued their curiosity”. The Educational Project of the CND, which includes visits from both adults and grade schoolers to see the company work, the publication of Educational Books and Aprendanza – which took place for the second year this past weekend in Madrid- have developed a strong commitment to the future. “One of the most exciting moments of these years at the CND happened when a group of three year-old children visited the company. Their feet did not even touch the ground from the bench they were sitting on, and at the end of our rehearsal, they all wanted to dance with us.”

In 2009, José Carlos Martínez participated, together with composer José Nieto, in the LOEWE Talk Dance-Music held at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid. A summary of the Talk, moderated by Elna Matamoros, can be downloaded from the link at the end of this article [only in Spanish].

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Photographs: José Carlos Martínez, choreography of a dream. LOEWE Talk between José Carlos Martínez and Elna Matamoros © Luis Sánchez de Pedro for LOEWE Foundation, 2015.

The Gran Teatre del Liceu welcomes the swans of the English National Ballet

The English National Ballet (ENB), directed by the Spanish dancer Tamara Rojo, will be dancing Swan Lake, perhaps the most popular title of the entire repertoire of classical ballet. With these performances, starting September 16, the Gran Teatre del Liceu opens a new dance season sponsored by the LOEWE FOUNDATION.

English National Ballet, Swan Lake in the round technical rehearsal

The version that ENB will be performing in Barcelona was staged by Derek Deane -former Director of the company- using the original score by Tchaikovsky. As Tamara Rojo explains, “it continues the British tradition based on Nicholas Sergeyev’s revival, from the notation written by Petipa and Ivanov for the original ballet; it was made for the Ninette de Valois’s Vic-Wells Ballet in 1934”. This production, she says, “emphasizes the virtuosity of both the corps de ballet and the soloists, holding until the end of the ballet all the dramatic tension.”

English National Ballet, Swan Lake in the round technical rehearsal

The company that Tamara Rojo leads has become very popular among the English people since its foundation in 1950. Rojo says it has been “honouring the great classical ballet without sacrificing modern works, and promoting the creativity of contemporary choreography”. ENB, during the past decades, has developed as a “travelling company, both in England and in the rest of the world” and for that reason, explains its Director, it has extended “the love for dance on the basis of artistic excellence and creativity.” Tamara Rojo says that being able to direct ENB is “the culmination of my artistic aspirations because it allows me to address important aspects about the practice of our art that would be impossible for me as a dancer.” She also admits to be interested in the “artistic challenges associated to the strategies that make possible to integrate the artistic, commercial and creative goals for our company and to achieve the purposes of artistic excellence, sustainability and commitment to social responsibility”.

TamaraRojoEncuentroLOEWEDanzaLiteraturaThe last time Rojo was on this same stage back in 2010, she was still Principal Dancer with London’s Royal Ballet. “I danced Sleeping Beauty about the time the Spanish football team won the World Cup,” she jokes. She returns to the Liceu to meet an audience that has always treated her “with love” and that she defines as “very enthusiastic”.
In 2008 Tamara Rojo participated, together with poet Luis Antonio de Villena in the LOEWE TALK Dance-Literature held at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid. It was moderated by Elna Matamoros, adviser of the LOEWE FOUNDATION. Rojo remembers that event, on dance and literature, as “very satisfactory”. She emphasizes the importance of “linking dance with other arts such as poetry or painting, which are complementary”. A summary of the talk can be downloaded from the link at the end of this article [only in Spanish].

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More information at 90253 33 53 (www.liceubarcelona.cat).

Photographs: Swan Lake performed by the English National Ballet with Tamara Rojo and Matthew Golding © Arnaud Stephenson for ENB, 2013. Tamara Rojo at the LOEWE TALK Dance-Literature © Residencia de Estudiantes, 2008.

 

The Staatsballett Berlin opens the 2015-16 dance season at the Teatro Real in Madrid

After several years away from Spain, Nacho Duato -former Director of the Compañía Nacional de Danza for more than two decades- returns to Madrid, this time leading the Staatsballett Berlin.

Sleeping_BeautyYanRevazoThe dance season of the Teatro Real -with the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION- will raise the curtain up the 4th of September with the ballet The Sleeping Beauty. A new version created by Nacho Duato in 2011 for the Mikhailovsky Ballet -the company he directed for two years- will be performed in Madrid.

Duato created his ballet from the original score and script by Tchaikovsky and Vsevolozhsky. This new ballet is full of references to Marius Petipa, the first choreographer of the piece. The magnificent designs by Angelina Atjalić and the stage lighting by Brad Fields bring richness and historical evocation to this production. In these performances, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid will be conducted by Pedro Alcalde.

A very different program performed by the Statsballett Berlin gets to show the new course being taken by the company since the arrival of Duato. The ballet And the Sky on that Cloudy Old Day, with choreography by Marco Goecke and music by John Adams will be performed together with two pieces by Duato himself. With Static Time -his newest ballet- especially created for the Staatsballett Berlin, Duato offers a sign to farewells and memories. White Darkness, premiered by the CND in 2001, will be closing the evening.

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It seems a very promising opening for the dance season at the Teatro Real de Madrid. Sasha Walz, in March, and our Compañía Nacional de Danza, in July, will also be dancing on that same stage.

More information at + 34 915 060 660 (www.teatro-real.com)

Photographs: The Sleeping Beauty © Yan Revazo. Static Time © Fernando Marcos.

Sol León & NDT in Madrid

SCHMETTERLING © Rahi Rezvani_online_6 @The last dance show of the 2014-15 Season at the Teatro Real in Madrid -sponsored by the LOEWE FOUNDATION- will be performed by the Nederlands Dans Theater. The company will present two ballets by Paul Lightfoot -Director of NDT- and Sol León, both house choreographers of the company since 2002.

Sol León has been working with Paul Lightfoot since 1989 and the couple is one of the leading names in European creation. The Spanish choreographer explains that Sehnsucht (2009) and Schmetterling (2010), the two pieces performed in Madrid, “complement each other.” With them, she says, “we created a continuous feeling between space and time; past, present and future build a continuous spiral”. These pieces were created a year apart but they have been performed together because, says León, “we really like to have this little trip: we create a bridge between these two parts”. Two works with music as different as Beethoven, in the first part, and Max Richter and The Magnetic Fields songs in the second part. But she warns: “The intermission also becomes part of the show.”

SolLeónEncuentrosLOEWEConLaDanzaLeón feels “very lucky to create.” After 25 years choreographing, she knows that “time is powerful. If you are not insecure and you feel free to express whatever you feel, it becomes a magical act that makes me feel inspired and creative. Dance can express through motion, as poetry does with words”. She looks at the present time and is excited with the fact of “showing this work in Spain because these ballets have been already touring around the world.” Shortly before coming to the Teatro Real, they will be shown at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.

Following the departure of choreographer Jiří Kylián from NDT “the company was needing the spirit of the artist”, says León. “Since the last visit of the company to Madrid, creativity is again palpable in the house with the arrival of Paul (Lightfoot) three years ago.”

In 2008, Sol León participated with the film-maker Carlos Saura in the LOEWE Dance Talks, integrating this discipline with cinema as two complementary and parallel activities. The choreographer remembers “with a smile, with real affection” the talk held at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid and moderated by Elna Matamoros, adviser of the LOEWE FOUNDATION. The reflections of Carlos Saura and Sol León, their own work and the stimulous given by the LOEWE Foundation to dance are compiled in the summary of that talk, which can be downloaded from the link at the end of this article [only in Spanish].

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More information at + 34 915 060 660 (www.teatro-real.com)

Photographs: Schmetterling and Sehnsucht by Nederlands Dans Theater © Rezvani. Sol León in the LOEWE Talk Dance-Cinema  © Residencia de Estudiantes, 2008.

Carmen, the making of

CarmenJóvenesPortadaCNDCarmen, by Swedish choreographer Johan Inger, is the title chosen by the Compañía Nacional de Danza -José Carlos Martínez, Artistic Director- to publish a new Educational Book. This little publication explains in depth all the details regarding not only this version of the ballet but also those previously choreographed by other artists.

This book, easy to read, will allow audiences to enjoy and appreciate the many details that made this story one of the main works in the repertoire of most ballet companies worldwide.
Like the previous Educational Book published by CND, dedicated to the Russian-American choreographer George Balanchine, this publication is available in two versions; one for adults and another one for youngsters. Elna Matamoros, Ballet Master of the CND and advisor of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, is the author of both the text and the selection of images, which Anabel Poveda later designed.

This book delves into the origins of Carmen as a Spanish myth, starting from the novel written by Prosper Mérimée, through the opera composed by Georges Bizet and then through the multiple versions that have been choreographed. CND had two different versions in its repertoire in the previous decades, and they are also explained in the book.

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The Educational Books of the CND are possible thanks to the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION and are distributed for free to the people who attend the open rehearsals of the company; moreover, this Carmen book is also available to download in PDF through the website of the CND, and includes an explanatory text about this collection. You can also download Carmen, Educational Book, by clicking on the following links. [Only in Spanish]

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Photographs: Carmen para los más jóvenes, cover. Rehearsals of Carmen with Johan Inger at Compañía Nacional de Danza © Domingo Fernández for CND, 2015.

María Pagés is Carmen

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For years, María Pagés resisted to recreate Carmen, the archetype of the Spanish woman. Now, after a long way through poetry and life, this sevillian dancer decided to reveal the femininity of freedom using flamenco dance as her creative tool.

Mar°a PagÇs y bolso Flamenco 1 (foto Javier Mor†n)With the support of the Loewe Foundation, María Pagés Company shows the most contemporary side of the Spanish culture, envolving different arts and linking creators from around the world with the universality of flamenco. As a symbol of this appropriate connection of cultures, the new piece I, Carmen has just had a wonderful success in Japan.

Sensual and daring, the choreography I, Carmen presented by María Pagés Company allows women to tell a story that creates spaces and brings cultures together through an open and contemporary dance; thus, the audience gets easily connected to I, Carmen.

The story of Carmen is presented from a female perspective and shows all the shades of feminity: from fragility to sensuality, from the outburst of the initiative to the tenderness of motherhood.

Carmen, a character who had become almost a cliché created to explain and justify male passions, now develops as a claim to life and freedom.

 

  Photographs: I, Carmen by María Pagés Compañía © David Ruano, 2014. María Pagés with the Flamenco bag in I, Carmen © Javier Morán, 2014.