The Compañía Nacional de Danza pays homage to Enrique Granados

The Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND) returns to the stage of Madrid’s Teatro Real to close a season that, with the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, has allowed this theatre to showcase some of today’s best ballet performances.

AnhelosTormentosCNDFrom 22nd to 25th July, the CND that José Carlos Martínez directs and whose official sponsor is the LOEWE FOUNDATION, will present 3 pieces that pay homage to composer Enrique Granados on the 100th anniversary of his death. The musical prism that ties the night together results in a heterogeneous ensemble of choreographers and styles of which only one piece, Raymonda Divertimento, has been presented previously in Madrid.

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In the Night, by Jerome Robbins, is set to a series of Chopin’s nocturnes to depict, through the performance of three different couples dancing under the stars, the varying shades of romantic love. CND pianist Carlos Faxas will play the nocturnes live.

Anhelos y Tormentos, especially choreographed by Dimo Kirilov for the CND, is the most contemporary of the evening’s pieces, putting the capacity of expression and restraint of the company’s dancers to the test. The Lab is in charge of the sound design and Rosa Torres-Pardo of playing, on stage, the hauntingly evocative Enrique Granados pieces to which this choreography is set.

Suite (trio), by choreographer Uwe Scholz is set to Serguéi Rajmáninov’s Suite number 2 for two pianos and gives us one of the most abstract and purest visions of what ballet was in the 20th century; two men and one woman take over the stage in a piece that is laden with emotion and simplicity.

The José Carlos Martínez version of Raymonda Divertimento, which recreates Marius Petipa’s original choreography and Nureyev’s later vision, is set to Glazunov’s score and fills the stage with classic dance steps and orientalist aromas. This ballet, already an emblematic piece for the CND, shines thanks to the work of the corps de ballet and the virtuosity of its soloists.

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CND, Homage to Enrique Granados. From 22nd to 25th July in Madrid’s Teatro Real.  More information at teatro-real.com.

Photo Captions: Anhelos y Tormentos & In the Night © Jesús Vallinas. Suite (trio) © José Jordan for the CND, 2016.

Lucia Moholy at the Bauhaus

On the occasion of the first exhibition featuring the work of photographer Lucia Moholy in Madrid as part of PHotoEspaña, the LOEWE FOUNDATION organised this month of June the highly attended LOEWE Talk “Lucia Moholy at the Bauhaus”. Architect Belén Moneo and exhibition curator María Millán exposed the public to the aesthetics and philosophy of the legendary school and to the artists Moholy photographed and lived with.

Anni Albers, 1927

The Bauhaus, founded by architect Walter Gropius in 1919, was set up as a centre for craftsmanship, architecture and design to come together. One of the school’s objectives was to design and produce unique utilitarian objects for use in daily modern life. When Lucia Moholy arrived at the Bauhaus in 1923, photography was not part of the school’s curriculum. Using a very personal and innovative style, she devoted herself to documenting the daily activities taking place in the workshops and the designs and objects that were being created.

All students had to take mandatory courses on colour theory, materials, drawing and other subjects meant to prepare them for the more specialised workshops. The Bauhaus was the first art school to accept women. However, equality was not applied across the board and women were not allowed to take certain classes.

Such was the case of artist Anni Albers, who was barred from the architecture and glass workshops and was advised to defer to weaving. She had the good fortune of working with Gunta Stölz in 1923 becoming one of the workshop’s top students and eventually the school’s weaving director, a post she held until 1932, when the Dessau Bauhaus was closed. Anni Albers and her husband Josef Albers moved to the US in 1933 where they pursued teaching and worked on personal projects. In 1951, the MOMA organised an exhibition of Anni’s work, which then toured the US for two years, establishing Anni Albers as one of the most important textile artists of the 20th century.

Florence Henri, 1927

Florence Henri, who began her artistic career as a painter, had a similar experience. During the time she spent at the Bauhaus in 1927, she lived with László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy, who shared with her their passion for photography and taught her some basic techniques. Although photography was not yet taught at the school, the couple encouraged her to experiment with the camera and to continue her work in this field. A year after leaving the Bauhaus, Florence Henri opened a studio in Paris establishing herself as a professional photographer.

The LOEWE exhibition, “Lucia Moholy, A Hundred Years Later”, invites the public to learn about the people in the portraits. Lucia Moholy was a pioneer of modern photography, and so were the photographed artists in their individual fields of expertise. An absolute must.

Lucia Moholy, A Hundred Years Later. Until 28th August at LOEWE’s Gran Vía 8 store in Madrid [Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and Holidays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.]

Photographs: Anni Albers, 1927. Florence Henri, 1927.The Bauhaus Archive. Courtesy Fotostiftung Schweiz. Curator, María Millán.

 

Carla Badillo Coronado: Intuition & Reading

“I wrote El color de la granada when I was 25 years old; I’m now 30….and I won the LOEWE Young Poets Prize,” explains Carla Badillo Coronado. The 2015 winning book was written during the time it took for the fruit to “decompose before her eyes.” Quite a challenge for such a young person.

“A prize doesn’t make you better or worse, nor is it an objective in and of itself –at least not in my case– but rather a consequence,” asserts the poet. She believes that out of all her books, both published and unpublished, this one is “quite unique because of how it was conceived, as if it were the work of a goldsmith. Sometimes language doesn’t quite rise up to the challenge of giving form to that particular poetry or hidden revelation and there is an ongoing struggle between what you want to communicate and the language you use, because it’s not up to par.”

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Carla was attracted to the publishing possibilities that the LOEWE award offered. She points to the “seriousness” of the rules of entry and admits that she submitted her book without realising the prestige and recognition that winning the award would afford her. “I didn’t know any of the jury members and it’s the first time the Prize goes to Ecuador.” She does remember feeling that “the book was ready” and that something within pushed her to send it off, despite her lack of resources at the time: “I had to borrow money to print the manuscripts and mail them to Spain!” Today, Carla Badillo Coronado is the first Ecuadorian woman whose work has been published by Editorial Visor and she is incredibly pleased that her book “stood out among 800 manuscripts from 29 different countries.” That is precisely why she dedicates her win “to Ecuadorian immigrants living Spain, who live in difficult circumstances while fighting to have a respectable life, because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do myself. I strive to be coherent with what I believe and to let my intuition be my beacon.”

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With regards to her day-to-day she declares that “writing is what allows me to find harmony in chaos.” Following a difficult year during which she suffered an emotional breakdown, and just 24 hours prior to winning the Loewe Prize, this writer and reporter published her first novel –Abierta sigue la noche– with an incredibly high print run, as part of Ecuador’s Reading Incentive Plan, and is happy to navigate the waters of both genres: “I like to express myself using different languages; I have always been drawn to that hybrid and that’s evident in El color de la granada.

Carla is a woman who tries to distance herself from the world; she doesn’t have a cell phone so that she “can find the silence that a writer or poet needs.” She knew exactly how she wanted to spend the award money: travelling and writing, and that is what she’s done for almost a year. “My goal is to reach the Caucasus and Armenia, the birthplace of both Sayat Nova and Sergei Paradjanov –so tied to El color de la granada– which is particularly key this year since 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.” Sure of her intuition, Carla states: “My education lies in the books and materials I’ve read….and in the people I’ve met throughout my life. I have no fears.”

Photo Captions: Carla Badillo Coronado with Enrique & Sheila Loewe during the 28th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize ceremony, March 2016 © Uxío de Vila, 2016.

Lucia Moholy, A Hundred Years Later

MoholyBauhausThe exhibition presented by the LOEWE FOUNDATION as part of PhotoEspaña 2016 shows a selection of 48 photographs taken during the fifteen years Lucia Moholy worked as a photographer. Her contribution to culture as a photographer, art critic, historian and educator is enduring and of increasingly recognised significance, and her work has proved particularly valuable in promoting the aesthetics and philosophy of the Bauhaus.

MoholyAutorretratoMoholy was born in Praga in 1894, where she studied Philosofy and Art History, and began her profesional career in Germany, working for different publishing houses as a writer and editor. She had expressed an interest in photography in 1915 and soon after marrying the artist László Moholy-Nagy, they joined the Bauhaus in 1923. Moholy photographed its famous architecture and the school’s interiors and furnishings, breaking with established practices.

She left Germany, moving first to London and later to Zurich, where she continued to write photography art and criticism. She spent many years trying to recover her negatives, which had been dispersed since she left Berlin. This exhibition hopes to play a role in restoring the undeniable relevance of the artist’s work for present and future generations.

Lucia Moholy, A Hundred Years Later. Until the 28th of August. LOEWE Store in Gran Vía, 8, Madrid [Monday to Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.].

Photographs by Lucia Moholy. Bauhaus Dessau, 1926. Self-portrait, 1930. Bauhaus furniture design by Marcel Breuer, 1923. Courtesy of Fotostiftung Schweitz. Curator: María Millán.

Don Quixote Dances On Paper

DonQCNDJovenesPortadaCoinciding with the 400th Anniversary of the Death of Cervantes, the Compañía Nacional de Danza that José Carlos Martínez directs has published a new Educational Booklet, a tool used to help disseminate the Company’s work.

The most recent title of this extraordinary series that distils the essence of the CND’s educational project, carried out with the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, features the José Carlos Martínez version of Don Quixote’s ballet, which premiered at Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela in December of 2015. In this Booklet’s versions – one for younger readers and one for adults– we learn about the secrets behind the staging of this ballet and its link to the Cervantes novel.

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Elna Matamoros –Ballet Master of the CND and Advisor to the LOEWE FOUNDATION– is, once again, the author of the texts and the person in charge of choosing the accompanying images, which in this case includes photos of the ballet performance as well as prints taken from the Don Quixote of la Mancha edition illustrated by Gustavo Doré and Carmen Granel costume designs.

The CND’s Educational Booklets, which are distributed during the Company’s open rehearsals, are the perfect tool to familiarise oneself with Don Quixote prior to enjoying the performance, as they open the doors to the chivalrous, burlesque and romantic world portrayed in the ballet, on tour throughout Spain for the next few months. These publications can also be downloaded at no charge through the CND’s website or by clicking on the following links.

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Photo Captions: front cover of the Don Quixote Booklet for younger readers. CND Educational Booklets. Illustration: “… the invention and fancy he read…”. Don Quixote of la Mancha. Illustration 1, Ch.1. by Gustavo Doré (1863). Layout by Anabel Poveda. El fandango. Costume by Carmen Granel for the CND, 2015.

 

María Pagés Dances for the Children

The Sala Roja, located in Madrid’s Teatros del Canal, lit up with excited little faces as they discovered the secrets hidden in Yo, Carmen, the latest production by flamenco dancer and choreographer María Pagés, which opened in April in this very same venue. The entire group of professionals who make up the María Pagés Dance Company captivated the attention of the children and the families in attendance with their inspired performance of their educational show La alegría de los niños.

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The younger audience members were not only allowed to personally ask the stage manager to raise the grand drape that separates the stage from the seating area, but they also met, one by one, all the dancers, musicians, and technicians who make it possible for this show to awe publics day in and day out in all corners of the world.
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María Pagés herself, taking an up close and personal approach, stood off the stage with microphone in hand and explained what palmas sordas are, how to best play the pitos and how to artfully open and close a fan. Meanwhile, the Company’s dancers took care of the youngest audience members, helping them move to the beat of the music whilst following the choreographer’s instructions.

With the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, María Pagés is showcasing flamenco around the world, and thanks to initiatives such as this one, the public interested in dance can now count with a new generation of fans. Thank you María!

Photographs: La alegría de los niños, María Pagés Compañía © Luis Sánchez de Pedro for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016.

The free poetry of Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Víctor Rodríguez Nuñez’s most ardent wish is that people read despegue, the book that won him the 28th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize. “That is the ultimate dream,” he admitted.

Víctor, who was born in Cuba, but has lived in the US for several decades, says that “when I lived in Cuba I was just a Cuban poet; now I am a Cuban poet specialising in Cuban poetry.” He admits that he had submitted his work for the LOEWE Prize on numerous occasions because it is “the most prestigious Spanish-speaking award in its category; not the one that pays the most, but the one everyone wants to win,” he explains. “The rigour, the jury, and the roster of winners are impressive. It is an honour to be among them.”

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Laughing, he recognises that “each time I finished writing a book I would send it to LOEWE and only when I found out I hadn’t won would I submit it elsewhere.” That is why he is “so proud to have finally won” and is grateful “to all those who have made it difficult for me, because I am a better poet for it. Struggling benefits all artists.”

This is, without a doubt, a career highlight for Rodríguez Nuñez, but he finds it difficult to define the type of writer he is. “One is not always the same poet; we are constantly changing. What is important is to recognise when the change is taking place. It’s a serious problem when one tries to resist change; it is detrimental to one’s work. Identities don’t actually exist. The only thing that exists is change. One’s identity is linked to the Spanish verb “ser”, ‘Being’ with a capital B, and that state is nothing but an illusion. The verb “estar” is more expressive of one’s present ‘state of being’. The distinction between these two verbs, one that doesn’t exist in other languages, is representative of the richness and nuance of Spanish.”

He is, however, very sure about one of the traits of his poetic personality: his independence. “I don’t belong to any group and I don’t know anybody. I am neither an official nor a dissident Cuban writer. I am an independent writer,” he explains, “and one pays dearly for that. I have been excluded from anthologies and other publications….I don’t have an editor. I have been able to publish my work by submitting entries to different contests and, in the long run, that has given me a lot of confidence because I have won important prizes without knowing anyone.” He explains that “what I write has been well received for its own merit” and “that gives me immense satisfaction,” so “I am very grateful to Spain for the recognition I have received here because it has been an outlet for me.” Without hesitating, he adds, “I have found myself as a poet.”

With regards to the media coverage the Prize has received, he explains, “the announcement was published in all the most important newspapers in Latin America.” So he warns with humour: “if last year there were eight hundred entries, this year there might be a thousand!” And as to his presence as a jury member in next year’s edition, he says, “I will have to do my part to find the winner among that jungle of poems!”

Photo caption: Víctor Rodríguez Núñez in the Prize Ceremony of the 28th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize  © Uxío de Vila for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016.

 

The CND Returns to Barcelona

With the support of the LOEWE Foundation, the 2015-2016 dance season of Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu closed with “Homenaje a Granados”, the latest work by the Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND) under the direction of José Carlos Martínez. The presence of the dance company in the city last week also brought about a most unique event: the performance of I want in LOEWE’s Paseo de Gracia store, which gave the general public the chance to experience and admire the piece and the dancers in a most intimate of settings, just a few centimetres from the performers.

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At the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the company paid homage to composer Enrique Granados in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his death. Accompanied by pianist Rosa Torres-Pardo, the CND staged a world premiere choreographed by Dimo Kirilov, a former dancer of the company. Anhelos y tormentos accompanies the public on a romantic journey and quest which concludes with a powerful climax that then brings about the inclusion of three other pieces, some of which the CND performs for the first time ever.

Raymonda Divertimento (foto Jesús Vallinas)

William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of the Exactitude, set to music by Schubert, together with the ballet In the Night, by Jerome Robbins, set to Chopin’s noctures –played live by pianist Carlos Faxas- were chosen by José Carlos Martínez as part of his vision to widen the CND’s repertoire. A Martínez version of Glazunov’s Raymonda, based on Pepita’s and Nureyev’s choreography and staging, was the last performance of the evening, enveloping all the musical pieces into a capsule of the time in history when Enrique Granados lived.

In addition, with their appearance at the LOEWE store, the CND dancers once again showed off their unorthodox capabilities, playing with the different spaces the location offers while mixing with the guests who stood in awe and admiration. As has happened on other occasions, no one was left feeling indifferent.

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Photo Captions: I want. Agnes López-Río, Mar Aguiló and Elisabet Biosca © Poncho Paradela for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016. Raymonda by the CND © Jesús Vallinas for the CND, 2015. I want. Mattia Russo, Isaac Montllor and Mar Aguiló © Poncho Paradela for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016.

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Three emotion-filled moments in the award ceremony of the 28th LOEWE Poetry Prize

The protagonist of the first memorable moment of the LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize award ceremony in its 28th edition, held this past Thursday in Madrid’s Hotel Palace, was Enrique Loewe Knappe, the firm’s patriarch, who died last week. It was his son Enrique, the person behind the creation of the award, who remembered him.
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Poet Chantal Maillard was responsible for the second one. Maillard, who generally shies away from public literary ceremonies and celebrations, agreed to present the work by Carla Badillo Coronado (Quito, 1985), winner of the Young Poets Prize, after finding that the words in El color de la granada were “devoid of gimmicks”. She believes that the Ecuadorian writer is “someone who knows that poems are not made, but rather found. Someone who remembers that a poem is a vehicle for humility”. She warned against prizes, which she feels can be double edged swords: distracting and illuminating in equal measure. She encouraged Carla to keep her focus, avoid distractions and “lie low when the bright lights come calling”. When Carla spoke, she talked about poetry as a personal trench from where she may “face life, face death and face herself”.

The third emotional moment (and humorous as well) took place when Cuban writer Abilio Estévez took the podium to introduce his friend Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (Havana, 1955), winner of this year’s LOEWE Prize. They both worked for cultural magazine El caimán barbudo during the 1980’s, the winner as the director and he, as a distracted copy editor. Estévez gave an overview of his friend’s book remembering that “up in the clouds no one is a foreigner” and that even after exile’s longest night “morning inevitably dawns”. When Rodríguez Núñez spoke, he quoted José Martí to highlight that “poetry is more important than agriculture” and closed by reading the last poem in despegue, the winning book: “mas este espacio tiene su compás / ni la muerte se apura llega tarde / por un sitio decente / a sacudir el ser con un trapito”.

Photo captions: Enrique Loewe, Carla Badillo Coronado, Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and Sheila Loewe © Uxío da Vila.