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.
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.
Many 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.
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].
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.