Tag Archives: Compañía Nacional de Danza

An Evening with Forsythe

Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza has just presented “An Evening with Forsythe” –a new programme dedicated to this renowned American choreographer– at Cantabria’s Palacio de Festivales and Madrid’s Teatro Real. The Vertiginous Thrill of ExactitudeArtifact Suite and Enemy in the Figure are the three pieces that the CND’s Director, José Carlos Martínez, chose to showcase the company’s eclecticism.

Coinciding with this premiere, and thanks to the support that the LOEWE Foundation provides, a new edition of the CND’s Educational Booklets is in the hands of those readers interested in acquiring a deeper understanding of Forsythe’s work and his ties to the CND; the company has, throughout the years, presented eight of the choreographer’s works, thus covering an incredibly wide range of pieces and styles. Forsythe uses an academic and classical technique to create very contemporary pieces with George Balanchine and Rudolf von Laban as the most important sources of inspiration. The three ballets that make up “An Evening with Forsythe” are incredibly demanding in terms of execution and staging and have meant a new challenge for the CND.

The William Forsythe Educational Booklet, which is available in two versions –one for younger readers and one for adults- focuses primarily on those Forsythe choreographies most recently performed by the Company and includes statements from the artistic directors in charge of their staging explaining how Forsythe works, how a dancer might handle the performance of these choreographies, and what it means to be responsible for transmitting this heritage to the newer generations. Elna Matamoros –Advisor to the LOEWE FOUNDATION and Ballet Master at the CND– is the author of the texts and the person in charge of choosing the accompanying images. The CND’s Educational Booklets are distributed free of charge during the company’s open rehearsals and can also be downloaded from the CND’s website or by clicking on the following links.

William Forsythe. CND Educational Booklets.

William Forsythe for younger readers. CND Educational Booklets.

Until 30th April 2017. More information at www.teatro-real.com and the theatre’s ticket office.

Photo Captions: Kayoko Everhart and Jean Philippe Dury inArtifact II © Jesús Vallinas for the CND, 2013. Cover design by William Forsythe. CND Educational Booklets. © Anabel Poveda for the CND, 2017. Helena Balla inThe Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude © Jesús Vallinas for the CND, 2016.

Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND) grows

The Compañía Nacional de Danza (Spain´s National Dance Company) that José Carlos Martínez directs and whose official sponsor is the LOEWE FOUNDATION, begins a new and exciting season packed with projects.

Idq_jesus-vallinas-36n addition to welcoming new members, four dancers who had performed leading roles in previous seasons have been promoted. Isaac Montllor is now a CND principal dancer and three other members of the Corps de Ballet -Aída Badía, Lucie Barthélémy and Elisabet Biosca- are soloists.

Montllor, who was born in Alcoy (Spain), joined CND 2 in 2002 while it was under the direction of Nacho Duato and Tony Fabre and, since then, has only been away from the troupe during the year he spent in Montreal’s Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. “I am extremely grateful,” says the dancer regarding his promotion, “because it is a form of recognition of my dance and self-expression; of the way I tell a story.” Last season, the public saw this dancer perform in different leading roles, including Jose’s in Johan Inger’s Carmen and Don Quijote’s in the ballet of the same name, which the CND premiered in Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela in December 2015.

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Prior to joining the CND in 2012, French ballerina Lucie Barthélémy was a member of the Bavarian State Opera Ballet (Munich). Lucie beams when she says, “at 30, and after 11 years as a dancer, I can honestly say this is the most amazing thing to happen to me professionally… a reminder that there is no specific moment or age when one stops growing.” Lucie has performed the leading role in Raymonda and in Don Quijote –as Dulcinea– among many others.

Aída Badía, who comes from Santander (Spain), joined the CND in 2012. Prior to that, she participated in a number of projects with some of the most prestigious choreographers in the world. Her artistic versatility made it possible for her to participate, as an example, in two Carlos Saura films: Iberia and Fados. Worthy of mention, among many accomplishments, is Aida’s participation in José Carlos Martínez’s Don Quijote as Mercedes or in the Herman Schmermann pas de deux by William Forsythe. “I am very grateful for the recognition my work has received over the past four years. This is a career that forces all of us to give our best day in and day out and it is very motivating to see our work being recognised,” says the ballerina.

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Last season, Elisabet Biosca, who joined the CND in 2010, performed Lady Capulet in Goyo Montero’s Romeo & Juliet, the lead in Carmen, and other starring roles in pieces from the company’s repertoire. This ballerina, who hails from Barcelona (Spain), had previously performed with the IT Dansa Jove Companya de Catalunya, from L’Institut del Teatre. Independently, Elisabet has appeared in a number of short dance films and now, following this promotion, she is “motivated and extremely happy to begin this new adventure because of all the artistic challenges that will come my way”.

This season promises to be an exciting one for the CND and its dancers, who grow artistically by the day and who have Jose Carlos Martinez’s complete trust to carry out his vision. Slowly but surely, the public is getting to know the members of the company who are responsible for its success.

Photographs: Isaac Montllor as Don Quijote and Jesús Florencio as Sancho Panza, Lucie Barthélémy and Aída Badía in Don Quijote. Elisabet Biosca in In Transit © Jesús Vallinas for the CND.

Dance returns to the Teatro Real and the Gran Teatre del Liceu

The support that the LOEWE FOUNDATION gives dance has crystallised, once again, in the ballets that will be performed next season at Madrid’s Teatro Real and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. Two opera houses that have made space for a number of companies from all over the world so that they may showcase the best of their repertoires.

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In December, the ballet Coppélia, performed by the National Ballet of Uruguay (Ballet Nacional SODRE), will occupy the Barcelona stage with an emblematic Enrique Martínez version that is respectful of the choreographic tradition and the E.T.A. Hoffman original story it is based on. This dance company, under the direction of Argentinian dancer Julio Bocca will perform accompanied by the Liceu’s Resident Orchestra under the direction of conductor Martín García. Starting in January 2017, the Jove Companya de L’institut del Teatre will provide the counterpoint by putting its dancers to the test in a contemporary programme that includes Wad Ras by Montse Sánchez and Ramón Baeza, Un Ballo  by Jiří Kylián, and Minus 16 by Ohad Naharin.

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Shortly after, in February, the Prejocaj Ballet that the French choreographer by the same name directs, will visit the Barcelona stage for the first time and perform two ballets that are representative of the most committed and brave of their pieces. Spectral Evidence, with score by John Cage, envelops the stage in a ghost-like atmosphere while La Stravaganza, alternating between Vivaldi and contemporary composers, creates a mosaic of transitions on stage inspired by US immigration.

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In January, Le Corsair, choreographed by Frenchman Manuel Legris and based on Petipa’s original, will open the 2016-17 season at Madrid’s Teatro Real. The Wiener Staatsballett that Legris directs revisits this classic inspired by the famous Lord Byron poem with an almost traditional Russian vision that combines men’s virtuosity and strong feminine performances together with a dose of adventure and action. The costume designs and sets are by Luis Spinatelli and the Teatro Real Resident Orchestra will be led by Valery Ovsyanikov.

Moving into April, Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND) will dedicate an entire evening to American choreographer William Forsythe. José Carlos Martínez, the CND’s director, has chosen three pieces that showcase Forsythe’s modern and eclectic vision as well as the profound respect Martínez has for the artistic roots of this American artist: The Vertiginous Thrill of the ExactitudArtifact Suite and Enemy in the Figure. In June, the Martha Graham Dance Company will celebrate its 90th anniversary with two programmes that include not only some of the most representative pieces of this American choreographer –such as Deaths & EntrancesCave of the Heart or Maple Leaf Rag– but also a piece by Nacho Duato titled Rust.

Together, these companies will provide a wide range of options to captivate the audience with first class performances throughout the season.

For more information, teatro-real.com and liceubarcelona.cat.

Photographs: Coppélia by the National Ballet of Uruguay/SODER ©Santiago Barreiro. Spectral Evidence by the Prejocaj Ballet ©JCCarbone. Le Corsair ©by the Wiener Staatsballett.

 

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.

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

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.

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.

Carmen

The Compañía Nacional de Danza, directed by José Carlos Martínez, brings Carmen back on stage. This emblematic title, breaks completely this time with the traditional point of view of the story, as coming to life in a new version choreographed by Johan Inger.

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These days, the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid hosts the CND, sponsored by the Loewe Foundation. It is a contemporary and courageous piece, which leaves Carmen on an equal plane; Johan Inger has created a new version that modifies the romantic image of the well-known Spanish character and sets the story in a social context that has to do with ourselves, with our present reality.

CarmenSombrasVallinasJohan Inger is an internationally renowned choreographer emerged from the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Nederlands Dans Theater, and former Director of the Cullberg Ballet; he has had the courage to face -precisely in Spain- a purely Spanish character, reconsidering the social and gender stereotypes of Carmen over the centuries. In collaboration with the actor and playwright Gregor Acuña-Pohl, Inger has been investigating fully the work of Prosper Merimée and has moved away from Bizet’s opera. Bizet’s work, with its brilliant score and scenes from the Spanish tradition, left a scar on several generations of people because of its romantic charm and manners; but perhaps alienated the authenticity of the original characters: Carmen and José.

From the original novel, dated in 1847, Inger has created a work that requires us to understand José’s crime as an attack on Carmen’s freedom, and shows a clear case of gender violence; it is an unjustifiable and morally reprehensible crime. A character especially created for the occasion -a child- accompanies the viewer throughout the play, witnessing everything from the stage. His reactions, emulating those role models playing before him, show our responsibility towards situations involving domestic violence. The jealousy and the violence of José -in past centuries explained by the behaviour of Carmen, the protagonist- are now preventable and reprehensible nonsense acts.

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With costumes designed by David Delfín, scenery by Curt Allen Wilmer, lighting by Tom Visser and original music composed by Marc Alvarez -completing Rodion Shchedrin’s original score –Carmen Suite, for strings and percussion- this Carmen seems destined to make the current audience discover the multiple perspectives that an emblematic story can always offer.

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

Photographs: Carmen © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.

35th Anniversary of the Compañía Nacional de Danza

The Compañía Nacional de Danza has been celebrating its 35th anniversary since last October, when the special commemorative Galas were performed at the Teatros del Canal, in Madrid. Eclectic, diverse and touching performances brought on stage the most relevant pieces of its repertoire, remembering some of the brightest moments of these last decades.

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During the weekend of the great celebration, CND was not alone: ​​Company Director José Carlos Martínez, linking both memories and collaboration, invited two dance companies that were bonded to the CND in the past: Ballet Nacional de España -pair company when María de Ávila led both ensembles together- and Víctor Ullate Ballet – Comunidad de Madrid, in recognition to Ullate himself as the first director of the CND when it was founded, back in 1979. Moreover, a full set of costumes from the archives of the company was exhibited in the halls of the theatre.

FFinGenzanoCNDRaymonda Divertimento, Le Corsaire, Flower Festival in Genzano, Violon… all the repertoire performed portrayed the history, past and future of the CND; as a statement to the wonders of dancing, Minus 16 closed the evening. These performances paid tribute to María de Ávila and Tony Fabre -former directors of the CND and CND2 respectively- who passed away recently. It was an intense weekend, full of emotions that have been distilling festive atmosphere over the next months. Tours and new stagings have filled the agenda of the CND. Last January, the latest addition to the repertoire of the CND appeared: Don Quijote Suite.

After the original ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorski, and a later version staged by Rudolf Nureyev for the Paris Opera Ballet, José Carlos Martínez has built a truly Spanish version of the ballet Don Quixote. Toreros, gypsies, and a couple of main characters -performed by Yae Gee Park and Alessandro Riga- filled the stage of the Auditorium Víctor Villegas in Murcia (Spain). Gonzalo Berná conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica Región de Murcia. It meant a big challenge for the CND as the company faced a demanding work for all the members of the company. From the corps de ballet to soloists and principals, they were all involved in the moving story included by Cervantes in one of the chapters of his very famous novel. Another Spanish-scented ballet, Carmen, will be premiered by the CND next April in Madrid.

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Past and future are still gathered at the CND, as seen during the open dialogue between Víctor Ullate and José Carlos Martínez at the big stage of the Teatros del Canal last October. Moderated by Elna Matamoros, Ballet Master at the CND and adviser of the Loewe Foundation, the meeting brought more than an hour of cheers and memories, hopes and difficulties. It was the perfect metaphor of the project that José Carlos Martínez has brought back to the Spanish company, to which the Loewe Foundation recognizes as a soulmate and supports as its official sponsor in its artistic activity.

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Photographs: Kayoko Everhart, Lucio Vidal and Sara Fernández in Violon; Noëllie Conjeaud and Moisés Martín Cintas en Flower Festival in Genzano © Jesús Vallinas, 2014 for CND. Yae Gee Park in Don Quijote Suite © Patricio Valverde for CND, 2015. Corps de ballet in Don Quijote Suite © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.