Spanish Federation of Dance Companies Network
2021 yearbook by Contemporary dance Trends
Group La bolsa Foto: Tristán Pérez Martín
Antonio Ruz Foto: Agustín Hurtado
We present the enormous variety of contemporary dance in Spain.

Although it arrived late, contemporary dance in Spain is coming of age. In the late eighties it barely existed outside North America where the avant-garde pioneers strived to make classics out of the art form. A lot of the companieswho were young at that time lost their way for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, quite a few withstood the early struggle and have become celebrated, seasoned companies.Some of them now look back to reflect on their past.

Twenty years and over thirty productions attest to the tenacity of the dance company Fernando Hurtado from Nerja.

In celebration of their two decades in performing dance, the creator has staged his new choreography

LO(W) COS(T) (POR BAILAR)[‘(Low Cost)/Crazy About Dance’].In this performance he not only reflects on the passing of time, oron what he would have changed in the past, but also on what the company has achieved in the past twenty years.

Two decades is also what has passed since Mariantònia Oliver left Barcelona and returned to her native Mallorca.There she has carved out a career not only as a creator, but also as a dance manager and promotor. It is also where she got the idea for her emblematic creations staging women in their sixtiesLas muchas[‘The Many (Women)’] andLas muchísimas[‘The Very Many (Women)’]. This year in particular, she has turned to look back in celebration of her company’s anniversary with the repositioning of the performance for family audiences nOufrom 2010.She has also brought back her former success La Continua[‘Keeping It Up’] from 2011.She has not staged it as a new version, but rather as a revision of the very piece that defined her career. The opening night is scheduled for October 2021 in Palma de Mallorca, her hometown.

Another company to have existed for more than 20 years is the Contemporary Ballet of Burgos, run by Alberto Estébanez. He has paid homage to the centenary of Miguel Delibes with his new creation MD Soy como un arból[‘MD I’m Like a Tree’]. This performance has been choreographed by Inés Boza, who was a pioneer of contemporary dance with her company SenZaTempo. This was in fact one of the historic groupings in Barcelona that stopped its activity.  In this new playInés Boza makesthe literary world of Delibes materialize on stage, but without overlooking elements of her ecological conscience and feminist outlook.

Staying true to time makes for an awesome aesthetic show. The two very distinct plays, the duet La desnudez[‘The Nudity’], and the solo El Hijo[‘The Son’], share a tremendous formal beauty, and are both illustrative of the personal universe of the Tenerife-born creator, Daniel Abreu.

His plays are the mature outcome of a long career path on the national stage, throughout which he has created his own imagination.Meticulously he has cultivated a gardenthat is now flourishing in all its splendour. In the duet he accompanies Dácil González, a ballerina of many talents, as well as a true companion and fellow adventurer.

Apart from creators, institutions have also consolidated. The Choreographic Centre La Gomera, from the Canary Isles, is one of them. Amongst the many activities developed by this dance institution is worth mentioning those of its resident company run by veteran creators Martín Padrón and Gregory Auger. They are active with their shared choreographiesShould They May Be,in which they address the needs of human beings to express themselves, tell stories and transmit emotions.They have also prepared the diptych made up by theThe Show Must Go On? and El contexto, el sujeto y lo demás[‘The Context, the Subject, and the Rest’], about Vivaldi’s music.

Another place of special significance to dance in the Canary Islands is the Victoria Theatre in Tenerife.This is where Roberto Torres has taken his pioneering company Nómada. During the confinement he was the sole resident in the theatre. This made him realise that he had danced for others, or made others dance for him, but he had never created something truly for himself. Thus, he set out to create El Pastor [‘The Shepherd’]. In this solo he reflects on our, at times deceitful, leaders, who in times of difficulty such as the present momentrise as guidesor shepherds for the people.

 

Physicality

Without a doubt, as goes with just about everything, physicality is a genuine concern for many of the Spanish contemporary dance companies. After all, the very essence of the discipline lies in the physical aspect, in the capacity, resistance, and poetics of the body. It may seem obvious, but the creative possibilities offering to explore physicality truly abound.

In 2018 Carlos González and Seth Buckley foundedthe Eyas Dance Project as a creative platform of enrichment shared amongst dancers, choreographers, and visiting artists. Their new creation Hit, bearing the hallmarks of both of them, is a physical creation par excellence inspired by the strategy of cardiovascular training. This training permits them to explore different speeds of the body as well as procure a sensorial experience in which to observe them.

Embarking from the idea that dance is a flow that appears after an initial impulse, the Madrid-based Italian creator Annika Pannitto, once again accompanied by Elisa D’Amico, has created Una serie di virtuosismi. In reality, the performance had its origin in 2012, when the two artists began a physical investigation of movement. They focused on the construction of their own language, something that is also the goal of the creator Carmen Macías.

This Canarian artist continues her long investigation initiated in 2013 in search of her own vocabulary to offer a reflective vision of human nature. In her new creation Habitareshe tries to capture the connection between body and space. The point of departure is from the question: how does one become acclimatised? The proposal evolves from the relations we establish with the space we inhabit; something not too different from how animals adapt to their environment.

From their recent location in Galicia where they have operated for the past two years, Colectivo Glovo came into being in 2016 as a union of sensitivities between the Spanish woman Esther Latorre and the Portuguese man Hugo Pereira. Recently they created En.Ma,a play heavily influenced by the spirit and aestheticism of Japan. The play is propped up by research of subcutaneous acoustics, and how they play with vibration as a manipulative element.

Many postmodern artists from the seventies werealways attentive to physicality and paid special attention to the potential for dance as a customary habit. Since then, our routine movements have been reinvented as choreography by quite a few creators, amongst others Miguel Tornero and Miguel ÁngelPunzano.

As the title indicates, The Walk, a new creation for their artistic and pedagogic project, Tejido conectivo [‘Connective Tissue’], from Madrid, is about a poetic look at the everyday act of walking, which here appears resized, both physically and metaphorically.

Nothing is more physical than sport, which, contradictorily, is usually seen as the total opposite of dance. At times though, one should perhaps rather see it as an addition.

However, few people see a clear connection between the tennis player Rafael Nadal and dance, except maybe for the Venezuelan dancer and creator Ángel Garcés. Based in Las Palmas, he started off showing a friend how to imitate the obsessions of the tennis player. This act has now become the choreography Vamos[‘Let´s Go’]. It isbased entirely on the physical vocabulary developed as a strategy by the famed sportsman; something that Garcés has now turned into a dance technique.

 

Andalusians in pursuit

The exhaustive research that transcends a creation, the search for distinguishing marks of identity, as well as the need to experiment to reach the desired objective, are all concerns fora significant part of the dance creators and performersin Andalusia today.

Although based in Seville, where the Presidency of the Andalusian Dance Association (PAD) has been situated since 2019, Natalia Jiménez appears as a member of the La Bolsa Group from Barcelona. This group of artists share an interest in the exploration of the tools for instantaneous composition.  Their most recent work, Aula[‘Classroom’], is a site-specific piece intended for a university classroom.On the one hand, the location alludes to the fields of knowledge as a sign of progress, whereas, on the other, it ironically alludes to the scarce presence of dance-related university studies in our country.

On his part, Miguel Marín, is a notable composer devoted to the cause of dance.He is ever-present with his music, and at times his body, in the productions of numerous companies throughout Andalusia, the rest of our country, as well as beyond our nationalborders. He upholds an already historic collaboration with the company by the choreographer and Sevillian dancer, Teresa Navarrete, with whom he has staged many of his creations. In the most recent, Wanted, Navarrete and Marín ventured forth with Guillermo Weickert and María Cabeza de Vaca in charge of their creation. Thesetwo friends have not only been close to their project, they are also veteran creators on the Andalusian stage of new dance.

Former dancers from the Batsheva Company in Israel, the Andalusian Mario Bermúdez Gil, and Catherine Coury have settled in Vilches, near Jaén, the home town of their company Marcat Dance. Their work has a subtle, evocative, and poetic touch exemplified in works such as Anhelo, or Adama. It is also evident in their newest creation Huesos de Madera [‘Wooden Bones’], in which, for the first time, they focus on a very concrete social theme. Thus, the new piece wants to pay homage to the abnegation and devotion of caregivers; those who silently dedicate their lives to attending their sick ones.

 

May music sound

Of all the art forms, music is the most faithful ally to support dance. It seems logical that quite a few creators dedicate themselves to research, explore, expand, and find creative solutions to underline and reaffirm this fruitful connection.

The Cordovan choreographer AntonioRuz’s fascination for music is well known.

As owner of an eclectic catalogue of plays created for his company,the National Ballet of Spain, and even the National Dance Company, there is a clear line in his interest for the intrinsic relationship between music and dance. Signos [‘Signs’] can well be understood as dramatized concerts, or in the latest case choreographed viola recitals. It came to life as the result of the violist Isabel Villanueva’s desireto work with the choreographer, who, in this performance, dances again. It is a delicate and poetic play that shows the possible harmony between classical and contemporary music.

 

Duo2arts!is a young company born from the encounter between the classically trained dancer Sherezade Soriano and the tuba musician José Martínez. In their proposals they search for equilibrium where music is not a mere accompaniment to dance.

After their peculiar version of Romeo and Juliet, the two creators have now come up with Historias de juventud[’Youthful Stories’],an evocative proposal about the inquisitiveness of adolescents.

True to their slogan, the Eva Guerrero Company founded in 2013, includes live music in their new creation Gorputzu. This piece talks about the search for equilibrium and sprang to life from the research about the use of the body in religious rituals. As is also common in their work, there is a female predominance in their proposal. Moreover, the special mixture between dance and speech from their previous works also persists.

The David Segura Company has the peculiarity of fusing two styles often considered antagonistic.In their proposals communication flows between classical dance and breakdance. A chance meeting in Finlandbetween the classical dancer Pepa Martín and thebreaker David Segurawas the event that marked the beginning of this hybrid collaboration. Today it has been formalized as a company from which has sprung Manipulación[‘Manipulation’], a creation in both street and hall versions. It explores and delves into the possible synergy between both languages.

 

Everything goes

Arefrigerator, a puddle, the figure of a hero, new technologies, or even Spain during Rajoy, contemporary dance has no limits. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of sources, nomatter how seemingly absurd. With ingenuity and talent everything existent or non-existent can be converted into good choreography.

The young Catalan creator Arnau Pérez has started a new Madrilenian company where he combines his practical experiences of urban dance with his studies in contemporary dance. He tends to contemplate everyday objects and convert them into a dance discourse. For example, in his creation LP he uses a vinyl record, and as of late a refrigerator in his performance about to premiere called Fridge.

Elías Aguirre has come far in his research about the “invisible nature”. In all of his dance pieces, his interest in studyingand developing patterns from the natural world shines through. His common themes includeapplying the forms of movement by insects, and their collective behaviour in small ecosystems. Examples of this personal aesthetics is evidenced in plays such as 87 grillos[’87 Crickets’], Pez Esfinge[‘Sphinx Fish’] orInsectoPrimitivo[‘Primitive Insect’].All of these themes now find continuity in Empusa Poemand its derivativeFlowershead,in which four dancers transformed into undefined insects move as critter in their own little pond.

The possibilities of linking dance to new and sophisticated technologies are the beaming light that guides the productions of Instituto Stocos. This Madrilenian company, led by Muriel Romero and Pablo Palacio, createsvisually stunning plays supported always by innovative technological tools that procure a sensorial trip for the spectator. The most recent productions by the company are the solo Oecumene, danced by Romero on a surface of interactive technology, and the transdisciplinary group proposalEl matrimonio del cielo y el infierno[‘Marriage in Heaven and in Hell’],based on a play by William Blake.

 

 

The choreographer and dancer Javier Arozena joined forces with the architect Gino Senesito create his company, which moves freely within the realms of contemporary, performance, and physical theatre. Their plays explore the relationship between body, ambience, architectural space, and territory. The most recent performance, Der Held (Schwanengesang),is a solo evolving around the character of the hero, this extraordinary being who has to represent the appreciated values of society. This, in turn, makes the hero carry a heavy burden, as explained in the words of Uncle Ben when he said to his colleague Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

 

 

With irony and a sense of humour, Irene García’s latest creation Spain Is Pain deals with her own interpretation of Spain during Mariano Rajoy’s presidency.

The director of the company La Quebrá has come up with her own delirious monologue and dance inspired by Rajoy’s term in office. In it she forges a working relationship between the ex-president and dance.Logically,she has assumed the perspective of surrealism, possibly the only viable prismfrom which to describe it.

A cross between contemporary dance and relevant social work is verified, in turn, in the creations of integrated dance companies throughout our country.

The Fritsch Company is worth mentioning in this respect. This professional company from the Maite León Psycho-Ballet Foundationpursues integration and work opportunities for dancers with physical, psychic, developmental, sensory, or intellectual diversity; alltrained from this centre in Madrid. It has the same artistic level as any other of the companies cited in this magazine and stages performances on a great variety of themes.

 

Sin par[‘Without Equal’],the most recent of its performances, gathers a group of short pieces, the result of its members’ creative processes.

In anattempt toshed light on coexistence in society and sustainability, the dancer and choreographer María Jesús de los Reyes Manzano has created the association EMAE, which is also a platform for their artistic and creative proposals.

Their collective choreography Ustedestáaquí, con todas[‘You Are Here, With All the Girls’]is an original creation with active dance participation by the audience,who dance alongside her.

 

 

 

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