The theme of women’s social demands is in the air, in television, in the streets… How could it not be in dance?
These are the #metoo times. Women from all walks of life start to report abuse, and claim their rights. But what is new is perhaps that they are finally being heard. There is still a long way to go before the segregation and inequality has been overcome, but this global movement is already a milestone. Certainly, dance is the suitable poetic road to spread these ideas, and creators, or one creator in particular is taking this opportunity.
The inequality in the world of dance and music, gave inspiration to the creator Manuela Nogales. The result is Poéticas en las sombras [Poetics in the Shade], the new creation by this Andalusia-based Basque veteran. It is scheduled to premiere in autumn 2020 at the Central Theatre in Seville. It examines the links, synergies, and essences between music and dance, whilst also putting the female talent in both art forms in the spotlight.
However, Nogales is not the only one reflecting on this theme. The Madrilenian creator Milagros Galiano has been investigating the role of women in society. This concern is evident in her proposals such as Pasodoble. In it women are displayed in combat sports such as boxing, or bullfighting; something normally associated with men. Her focus is also evident in her latest piece Bruja II Akelarre [Akelarre Witch II], which dissects the different social usages of the term ‘witch’.
With a more personal perspective, the choreographer and flamenco dancer, Olga Pericet, has focused her work on her own role as a female creator. Now she has turned her gaze towards Carmen Amaya, another legendary artist, who she pays tribute to in her new proposal, Un cuerpo infinito [An Endless Body]. In it she is once again working with the stage director Carlota Ferrer.
From the perspective of another hybrid flamenco, Juana Casado takes on an openly belligerent and combative attitude in favour of women, in the performance Amazonas [Amazons]. This performance is created for her company Andanzas. She has looked towards the legendary female warriors of Ancient Greece to illustrate the demands, grievances and struggle of women for equality against the masculine dominion.
More ironically spirited is Paula Quintas, director of the Trespediante Company. In her new creation Plastic she attacks one of the most debated topics of feminist struggle. For decades the Barbie doll has been synonymous with the image society has of the perfect girl: A beauty queen made of plastic, empty on the inside. Changing this perception is at the heart of her latest choreographic proposal.
Other creators opt for emphasis of female values in an historical context, portraying the role women played in the past, or even in other societies. Such is the case of Las diosas del agua [The Goddesses of Water]. In this most recent choreography, the director of EnClaveDANZA Cristina Masson is once again allied with the Mexican writer Jeannette L. Clariond. The two go back to the Aztec world, extrapolating our current context to the myth of the Goddess Coyolxauhqui, the equivalent to our Moon. Concerned with Mexico being a country where as many as ten women are killed every day, Masson attempts to delve into the inner fabrics of Mexican culture from its tradition to modernity to find answers.
In Morocco women are associated with being the very origin, or source of life. They are at the beginning of it all. Alicia Soto’s creation El jardín de las Hespérides [The Garden of the Hesperides] revolves around this idea. Director of the Burgos company Hojarasca Danza, Alicia Soto, created this play as part of a series involving Morocco as the source of her inspiration. In Greek mythology, the Hesperides were nymphs looking after a garden whose golden fruits granted immortality. The garden was situated somewhere between Morocco and Spain. With this legend in mind, Soto has come up with a culturally mixed choreography staging dancers from both countries.
Aïda Colmenero Dïaz is another woman with a profound affection for Africa. Her play is strongly linked to this continent, and in particular to the creative potential of its female artists. From this fascination sprang to life her monumental project Ella Poema and also the Festival Africa Moment, in Barcelona. Her latest proposal, Conjurando el invisible [Conjuring the invisible], is another case in point. The play, created under the auspices of project La Noche del Patrimonio [The Night of the Patrimony] / Unesco Spain, is a song to the Earth and the beings that inhabit it. It is performed by female voices in a pray-song-mantra style.
In contrast, the Madrilenian choreographer, dancer, and teacher Mercedes Pedroche has formed her artistic and emotional ties with Medellin. Her new piece Artificios y leopardos [|Tricks and Leopards] straddles between dance and theatre. It makes the audience participate in the experience of a woman who is trapped in an endless life cycle. The myth of Sisyphus and Nietzsche’s theories about the eternal return transcend her new solo proposal.
There ought to be more, but few male choreographers are interested in portraying women’s rights. One case, though, is the young creator from Asturias, Eduardo Vallejo Pinto, who has staged The Holy Trinity with his Ogmia Company. The piece explores the significance of being a woman in this society. Similar to his former creation No Time To Rage, this new proposal has come about as the result of a series of important references traced directly to dystopian literature.