Despite being the great hallmark of Spain, flamenco, and even more the dance, has lived limited, restricted to cycles and festivals, as if it needed support and justifications to present itself to the public. With the turn of the century and the vigor of the new artists, the dance is shaking stereotypes and topics in each kick and has begun to enter alone, without tutelage, to the great scenic temples. A path that has been opened by figures such as María Pagés, Eva Yerbabuena, Olga Pericet, Israel Galván, Rocío Molina and Manuel Liñán, among others; and that it has been easier to travel outside than within Spain.
TO Israel Galván, one of the greatest and unclassifiable phenomena that the genre has given, it is raffled in theaters around the world; although in Spain it is still easier to see it in the Flamenco Biennial of Seville or in the Festival of Jerez, the great showcase of the dance that the Sevillian choreographer and dancer will close on Saturday the 9th with the premiere of The love wizard. "When we get a performance in Spain gives us a joy, we take it as a gift, because it is very rare. The majority of representations are in Europe, especially in France [en 2016 recibió la medalla de las Artes y las Letras francesa], and in Asia. In Spain we only make 10% and it is a pity because here we feel a special connection with the public ", explains Israel Galván. An unbalanced proportion that affects almost the entire sector: Rocío Molina and Olga Pericet say they work 80% of the time outside the country; while María Pagés is close to achieving a balance (60%).
In Madrid Teatros del Canal, El Dorado for many artists, is one of the few scenarios that has opened the doors to flamenco without conditions. "There are very few theaters in which the dance has a structural weight, that's why Canal is open to contemporary flamenco. There are many languages that are hybrid, you can not categorize them and separate them, "says Natalia Álvarez, director of the Canal.
"We focus on contemporary creation. It does not matter if the language used is flamenco, classical, contact or multidisciplinary techniques, but rather that it is an author, "says Àngels Margarit, choreographer and director of the Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona, another of the scenarios open to the genre that offers residencies to the creators "without establishing quotas" and without prejudices. "Everything that has become a classic has been renovating at some point," he says.
"In the Central Theater there is a discourse of inclusion of all artistic expressions and a balanced dialogue between tradition and modernity," says Manuel Llanes, responsible for this Sevillian space where the most contemporary bets of flamenco can often be seen, such as those of Israel Galván or Rocío Molina.
"The flamencos, in the field of art, when they take off the burden of wanting to be flamencos, discover a new energy. Flamenco is a very valid art because they have a right mix between technique, rhythm and soul. If we forget our fears we are very strong, "reflects Galván, a dancer and choreographer from Seville who has taken his productions to large venues such as the Teatro Real de Madrid.
Galván, with his own company since 1998, has returned to The love wizard, of Manuel de Falla, "a music that is like family music because it is the soundtrack of all neighborhood flamenco academies and to which I did not pay attention because it seemed so close to me", for its new production. "The love wizard I remember it as a marathon with many people when we did it in the Andalusian Dance Company with Mario Maya ; So now I do it just because I want to stay still with love, "jokes the artist, convinced that theaters should not be pigeonholed by genres and that the dancers offer a plus because they also make percussion with their bodies.
The work of María Pagés, With his own company since 1990, he has been crucial in the struggle of flamenco dancing to be on stage with classical ballet or contemporary dance. "In 2020 we will be 30 years as a stable and independent company. And from the beginning we have produced, managed and distributed our shows. It is a very hard work in which you must continually be risking and demonstrating your abilities at all levels, not just the artistic one, "says the choreographer and dancer who has premiered 21 productions with her company and on the 23rd presented at the Festival de Sherry An ode to time. "It seems that flamenco has to prove its worth in the cultural scene, in Spanish society there is still some resistance to accept it. Although in the last decade we have managed to overcome some barriers and get closer to the place where we should be ", reflects the dancer who has a long list of international theaters and some national ones in which they program it without the need to frame it in festivals.
"Being in a flamenco festival when they are well organized I love it, but we also have to access seasonal programming. Although for an artist to do his job well, a prior dialogue between the theater and the company is required, which in Spain can not always occur. In France, for example, you do not have to defend your technical needs; while here it is intended to reduce costs and that means not understanding the concept of the show we are doing, "explains the malagueña Rocío Molina, another one of the great names of the dance that with only 26 years, in 2010, received the National Dance in interpretation. "Some theater managers understand it, but it costs a lot. My company has had to reject actions because they wanted us to do without elements to make it cheaper. In Scream pelao, for example, we are 20 people and that has an economic value ", says Molina, who was a mother in December -the aforementioned montage created to dance pregnant- and will go on tour in April with Fallen from heaven, for which he received a Max in 2017.
Eva Yerbabuena, owner of an impeccable career with her own company since 1998 and shelves full of awards, she is convinced that the market for flamenco dancing "is very bad" in Spain. "We depend on the festivals, because outside of them, flamenco is the least programmed. Before it was the programmer or the cultural agent who went to the premieres, today it is the companies that have to call the theaters and insist on making the proposals and the work of an artist is not that. Sometimes, if you want to premiere in Madrid, you have to go to the box office. The last time I was at the Teatros del Canal was with Meat and bone in a festival, Suma Flamenca, in 2017. Then we tried, but nothing, "says the dancer who will be touring Japan this spring with Cardinal flamenco, his last montage "Is it what you have to be all your life proving who you are?" Asks the dancer and choreographer from Granada, although born in Frankfurt. In general, all dance has lost 57% of its performances since 2007, according to data from the SGAE.
One of the events that has most contributed to the independence of flamenco dancing beyond our borders is the Flamenco Festival of New York and London directed by Miguel Marín. "In Spain there are prejudices and our own culture is not valued enough, it is something old that is being overcome in recent years, but that still persists," says Marín, who has taken flamenco dancing to the Opera House in Sydney, Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York or the Sadler's Wells Theater in London. "Flamenco is an art with an intrinsic emotional intensity and that is very positive for a theater", adds the director of a festival that will begin this Thursday in New York with Shades, by Sara Baras.
Despite the difficulties, Olga Pericet -Which will premiere on May 25 at Teatros del Canal, in Madrid, An infinite body- he is optimistic about the future of flamenco dancing. "We spend more time abroad, especially in France and the United Kingdom. Canal is the first theater that has programmed us out of festivals here and I have been with the company since 2002 ", points out the bailaora and choreographer from Cordoba. "In Spain people do not know the current flamenco, it has as a reminder of what was done before and maybe that is due to a lack of interest of the programmers towards dance in general and, above all, to flamenco dance", he adds.
To the granadino Manuel Liñán He also finds it difficult to enter the theaters without the support of a festival but, since he created a company in 2010, he has made his way in Europe, especially in France. Liñán has just achieved great success, with the premiere of Live! in Teatros del Canal, a complicated assembly with seven bailaores transformed into bailaoras that has been possible thanks to the nine-month residency he has had in the Canal. "We need the festivals to get to know us abroad and, from there, to enter the circuit," explains Liñán who received the National Dance in 2017 and Live!, his seventh editing, is the "most ambitious in terms of production, but the simplest and most honest idea".