Leonor Leal: «Tattooing music defines the body that writes in space and draws in the air»

The flamenco dancer Leonor Leal (Jerez de la Frontera, 1980) brings a unique vision of her art to the show she brings to the Cuyás Theater on January 29, entitled 'Nocturno'. Leal has a solid background in classical and spanish dance that inspire you in your dance. Its versatility allows it to adapt to diverse contexts and face new challenges in his constant evolution as an artist.

Deconstruct the Flamingo it is the expression with which he defines his current creative moment. What does it consist of?

For me, more than a deconstruction in the sense of destroying, in reality I always start by removing things to discover what the essence is or what I need. In the case of this show, Night, I decide to remove elements that, a priori, seem essential for flamenco, such as cante, which represents the structure or architecture of the dance. In other words, in this show, rather than deconstruct, I try to eliminate essential elements to see how I can dance without them. I have focused the last few years of my work on this because the spectacle of Night It has guitar, percussion and dance, but without any singer or singer.

Do you think that the spirit, the duende and the expressiveness of flamenco need progressive experimental action to preserve their interest?

I think you really don't need anything other than what each performer needs to discover at any given time. I think it's not so much a question of flamenco itself as of the performer, who has his needs, his concerns and needs to carry them out. We cannot be tied to responding to one another's ways. We start from a common language and common structures. I think it is the obligation of each artist to follow their nature.

And what would yours be?

Search, discover, remove items to see if they were as essential as you thought. In my case it's always a bit of what if this isn't there? A bit like in times of crisis where you suddenly realize that you don't need so many things. On a creative level, that's what I'm always trying to do because I realize that creativity is really sparked when you're missing elements. You discover that you can mix what you have or that this can serve you in substitution for the other. In the end, it acquires an identity that is also very personal and very new.

In the definition of his art, he uses expressions as exciting as that of tattoo with his body the music in the air. What does this metaphor mean?

It means that the body writes in space and draws in the air. We have a speech that, however ephemeral it may be, is somehow being written on the ground, in the sound and in things that are not so obvious. For example, when I was little, the first time I was taken to the theater to see a classical ballet performance, what caught my attention the most was the footsteps and dragging of the ballerinas' pointe shoes as they ran from one place to another. other. It was like a little sound that is there and it is not the dance itself and watching dance videos that feeling is not there, that of the shoes that creak when they are moving on stage. That caught my attention because I did not imagine that it was heard. It is a way of seeing sound, of making it visualize through movement. For me, tattooing the movement in the air means that we are telling something with it, it is seen and heard.

"In 'Nocturno' I eliminate elements, in principle, basic for flamenco, such as cante"


Do you think that an expression as different and ancestral as that of flamenco dance needs renovations and updated?

Flamenco is made up of very different people. He does not speak flamenco but his interpreters who tell different things. It doesn't seem like something so ancient to me but rather it has always been in constant movement and, moreover, it has also combined the current with the ancient. I think that when people refer to this it represents more the popular or traditional. I think that the temporary coexistence of something that has been done many times and is installed with the new has happened in flamenco from the beginning. It is very difficult for us to understand it because we believe that there is a chronology in the way of understanding this dance since, first it was one way and then it evolved, but it is not like that, traditions have always coexisted in flamenco.

Weave a route in insomnia Accompanied by a couple of instrumentalists, it is a poetic image that makes one hope for a flamenco intellectual or culturalist. How do these purposes permeate the public?

I don't think that when the public sees it they feel an academic, intellectual or very brainy concept. I think that in the end the public perceives the music and the movement, feels or does not feel. These are different words to define something that is enjoyed in this art of dance, music and sensations.

Flamenco art, which has always inspired the great poets and plastic artists, seems to be going through an expansive phase despite the pandemic. How would you define your contribution to this great moment?

I don't know if it is expanding, but it has always maintained a very strong interest, especially outside of Spain. With the pandemic, all the problems of flamenco have come to light. I think the artists are suffering a lot right now. With the 2008 crisis they felt a drop in work, but by having many performances abroad we were saved. Now, in this global crisis, flamenco is experiencing significant precariousness.

As an award-winning and nominated artist in various competitions, are you aware of developing a new flamingo?

Throughout your career you realize that you need to continue, that you need to see yourself and be aware of what you are doing over time, which is quite long. You cannot realize what you have done in a year or two without looking back and seeing what your project is ahead. What I am most aware of is not so much what I am contributing and meaning but how important it is to stay in the job for the long term to really discover for yourself what you have been doing and what your sense of yourself has been. . I'm 41 years old and I started traveling with different companies when I was 20. I opened mine in 2008 and I haven't stopped until now. I myself am realizing that it is very important to stay. Being a novelty in the flamenco market is quite easy when you feel strongly about it and you're physically well, between 25 and 35 years old, when you also have a lot of time to dedicate yourself fully to something because you don't normally have family responsibilities. There it is easy to do something that surprises or that people find appealing because it is new. If you continue to work, you really see your lines of interest. The real challenge for the artist is to maintain himself and continue to grow, once he has shown that he is capable of participating in festivals and important theater programs. For me the last few years and from now on are the most important stage because people already know what my style is like and I have to evolve.

Who are the poets, dancers and singers that inspire your deconstruction?

It has inspired me and continues to be done by many people who are close to flamenco and handle many materials that, perhaps, the artist does not have so close at hand. For example, in the 1970s it was Juan de Loxa, a poet from Granada who always spoke of flamenco as avant-garde and equated it with any art. He mixed a copla, with some seguidillas, with contemporary music of the moment and with the plastic arts. He was a great inspiration for many artists, a mobilizer of flamenco for his global ideas. Today I am very inspired by a person very similar to Loxa, Pedro G. Romero, a plastic artist and exhibition curator who interrelates materials very well and can give you many clues. I think that these figures have always been in the shadows because it is not the artists who give light to these materials. Very little is said about these people whom everyone calls when, for example, the title is needed for an album or a show and they are a kind of intellectual patron who is very useful to us.

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