The National Ballet of Spain is inspired by the photographic universe of Ruven Afanador

The National Ballet of Spain is inspired by the photographic universe of Ruven Afanador

The National Ballet of Spain returns to the Teatro Real in Madrid with its new show that premiered in December in Seville“Afanador”, a surreal look at flamenco inspired by the particular photographic universe of the Colombian living in New York, Ruven Afanador. A show with a clear avant-garde spirit inspired by his books, “Mil Besos” (2009) and “Ángel gitano” (2014), which integrate in a very personal way the image of flamenco in contemporary visual language and have been the starting point of the choreographer Marcos Morau, director of the La Veronal company and National Dance Award winner in 2013, when conceiving this show. “Inspired and fascinated by these books, I could not limit myself to copying so much beauty. Ruven Afanador's masterful photo sessions in Andalusia are unrepeatable, as is the alchemy that occurred there between the photographer and figures of the charisma of Israel Galván, Matilde Coral, Eva Yerbabuena, José Antonio or Rubén Olmo himself, director of the National Ballet . My journey begins where those sessions end,” says Morau, who recounts the “major surprise” he received about three years ago when he offered the job to Olmo and discovered that he had also participated in the Afanador sessions for his book “Ángel Gitano.” ”. “With them I have tried to make a reinterpretation of his work and a reading from my point of view as a creator of the 21st century.”

Between February 9 and 11, the Real will offer four performances of “Afanador” - on Saturday the 10th in a double session - with 34 dancers from the National Ballet of Spain, with its director Rubén Olmo among them, and the artistic direction of Marcos Morau, who for his scenographic proposal has had the collaboration of the playwright Roberto Fratini and the choreographers Lorena Nogal, Shay Partush, Jon López, all members of La Veronal.

Ruven Afanador (Bucaramanga, 1959) is known above all for his work in the world of fashion and as a portraitist of great personalities. The author of covers for magazines such as "Vogue", "Elle", "Vanity Fair" and "Rolling Stone", has always felt a passion for Spain, bullfighting and flamenco... and in books such as “Mil Besos” and “ Ángel Gitano”, explores the aesthetics and expression of female and male bodies from a perspective foreign to any customs and using an absolutely contemporary vision that wants to turn clichés on their head. “In flamenco, Afanador finds all the emotions of the human being and through it reflects his intimate passions,” explains Marcos Morau, who with this starting point, returned to those photo sessions to build “a dream world that reflects on the connection that exists between the composition of photography and that of choreography and reinterprets the original proposal, forcing the dancers to express themselves with a different language, and assuming the risk of facing the future from tradition. “Photography is about framing and isolating everything else, something Afanador does very well,” says the choreographer. “It happens that we see a photo as something static but it is full of movements, color, suggestions and rhythms. In his work, Afanador activates mechanisms so that you see characters and situations. My job was to organize all that and create a photo session.” For Morau, “the photographer observes flamenco through a distorting lens, made of dream, desire and memory.” The choreographer explains: “I studied photography and I am the grandson of a photographer. Although I never dedicated myself to it professionally, I always had it very present in my work as a world creator and stage director. With his impressive work of staging and evocation of the image, Ruven Afanador has prompted me to reflect on the vital kinship between photographic and choreographic composition: the carnal challenge that is, in both, to capture life – that, which, by definition, does not "he lets himself be captured," it means.

As Roberto Fratini explains, “Afandor approaches, from desire, the multiverse of Andalusian folklore, each scene is based on an iconic image of the photographer.” Electronic music, mining music, seguiriya, threshing songs or echoes of Holy Week, move the dance, accompany it, awaken the memory of black and white snapshots. “As if he were dreaming about it, he lets the lapses, the delusions, the subconscious of flamenco, his drives of eros and death, the undocumentable truths of him emerge. He winds it in a thousand amplifications like a grotesque and sumptuous world, an unthinkable body of shadow and light. While he looks into the abyss of flamenco, he allows himself to be looked at by it,” concludes Fratini.