‘Spanish Mosaic” is the title of a dance performance arriving in Israel from Madrid towards the end of the month, offering up a selection of the best of Spanish dance and music, performed by a vibrant young dance company, Larreal, composed of graduates from the Madrid Royal Conservatory of Professional Dance Mariemma.
Larreal performs all over Spain and internationally, showcasing some of the best talent in Spanish Dance mainland’s talent in choreography, movement and composition. This will be Larreal’s second appearance In Israel, the first was in 2016. Last year international performances were hosted in Italy and Mexico; and the troupe has just returned from a tour in Colombia.
The vision of Larreal, explains its director, Mar Mel, is “primarily to share our Spanish dance as far and wide as possible, enabling audiences all over the world to savor the richness of Spain’s cultural heritage.
Spanish Dance comprises the four styles represented by Larreal: Folklore, Spanish Classical Dance, the Bolero School and of course, Flamenco with its roots in Andalusia.
The very names of the choreographies Mosaico Barroco (“Baroque Mosaic”), Aquí y Ahora (“Here and Now”), Tu La Llevas (“You Lead Her”), Horizonte (“Horizon”) A La Luz (“In The Light”), De Vieja Usanza (“Old School”) and Nada Mas Y Nada Menos (“Neither More nor Less”) conjure up varying yet complementary aspects of the dances of Spain and their deeply rooted history.
Javi Moreno is one of the dancers. Attending dance lessons as a child in his home town of Meco, close to Madrid, he was told by his teacher, at the age of eight, that he should try out for the conservatory. He then spent the next four years dancing at that prestigious center after school hours, and the following six as part of its professional dance module, attending high school in the afternoons.
Moreno is thrilled to be part of the troupe that is returning to Israel to share “the essence of Spanish Dance with the Israeli public.”
Larreal’s performance covers several group choreographies as well as duos and solos.
Among the group choreographies, “Baroque Mosaic,” by Antonio Perez, is a mixture of the Bolero School “the oldest form of dance represented at the show, based on French court dances” Moreno explains, and Classical Spanish dance, accompanied by “jacaras” (Spanish instrumental music and song dating back to the 16th century). These two dance forms are traditionally separate entities, but Perez has elected to combine them to express the melting post that is Spain.
“You Lead Here” is Flamenco; “In the Light” is Spanish Classical Dance and “Neither More Nor Less” is Galician Folkloric Dance.
About coming to Israel, Moreno says that while “things are not perfect,” he and the rest of Larreal have no problem visiting, and performing in Israel and are very much looking forward to their trip and to sharing the happiness that dance brings.
Some of his musical influences are 19th century pianist Isaac Albeniz, composer of operas and the very Spanish zarzuelas; composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), a member of the nacionalismo musical (“musical nationalism”) movement; and the late, great Spanish guitarist par excellence, Paco de Lucia. Moreno’s dance greats include 20th century flamenco dancer Antonio Ruiz Soler, “El Bailarin” (“The Dancer”) and dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades (1936-2004), as well as Mariemma, founder of the Conservatory.
“When you get up on stage you put all of yourself out there, no matter what you might be feeling, what issues you might be dealing with, all that matters is making the audience happy,” he told The Jerusalem Post
Moreno feels that Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) – dancer, choreographer and precursor of mother of Modern Dance Martha Graham — best expressed what dance means to him in, “If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.”
MRC director Mel expresses these sentiments in her own words: “Dance is an integral part of my life; it is my work, my profession, my hobby, and my leisure; dance has been a wonderful companion since childhood.”
Once a professional dancer, and subsequently a dance teacher with three decades of experience, Mel’s love of this art was obvious from a young age, compelling her mother to enroll her in ballet classes.
“I remember being in the changing room, for the first time, trying to put on my new dance leotard, and not knowing which way was up,” she recalls, laughing. “Luckily, an older girl in the next stall helped me out!”
Mel credits all the talented instructors at the Conservatory with the excellence of Larreal dance troupe, “from the very first castanets classes all the way to the teachers of Classical Dance.”
“Sixty percent of the dancers of Spain’s prestigious National Dance Company are alumni of Larreal. It is a company of young dancers with a very high level of technique, youthful enthusiasm and absolute dedication to many hours of hard work,” she says.
Unfortunately, Mar will be unable to visit Israel this time, but will be represented by Ana Lopez, coordinator of Larreal, and says she “[hopes] to accompany the troupe on further visits in the future.”
Spanish Mosaic contains seven dances (four group choreographies, two solos and a “paso a dos,” or duo) each with its own choreographer, namely Perez, Emilio Ochando, Rocio Molina, Patricia Guerrero, Elvira Andres, Miguel Fuente and the choreographic duo, Rojas and Rodriguez.
The show will open at the Karmiel Festival on July 25, followed by additional performances from July 26 to 30 in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, Haifa, Herzliya, and Tel Aviv.Tickets are available for the following shows and venues: Jerusalem Theater, 26 July, 8 p.m. (www.bimot.co.il, *6226); Heichal Hatarbut, Petah Tikva July 27, 11 a.m.; Haifa Auditorium, July28 , 8 p.m. (for Petah Tikva and Haifa: www.8662244.co.il, 04-8662244); Heichal Omaniyot Habama Herzliya, July 29 (www.hoh-herzliya.co.il, 1700-702929); Tel Aviv Opera House, July 30, 8 p.m. (www.israel-opera.co.il 03-6927777). Prices: NIS 199-279.