The golden age for dancers

The Larreal dance company from Spain tours Israel next month

The Larreal dance company from Spain tours Israel next month (photo credit: JESUS VALLINAS)
The Larreal dance company from Spain tours Israel next month
(photo credit: JESUS VALLINAS)
For a few magical years, before they are met with the harsh realities of the dance field, the students of Madrid’s Mariemma Dance Academy have the chance to get the best of both worlds. They are nurtured and encouraged as students are while performing as professional dancers. As an integral part of their training, select dancers from the academy become members of the Larreal dance company and, as such, gain valuable stage hours while still nestled in the academic sphere. It is in this interim place that Ana Lopez Torres, artistic director of Larreal, meets and discovers Spain’s young talent.
“One of the differences between Larreal and other companies is the age of the dancers,” explains Torres. “Our dancers are very young. They are full of vitality that seems to have no limits. I like to accompany them in this development. It is an indescribable journey.” Torres goes on to say that the specific phase in which her dancers are during their stay in the company is what makes the company special. “Our artistic projects want to present technical and interpretive challenges. Our dancers are young and enjoy the rigorousness of the workouts. They know about the sacrifices that dancing requires but, in spite of them, they still choose dance.”
Larreal was founded in 1992 as a means to motivate students as well as to give them a taste of the professional stage. Today, many major companies in Spain look to Mariemma for their future company members. Torres explains that 70% of the dancers of the National Ballet of Spain are graduates of the Mariemma Dance Academy and Larreal. “The professional environment is very complicated,” she says. “Even after years of hard work, it is hard to find placements for our students in companies where they can grow.”
But for the years that she has them, Torres tries to give her dancers all the emotional, physical and mental tools they will need to succeed once they leave her cozy nest.
Larreal will return to Israel for the second time next month with Mosaico Español. Seventeen dancers in colorful costumes will fill the stage in Haifa, Petah Tikva, Jerusalem, Karmiel (as part of the annual Karmiel Festival), Herzliya and Tel Aviv.
The production weaves together various Spanish dance styles such as folklore, bolero, flamenco and classical Spanish dance. Bringing these different streams of movement and rhythm together is one of the things that has put Larreal on the map. “Our is one of the few companies performing such a wide range of styles,” adds Torres. “Larreal’s mission includes building new audiences for dance. We see this as an important part of being a cultural institution and therefore have created performances especially for elementary schools. Larreal is well known in Spain and abroad as a company that preserves Spanish dance heritage. We honor the past but also work with young choreographers and, today, over 40 choreographers have created work for the company.”
Returning to Israel is both a challenge and an honor for Larreal. During the company’s first visit, Torres found the audience to be very open to what it has to offer. “This second tour is a gift. It’s a huge responsibility and we accept it with seriousness and a lot of hard work. Part of this program has been performed in Spain, Mexico and Colombia with success,” she says.
The Larreal dance company will present Mosaico Español on July 25 in Karmiel, July 26 at the Jerusalem Theater, July 27 in Petah Tikva, July 28 at the Haifa Auditorium, July 29 at the Herzliya Performing Arts Center and July 30 at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit