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The Ballet Nacional de España is giving four performances at the Centre Cultural Terrassa on 12, 13 and 14 February. These performances had to be postponed twice due to the temporary closure of cultural venues in March and November last year. Seating capacity is reduced by 50% and some performances are on earlier in order to comply with the night curfew set at 10:00 pm.

The show Invocación, included in the 38th BBVA de Danza season, to be performed by the Ballet Nacional de España, gives an overview of Spanish dance as it includes most of its styles, from escuela bolera to stylised dance and flamenco. It features the choreographies by Rubén Olmo Invocación bolera and Jauleña; Antonio Najarro’s Eterna Iberia; and De lo flamenco. Homenaje a Mario Maya by Mario Maya, Milagros Menjíbar, A. Rueda ‘Toná’, Manolo Marín, Isabel Bayón and Rafaela Carrasco. Designed by Rubén Olmo, this is also the first time that the public company includes in its repertoire a choreography by Mario Maya, a superb bailaor, choreographer and master who died in 2008. His genius and sensitivity have made Mario Maya a leading figure in the world of Spanish dance. He was a pioneer who penned bold and groundbreaking productions as well as one of the most tireless researchers of our time.

“With De lo flamenco in 1994, Mario Maya refreshed the way flamenco is done and felt on the stage, particularly with a great dance company. This staging, first performed by Compañía Andaluza de Danza, current Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, of which he was its first director, was a turning point because of its stylisation, freshness, and movement. Even today it is still innovative and completely different from the rest”,  Rubén Olmo says.

This production of De lo flamenco presented by the Ballet Nacional de España includes two new choreographies that have been created by two regular collaborators of Mario Maya: Romance del emplazado, by Rafaela Carrasco; and Taranto, by Isabel Bayón. In addition, Manolo Marín’s choreography Los cinco toreros has also been included. The music was composed by Diego Carrasco, Jesús Torres, Moraíto Chico, and Los del Río and will be played live by Ballet Nacional de España’s cuadro flamenco, plus three guest cantaores.

Rubén Olmo has aimed at reproducing Mario Maya’s suite flamenca in full detail and so has counted on Manuel Betanzos, repetiteur master in De lo flamenco, and Mariana Ovalle, the choreographer’s widow, who allowed him to see the artist’s personal files. Costumes have also been hand-painted just like the original ones and artist Juan Andrés Amaya has replicated Maya’s designs.

Invocación bolera is one of the few recent escuela bolera compositions. Rubén Olmo has updated the traditional essence of this style, one of the most characteristic, complex, and unique of Spanish dance styles, which emerged in the 18th century as a result of combining Andalusian popular dances with academic dance. At the same time, it is a tribute to those great masters who have set the standard in the escuela bolera style, from Ángel Pericet to Mariemma or Antonio el Bailarín. Music is also a contemporary composition for this piece as the Ballet Nacional de España commissioned it to the young Sevillian composer and conductor Manuel Busto. The costumes were designed by Pedro Moreno for Ballet Nacional de España’s production Fandango del Padre Soler in 1988 and were adapted by the designer for this show. 

Invocación includes a choreography by Antonio Najarro, former director of the Ballet Nacional de España, that was premiered in May 2019 at the Auditorio y Centro de Congresos Víctor Villegas in Murcia. Eterna Iberia is a stylised dance ballet featuring traditional elements of Spanish dance such as the cape, castanets and the Cordovan hat. Yaiza Pinillos’s sophisticated costumes represent the wealth of our territory through the use of blue, green, and crimson in reference to three of our riches: the sea, the olive tree, and the wine.  The music was originally composed by Manuel Moreno Buendía in 1963 for the ballet Eterna Castilla, commissioned by Antonio Ruiz Soler, and later released as a suite with the title Celtiberia. 

In addition to directing the whole show, Rubén Olmo also performs his choreography Jauleña with music by Manuel Busto played by the Orquesta de Extremadura. It is a transition solo that intertwines several styles inspired by the cultural diversity of Granada, with zapateado and granaína featuring prominently. Costume design is by Rosa García Andújar.

The Ballet Nacional de España first performed Invocación on 7 February 2020 in the  closing ceremony of the Festival de Jerez  and since then, it has been performed in Albacete and Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid). After Terrassa, it will travel to Pamplona in May.