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Storm Filomena did not prevent Ballet Nacional de España from putting on Invocación on 23 and 24 January 2021 at the Teatro Mira in Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid. The theatre’s seating capacity has been adapted to the 75% currently in force in Comunidad de Madrid as a safety measure against Covid-19. Also, all the dancers and the creative team will take an antibody test the day before the first performance.

The show to be performed at the Teatro Mira in Pozuelo closed the latest Festival de Jerez in March 2020. Invocación, designed by Rubén Olmo, director of the Ballet Nacional de España, offers a global vision of Spanish dance, including most of its styles, from escuela bolera to flamenco. It is made up of Rubén Olmo’s choreographies Invocación bolera and Jauleña; Eterna Iberia by Antonio Najarro; and De lo flamenco. Homenaje a Mario Maya by Mario Maya, Milagros Menjíbar, Manolo Marín, Isabel Bayón and Rafaela Carrasco. “It’s quite a comprehensive programme and we’ll enjoy a flamenco that’s full of life and power on the stage, a ballet in the purest stylised dance and one of the few recent escuela bolera choreographies”, Rubén Olmo said.

With Invocación bolera Rubén Olmo has brought the essence of traditional escuela bolera up to date, in addition to paying tribute to the great masters who established the direction to be followed in this style, which emerged in the 18th century: Mariemma, Ángel Pericet and Antonio el Bailarín. He commissioned an original score from Manuel Busto. The composer and conductor has also penned Jauleña, a transition solo that intertwines several styles, from flamenco to stylised dance and escuela bolera, created and performed by Rubén Olmo.

The first part of the programme is rounded off with Eterna Iberia, a stylised dance ballet created by Antonio Najarro and first performed by the Ballet Nacional de España in 2019. It uses traditional elements of Spanish Dance like the cape and the Cordovan hat. The music was originally composed by Manuel Moreno Buendía for Antonio Ruiz Soler’s ballet Eterna Castilla  and was later released as a suite with the title Celtiberia.

Invocación is the first show to include a work by Mario Maya in the repertoire of the Ballet Nacional de España. Maya is one of the great masters of contemporary Andalusian flamenco “With De lo flamenco, Mario Maya refreshed in 1994 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 stated.

The Ballet Nacional de España’s production of De lo flamenco includes two new choreographies created by two regular collaborators of Mario Maya: Romance del emplazado by Rafaela Carrasco, and Taranto by Isabel Bayón. The programme also includes Manolo Marín’s choreography Los cinco toreros.

Mariana Ovalle, the bailaor’s widow, was an advisor to Rubén Olmo during the preparation so that they kept as close to the original as possible. Artists who were part of the original cast have also collaborated, as for example the repetiteur master Manuel Betanzos or musician Diego Carrasco. The costumes are a replica of the original and were hand-painted by Juan Andrés Maya.