EB: How did you undertake the transfer of a folkdance to a contemporary dance stage?
AQ: First we tried to understand some of the formal aspects: the above-mentioned frontality, clarity, verticality. We used these as our frame and departing points, we approached them with our trained dancers’ bodies. Later, we dissected the principles of flamenco dancing: the use of spirals, movement endings, isolation, dynamics, and integrated them into our improvised dancing. We translated that intensity into physical tasks and linked them with existing flamenco music. The result we were looking for is the intensity and clarity of flamenco dancing, but in the form of a less recognizable body.
It was indeed a challenge to tackle such a recognizable genre, and treat it with enough distance and respect, to both not pretend to make fun of it, and to not look ridiculous attempting to do something we can’t, or be someone we are not. We are not gypsies, we are not from the south of Spain. We understood flamenco our way, and I have come to accept that it’s the only way to approach flamenco.
EB: In contrast to most flamenco-presentation, the dancers are quite close to the audience. Why?
AQ: Flamenco singing and dancing started as improvised family parties, in homes, and later into small stages in cafes. Proximity and intimacy were key elements, common as well to the studio working periods we artists go through. We often spend months in a small space, seeing every little detail, witnessing shifts in the eyes, sensing the smell of the body, the sweat and listening the sounds the body produces. Often later, we distance too much the dancers from the viewers, and many details become too small, they get lost. We wanted to recreate this proximity, and offer the audience a very private experience. This meant a shift for us as well. We limited the space for our dancing, thickening our experience of the air, so to affect our travel on stage. The four sides surrounding audience of an 8x8 meters square forces us to be aware of every single angle of our dancing, and makes the space both compact and endless thanks to our spirals.