Dance in the Museum
Bolero Dance, Heritage and Creation
The National Programme for Fostering Excellence in Scientific and Technical Research, R+D+I Project MINECO HAR2013-48658-C2-2-P
This activity is linked to the Seminar Dance, Gender and Nation 1930-1960, held in the Museo Reina Sofía from 29 September to 1 October 2016, and presents the results of the Workshop of Choreographic Research and Reconstruction: The Bolero School developed at the Conservatorio Superior de Danza María de Ávila between October 2016 and February 2017, inside the framework of the R+D+I project Dance During the Civil War and Francoism (1930–1960): Cultural Politics, Identity, Gender and Choreographic Heritage.
After conducting theoretical-practical work on dance from the bolero school between the 1940s and ‘50s, the second stage of the workshop moves into the composition of three pieces, prepared and performed by pupils from the Advanced Dance Qualification specialised in Pedagogy, Choreography and Performance, both in Spanish Dance and Classical Dance and Contemporary Dance. Professors Beatriz Martínez del Fresno, from the University of Oviedo, and Guadalupe Mera Felipe and Raquel Alarcón Saguar, from the Conservatorio Superior de Danza María de Ávila, have guided students’ reflections and experimentation so as to direct a critical approach towards historically informed strategies and decisions with respect to the choreographic heritage recovered and recreated for the occasion.
This three-way proposal will take place across three spaces in the Museo Reina Sofía, demonstrating the diverse ways of initiating dialogues between the creators and performers from the present and the sources and artistic products from the past: from the anticipation of a faithful reconstruction to the contemporary recreation executed with absolute freedom.
Raquel Alarcón Saguar has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Dance, a degree in Philosophy and Educational Sciences and an M.A. in Performing Arts. She teaches Spanish Dance Methodology and Didactics, Performance Techniques and Workshops at the Conservatorio Superior de Danza María de Ávila. As a dancer she has worked with the choreographers Antonio Gades, José Granero, Rafael Aguilar, Luisillo and Antonio Márquez, among others, and has been invited to the IDD (International Dance Day) galas to perform pieces as a bolero school soloist, for instance Puerta de Tierra, by Antonio Ruiz, and Alberto Lorca’s Intermedio de los Burladores. Her own creations include Sueño, Escenas de Ida y Vuelta, De paso… paseo and Cuestión de t(i)empo. She is part of the team from the R+D+I project Danza durante la Guerra Civil y el franquismo (1936-1960): políticas culturales, identidad, género y patrimonio coreográfico (Dance during the Civil War and Francoism (1936–1960): Cultural Politics, Identity, Gender and Choreographic Heritage).
Beatriz Martínez del Fresno is head professor at the Department of Art History and Musicology at the University of Oviedo and a specialist in twentieth-century music and dance. In 1996 at Universidad Española she opened up a new line of research on the history of dance, a field in which she has directed five national research projects. She has also coordinated the book Coreografiar la historia europea: cuerpo, política, identidad y género en la danza (2013), and currently directs the Research Group Music, Dance and Cultural Studies (MUDANZES) and is head researcher on the R+D+I project Danza durante la Guerra Civil y el franquismo (1936-1960): políticas culturales, identidad, género y patrimonio coreográfico (Dance during the Civil War and Francoism (1936–1960): Cultural Politics, Identity, Gender and Choreographic Heritage).
Guadalupe Mera Felipe is a professor of Dance Theory and History at the Conservatorio Superior de Danza María de Ávila, Madrid. She also holds a PhD from the University of Oviedo, a degree in Spanish Studies and Modern and Contemporary History from the Autonomous University of Madrid, and in Performance from RESAD. She is also a graduate in Spanish Dance from the Royal School of Dramatic Arts and Dance, Madrid. She has performed as a dancer in several Spanish dance companies and worked as a dance teacher, as well as collaborating on a range of scientific publications with contributions on the history of dance in Spain. She is also part of the R+D+I project Danza durante la Guerra Civil y el franquismo (1936-1960): políticas culturales, identidad, género y patrimonio coreográfico (Dance during the Civil War and Francoism (1936–1960): Cultural Politics, Identity, Gender and Choreographic Heritage).
* This activity would not have been possible without the support of the CSDMA team of directors and production team, and required coordination between the Dance Pedagogy and Choreography and Performance departments. We appreciate the contribution of everybody involved in the process.
Introductory words by Eva López Crevillén, director of CSDMA, Madrid.
Presentation of the activity carried out in the Workshop of Choreographic Research and Reconstruction: The Bolero School, run by professors Raquel Alarcón Saguar, Beatriz Martínez del Fresno and Guadalupe Mera Felipe.
Carlos III: bolero con cachucha, 3 mins.
The first piece presented comes into view from a process involving the search for and compiling of information, observation, analysis and reflection, culminating in the faithful reconstruction of a choreographed piece selected within the bolero repertoire performed during Franco’s dictatorship. It involves a bolero with cachucha included in a sequence from the 1952 film La estrella de Sierra Morena (The Star of Sierra Morena), directed by Ramón Torrado and starring Lola Flores. With music composed by Monreal and choreography by Goyo Reyes, this “mediated bolero” combines characteristic partner dances from the bolero school – the lead in copla folk songs – with the choreographed sketches of the dancing body present at the intermission.
Without losing sight of the stylistic, formal and choreographic characteristics of the time, a group of students from Spanish Dance has contemplated the mise en scène of the bolero, based on aspects related to the resources, number of dancers, space and wardrobe available, determining the cinematographic “emptiness” in the dance sequence and deciding upon other technical elements which inevitably distance the current bodies from the original piece.
Performers: Carmen Caballero, Cristina Cazorla, Carles Liébana, Cristina Méndez, Esther Pastor, Javier Polonio, José Rabasco, Francisco José Requena
Choreography: Goyo Reyes
Music: Genaro Monreal
Supervision: Raquel Alarcón Saguar
In this second piece, Choreography students will conduct a contemporary investigation with eight dancers from Spanish Dance, their incisive views seeking to detect those masks which the corporeality of each bolero dancer shows and hides.
During the workshop, some nineteenth-century bolero lithographs, showing stereotypical gestures and smiles, spark the interest of students. The exploration into those materials, included in the presented piece, is articulated from the outside in, from the external image of the body in its most intimate and conceivable aspects. Thus, it sets out to discover that which moves under clothing, adding and taking away elements with the aim of revealing the role they play in the body constructed both individually and socially.
In the diegetic time of La estrella de Sierra Morena the bolero scene formed part an aristocratic party, in the luxury of a room in opposition to the popular space of flamenco and copla songs. Certainly for the audience in the screening, outside of the cinema and in the grey Spain of 1952, the memories of the Civil War had not died away, despite Lola Flores presenting the country in colour on the screen.
Performers: Rocío Arrom, Marta Bonilla, María Gurría, Tamara Hurtado, Lucía Martín, Elena Pérez-Hita, Ana Picazo, Marina de Remedios
Choreography: Nuria Gil, Marcos Martincano
Music: Dan Vidal
Period wardrobe: Pacita Tomás
Duration: 15 min
The third piece sees a group of students from Choreography and Performance take the bolero school as a point of departure, before putting it through a process of change to offer a counterpoint. Through methods of contemporary creation, students have taken an interest in transforming ideas, the free treatment of steps, dynamics and stylistic elements learned, with the aim of opening up a new line of communication and aesthetic.
The initial touchstone of the piece has been to reflect upon the ideas of freedom and containment in the bolero school; thus, young contemporary creators approach a style which is present in the classrooms of the Conservatorio, which apparently possesses “blood and history” yet remains unknown to them until the beginning of the workshop. This dramatic exercise seeks to lead the audience down the rails of a historical dance towards new colours, textures, spaces, bodies and, ultimately, a different way of dancing.
Choreographers-Performers: Teresa Garzón, Elena Di Mare, Beatriz del Monte, José Ruiz, Samuel Vicente, Chema Zamora
Performers: Araceli Caro, Delaney Conway, Carlos Huerta, Judit Mateu, Teresa Royo, Marina Salom, Carlos Sánchez, Laura Sánchez
Collaboration in the Workshop: Camille Hanson and Marina Wainer
Duration: 12 min