Joaquín Cortés
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments

 

"I feel obliged to help younger generations, because in my day nobody helped me out"

 


Joaquín Cortés, bailaor. Interview

“I think flamenco, like dance in general,
is going through a rough patch, and there's a
lack of quality around”

Silvia Calado. Madrid, August 2004
Translation: Gary Cook
Photos: Daniel Muñoz

Joaquín Cortés is proud to be “an innovator creating a new artistic movement based on fusion”. And the fact is that the dancer and choreographer from Córdoba considers blending styles “the way to get flamenco worldwide acceptance and recognition.” And he should know. ‘Pasión Gitana’ is the most widely-seen Spanish show in the world, and the critically-acclaimed ‘Live’ is headed the same way, with a packed schedule of shows programmed from here to who knows when. At the same time, he's branching out in another direction, taking on the role of director and patron to promising newcomers. He just founded the Gitana Cortés Company, launched with the show ‘De amor y odio’. A view to ending his career as a dancer also motivated this project: “I have to start to think about retirement now, and about making way for youngsters.”


Joaquín Cortés with 'De amor y de odio' poster
 
   

What goals did you set yourself as director and producer of projects such as the Gitana Cortés Company?

Gitana Cortés is a company which was conceived with the aim of showcasing our country's promising newcomers. I feel obliged to help younger generations, because in my day nobody helped me out. My intention is for this company to gain worldwide recognition, to travel all over the world and for great figures to emerge from it - figures who will go on to represent Spain around the globe.

Why did you decide to make a commitment to promoting new talent?

Like I already said, I feel an obligation to do so. I have to start to think about retirement now, and about making way for youngsters. But I want to offer them a chance to take their talent around the world as part of this dance company. Right now, there's no company in Spain that travels around the world and represents our country. I feel very proud that, thank God, things are going so well for me that I can afford to do so.

How would you define the artistic concept of the Gitana Cortés Company?

The show we're doing now, ‘De amor y odio’ (Of love and hate), already premièred in Milan, Rome, Kiev, Moscow, Lisbon and Oporto, is a reflection of the world we're living in: wars, starvation, hatred, chaos, stress, sex just for the sake of it... where there's almost no room for love, but it's out there somewhere. In this production, following my trend as an artist, I play with the fusion of styles. Classical, contemporary and flamenco dance are mixed together. It's a superproduction that almost adopts the style of the large-scale musicals, with mobile screens, projection of images, harnesses which suspend the dancers in mid-air... And, as always, the wardrobe is by my great friend Giorgio Armani - for the last ten years I asked him to do the costume for every show.

What position does flamenco hold here? How does it relate to the other languages you use?

 
"Flamenco is the starting point because it's something that runs in my veins, but my professional training goes beyond flamenco"

It's a fusion of styles, like what I did for the last five years. I was an innovator creating a new artistic movement based on fusion. Of course, flamenco is the starting point because it's something that runs in my veins, but my professional training goes beyond flamenco and that's clear in my productions.

How do you think these other languages are causing flamenco to evolve?

Through fusion I found a way to get flamenco worldwide acceptance and recognition. I broke down the boundaries and took flamenco to parts of the world where nobody ever dreamed of taking it before. And there are many others, not just in the world of dance, but also in music, who are doing likewise.

How do you rate the current flamenco dance scene?

I think flamenco, like dance in general, is going through a rough patch, and there's a lack of quality around.

What position does flamenco occupy on the international dance circuit?

Right now it's the only thing people know about outside of Spain. There's no other dance company in Spain with international acclaim.

Joaquín Cortés

How would you weigh up the long-running 'Live' tour?

It's been a hard tour, but it allowed me to visit countries I never performed in, and we're still getting bookings in. It's strange, but I still don’t know when it'll end.

Are you working on any new projects with a leading role yourself?

I just finished producing and directing a new company and spent a year preparing ‘De amor y odio’ - give me a break! Right now all my effort is concentrated on this new company, and I'm still busy with the show ‘Live’ - the tour goes on and in September I present it in New York. Right now I really have no time.

Lastly, a thought for Antonio Gades. What did he mean to you and to your generation of bailaores?

I can't speak for the others, but I can tell you that I felt a deep sense of loss - well, I know it was a great loss for Spain. A great artist just left us, a hard worker and a fighter if there ever was one, and the only one to carry flamenco over to the scenic arts. I think he left behind a great legacy for the new generations: his work and, for me, his masterpiece, his most fully-rounded work, ‘Bodas de Sangre’.

More information:

Joaquín Cortés launches the Gitana Cortés Company

The Joaquín Cortés website at Flamenco-world.com: news, forthcoming events, shows, photos, DVDs, CDs

magazine@flamenco-world.com

 
 
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