Rafaela Carrasco
'La música del cuerpo'. Teatro Villamarta de Jerez, March 3rd 2003
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Rafaela Carrasco
Biography and readers' comments

“Flamenco has the wealth and the openness to be able to try out other types of cultures”


Rafaela Carrasco, bailaora. Interview

“The experience doesn't make your dancing change,
but makes you yourself change inside,
and that has to be noticed on the outside”

Silvia Calado. Jerez, June 2004
Translation: Joseph Kopec
Photos: Daniel Muñoz

Rafaela Carrasco is one of the most outstanding representatives of avant-garde flamenco dancing. The Sevillian bailaora is of the kind who do not conform, of the kind who fly, who are constantly searching. After being a member of the Andalusian Dance Company, the Mario Maya Company and completing her training in Madrid as a soloist, she established her own company. ‘La música del cuerpo’ (‘Body Music’) was her letter of introduction, a show which won all the prizes in Madrid's Choreographic Contest. Her performance at the 2004 Jerez Festival made the critics and public agree, simply by dancing through malagueñas. Following a rich creative phase, she returns to the stage with new proposals of her own, one of which is shared with Belén Maya and entitled ‘Fuera de los límites’ (‘Beyond the Limits’). This is the restlessness of a bailaora with no strings attached.

Rafaela Carrasco

Summarize your professional career for us...

I started dancing typical things, sevillanas, when I was six years old. Once I got to the point that I couldn't learn anything else there because it was a neighborhood school, since I wanted to learn flamenco, I managed to get taken to Matilde Coral's academy. I did the entire studies of classical Spanish dance there until the age of seventeen. Shortly thereafter, I did some auditions with Mario Maya and I started working with him. I was in his company for five or six years, as well as in the Andalusian Dance Company when he directed it. When I was twenty-three I went to Madrid to begin my training as a soloist, to study, to work with a lot of people and to find myself, my expression, my way of telling things. A couple of years ago I decided to set up my own company out of necessity. There comes a time when you keep on evolving and you need to go elsewhere, to try out your choreographies, to be able to move a lot of people around, to experiment... and that's up to now.

You also trained in other disciplines, didn't you?

I've done some contemporary stuff, but above all, I watch a lot because I like other kinds of movements. Flamenco is fantastic, very enriching, and moreover, has the wealth and the openness to be able to try out other types of cultures, other types of dances, other types of music. There are things I want to tell that I can't with traditional flamenco, which limits me. I need to seek other ways to be able to complement it.

And you soon established your own company and a triumphant first show...

Once the show I'm doing with Belén Maya has premiered, I'll plunge headfirst into a new production. ‘La música del cuerpo’ was my first show, my first baby. It's done with a lot of affection, with a lot of love, with a lot of fears, with a lot of weeping, with a lot of things, with long hours and great effort of all kinds. They're four pieces without a storyline, but each one tells something. I've tried to pull out, especially from the first three, the parts that I think define who I am. First of all, the dancer, which is the most technical and the most modern at the stage level. It was the piece with which we won the prize for best music and the prize for the most outstanding dancer at Madrid's Spanish Dancing and Flamenco Choreography Contest. Secondly, the flamenco part. And thirdly the woman, the most feminine, the most sensual, is a zambra with a bobtail and castanets. The fourth part is a combination of the three. They're three couples; six dancers, three men and three women, each one tells the three ways I've tried to pull out of myself. I think we all have different facets; at a given moment you can be very sensitive and at another very aggressive. The last couple was the duality between the masculine and the feminine, inside me and anyone. The show is full of rests...

"People aren't used to rests in flamenco, just a lot of noise"

Which disturbed the audience a great deal. Do you notice?

Of course, because people aren't used to rests in flamenco, just a lot of noise. It's used a lot in contemporary dancing. In flamenco we're used to a lot of sound, a lot of percussion, a lot of cheering and clapping. And I really felt like seeking silence, seeking the sound of a hand, the sound of a head or of a regard in silence, even making people a little nervous. It's a very intimate show, very full of sensations, very rich.

The show stresses the relationship between dancing and music.

I always work very musically. I love listening to some musical piece, I like working with musicians, letting them create music and searching that music for what motivates me and where, in what place inside me does it hurt me or affect me. I try to draw the sensations and emotions out of there that I want; I love stressing a note... I love working like that.


Rafaela Carrasco

Have you managed to find your own way of expression?

I don't sincerely think I'm a very personal bailaora or dancer. I think I've sought my way to be able to express myself, my movements, what is comfortable for me and enables me to tell things. It's been a combination of things, it's been studying and watching a lot of people, searching for myself alone for long hours at the studio, seeing what I feel good and comfortable with. I don't know, I imagine that he who watches it will perceive so, but with my very own body language.

However, with the malagueña that you danced at the 2004 Jerez Festival it was unanimous that there was something more...

I'd really like to see it from the outside. I have to ask the theater for a copy, even if it's shot from far away. Really, it wasn't intended; I never usually work pretentiously, but I think that was the least pretentious number of all. I love the malagueña, I sought some lyrics that motivated me, which David Lagos sings very well. I love Jesús Torres' musicality, besides the fact that there's a lot of personal affinity, there also is professionally. He understands me quite well; we speak the same language, it's very easy to tell him what I want and have him go out and look for it. He's made very nice, very emotional music for me, so the work has come out quite easily. And afterwards, well, I stuck in a verdial, with two or three little finishing touches of feeling and a very simple close. It wasn't anything sought-after, but it has worked out well. The people's reaction has surprised me; I'm really glad because I don't normally get good reviews in Andalusia. Nor are they bad, but they usually go unnoticed.


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