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
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
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
And you soon established your own company and a triumphant
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...
aren't used to rests in flamenco, just a lot of noise"
Which disturbed the audience a great deal. Do you
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
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.
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
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.