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Spain to have new, classical "national ballet"?

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On Tuesday, dirac posted a LINK to an article about the planned formation of a new national ballet (classical) for Spain -- the only major European country currently without one.

Here's the Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/st...1886005,00.html

It seems that Tamara Rojo of the Royal Ballet is involved and has been considered for AD, though currently she's only 31. Alicia Aonso is also involved.

It's interesting that this will NOT be an "opera" ballet company as Paris or London. The company is to be located in the dormitory suburb of Fuenlabrada, southwest of the center city. (It's one of those former villages which has become a huge residential center in recent years.) Alonso has a studio in Fuenlabrada.

Supporters include the royal family (it's always good for ballet when there are real princesses in the locality) and the Prime Minister , Mr. Rodriguez Zapatero.

With all the wonderful Spanish-trained dancers who have to leave their country in order to peform classical ballet at the highest level, it seems like a brilliant idea. The possiblities for touring to major Spanish urban centers -- Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Bilbao, not to mention resorts like San Sebastian, etc. -- are extraordinary.

It would be wonderful to see a Spanish National Ballet (or Royal Spanish Ballet?) touring Europe, turning up in major American cities, etc. For those of us who remember the dark, gloomy, insulated, and incredibly mediocre days of Franco, this is an enormous step -- and one that has been well-earned by the new Spain.

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Good for Spain. Maybe they won't have to export all their dancers now. I wonder if Trinidad Sevillano will also be involved.

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What was that Spanish ballet ompany headed for a while by Maya Plisetskaya? Is this new venture instead of or in addition to that one? Or was that one just not national in scope?

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I think it's great. Glorious Spain already has so much to offer, and now this.

Giannina

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Plisetskaya was the director of something called the National Lyric Ballet from 1987 to 1990. I don't think it still exists and couldn't find out much about it. However, I did find a connection between Plisetskaya and Rojo; [edited to correct the year, something Geier points out in the next post. It was 2005]

Lukor.com has an article about Maya Plisetskaya. It's in Spanish. Here's a (very) rought translation of parts:

OVIEDO, 20 (EUROPA PRESS)

The ballerina Maya Plisetskay today lamented that there is no classical national ballet in Spain { ... ] "I think it's a shame that there is no great national ballet in Spain, because there are such wonderful Spanish dancers"

Plisetskaya has been a Spanish national since 1993 and was in Oviedo to receive (today) the Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts. She shares it with Tamara Rojo, and expressed her gratitude for the prize's recognition of "one dancer of the 20th century and another of the 21st."
The Russian ballerina was generous in her prize of the Spanish professional dancers and asserted that "I have seen nothing better in the world than flamenco as a kind of popular dance." She compared Spanish dancers and football players: "Dancers and football players from this country have the best legs."

There's a lot of Spanish language information on Plisetskaya in Spain, including stuff about master classes that she has given in Madrid, etc. Here's a LINK to the brief article:

http://www.lukor.com/television/noticias/0505/12151402.htm.

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Plisetskaya has been a Spanish national since 1993 and was in Oviedo to receive (today) the Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts. She shares it with Tamara Rojo

Plissestkaya and Rojo were awarded with Prince of Asturias Prize the past year (in 2006 the winner for Arts is Pedro Almodovar)

Coming back to the first post: Francisco Franco died in 1975, ages ago. :-)

Since then they didn’t do steps, but run an entire marathon and today Spain is as modern and dynamic as a Calatrava building!

Would they put together all their dancers (just a few names: Alicia Amatriain, Ricardo Cervera, Angel Corella, Carmen Corella, Lucia Lacarra, Carlos Lopez, Josè Martin, Josè Martinez, Laura Morera, Jesus Pastor, Tamara Rojo, Zenaida Yanowsky, Igor Yebra), they could have a fantastic company! :dry: Good luck! :)

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I remember reading about a ballet company which used to exist in Zaragoza (Saragossa). Has anybody here heard about it ?

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Thanks, Geier, for that correction of the year. There was no year given, so lept to the wrong conclusion. (Wanting something to be so doesn't always make it so, as I've learned.)

You're right, of course, about Spain's complete and rather quick entry into the liberal, free, and modern Europe, and very notably in the arts. I meant no disrespect. Institutional progress has not always been so rapid or consistent. For example, the decades-long restoration of the Royal Opera House in Madrid, which wasn't completed until 1998. Similarly, there does seem to have been a good number of false starts in the ballet/dance world.

I wonder whether -- if Fuenlabrada's municipal theater does indeed become the home of this company -- their municipal theater will turn into something like the BAM in Brooklyn.

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Estelle, we were posting at the same time. The Ballet de Zaragoza went out of business in 2005, according to a Periodico Zaragoza article dated 9/2/05. (This despite the gathering -- by a group called the Plataforma Pro Ballet -- of 53,000 signatures in favor of keeping it.) Rough translation:

The surprising decision of the municipal governmented was like a bombshell for both the supporters and opponents of the company.
Money was the issue. In its last year the company cost over 1.5 million euros and recipts of only 158,607 euros. According to one of the officials involved,
" ... the idea is to redefine the politics of dance. The Ballet has survived in a heroic manner for years but was never able to fulfill its expectations, so we have decided that the money that has been budgeted for it will now be diverted to other dance projects."
Sound familiar, Estelle? The official spoke of the creation of
a season of dance "which will permit us to bring the best national and international companies.," and to make the company of Miguel Angel Berna the resident company of the Teatro Principal.
Berna's specialty is apparently regional dancing, and he participated in the Flamenco Festival in NYC last winter, guesting with the New Spanish Ballet. ("Ballet" and "classical," as has been mentioned on BT before, tend to mean "regional" and even "folkloric" in Spain.) I don't know what happened after that. But if it's another replacement of a mainly classical company by a smaller company devoted to an entirely different kind of "ballet," it's consistent with what has gone on in France and all over the EC.

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Ok, I am now majorly confused. I thought Angel Corella's Foundation was starting a school and classical ballet company, which also had the support of the Spanish Royal Family et.al., however, I believe it was to be headquartered in the vicinity of Barcelona. It would be a little detrimental to fundraising opportunities, if instead of none, Spain now had two competing classical companies. Of course this is the norm for the USA and Britain does have the RB, RBB, and ENB competing with each other. Any more clarification of the above would be appreciated.

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Hi! I'm new in this forum and as Spanish and ballet lover I can tell you the fresher news about what is on with Corella's and Rojo's projects.

Corella planned to set his school and dance company in Sant Feliu de Guixols, 50 km. north from Barcelona but he didn't get the support neither from the catalan government nor from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona's Opera House. Corella has a house in this town and loves Barcelona very much, his family moved there from Madrid but unfortunately as I said he didn't have the necessary support to be able to run there his project.

Then a small town near Madrid but with a deep cultural background, La Granja de San Idelfonso, offered him very good conditions and the Teatro Real of Madrid mangement commited themselves to allow the ballet company to present his programme there, so even if the contract hasn't been signed yet it seems that it will in the near future.

Rojo's project was presented to the Royal Family of Spain who gave permission to put the "Real" word in the new ballet that was going to be created in collaboration with the dance department (Instituto Superior de Danza Alicia Alonso) of the Juan Carlos I University, it would be a professional Classical Ballet Company not depending only on subsidies.

The name of the company would be 'Real Ballet de España' and would be established in Fuenlabrada a city near Madrid. Mr. Manuel Robles, the major of Fuenlabrada, where there already are two theaters said that they will fully support this project.

I really hope these projects see light soon :rolleyes:

I will try to get you posted on any new about this :D

About the former ballet company we had and that was managed by Plisetskaya it is now the Compañía Nacional de Danza that is directed by Nacho Duato who took it from Mrs. Plisetskaya 17 years ago and changed from classical to neoclassical, a great company with great dancers but with a unique style.

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CarolinaM, thanks for giving us so much detailed information about the present situation in Spain ! Let's hope both projects will work... and please keep us informed if there are any news about it ! :)

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I hope the Royal Ballet option becomes reality. Though based in Madrid, the company could bring ballet performances to other major cities quite easily. It could also become the catalyst for reviving interest (and participation) in classical ballet in Spain. Sounds like a win-win situation to me !! :tiphat:

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For Americans, please note: That in monarchies, or nations with a history of the division between state and government, the names "national" and "royal" or "state" have vastly different sources of support. A national company is a creature of the government. A state or royal company is the manifestation of the being of the nation itself. How the Civil Service is organized under all this is different everywhere. I don't believe, for example, that the dancers of Britain's Royal Ballet are part of the Civil List, which would mean that they are paid more or less directly by the monarch.

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I don't believe, for example, that the dancers of Britain's Royal Ballet are part of the Civil List, which would mean that they are paid more or less directly by the monarch.

Sorry, I have a very hard time believing this romanticized picture. This is 2006; not pre-rev Russia.

I live in the Netherlands, another country where people forgot to say goodbye to monarchy, and the dancers of the Dutch National Ballet do not get a penny out of the Queen's purse - apart from the fact that her purse is replenished annually by the taxpayers.

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I believe that "Royal" is currently an honorific in these situations, rather llike "By Appointment to ..." for providers of services to the Royal Family. It confers prestige only.

In Britain, it is not conceivable that the "monarch" would give the right to use "Royal" to any institutution without the approval of the elected government. I assume this is the case in Spain as well.

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First of all let me tell you that I'm very surprised, and happy :) to see that so many people is interested in what's going on in Spain.

For us these are so good news that at last we can get not one but two or maybe three big repertoire companies that we still can not believe it.

As far as Tamara's is concerned I think that Bart is right, she asked permission to the Royal family to put the word "Royal" to the company. Princess Letizia likes ballet and her sister is an art lover and she made the decors of the Blancanieves ballet Tamara premiered last year in Spain, so she has direct line with the Royal family but this doesn't represent in any case that money will come from the Monarchy.

I think she also presented the project to the government and Mr. Rodriguez Zapatero approved it.

Tamara critizised in an interview that dance in Spain is too much depending on estatal subsidies. She said that artists have to have a social reponsibilty regarding what they do with the money they get and that comes from all the Spanish people.

She doesn't want that all the money of her future company comes from subsidies from the state. She thinks about a company as the Royal Ballet but smaller with a similar finantiation to the one of the British Company where 1/3 of the money comes from private donors, 1/3 comes from the government and 1/3 it is you who has to get it with your company.

She foresees that as soon as the Executive gives approval it will last 1 year approx. to carry it on.

Corella would have all the money he needed from Catalan "mecenas" and it seems that he already had enough, but he needed an approval of the government (with no single Euro coming from them) and the compromise of the Barcelona's Opera House "Gran Teatre del Liceu" that he will have time during the season to present his ballets but, even if it can seem so stupid to you, and of course it is and I'm not able to understand this, he did not get a positive answer from any of them and the catalan "mecenas" people with a lot of money and power didn't want to compromise themselves with that. Incredible but true. I don't know if you are aware about the situation of Cataluña vs Spain but it is a rather special relationship.

Well I hope that La Granja de San Ildefonso is more cultural sensibilized and will fully support Angel's project.

And... there are rumours about a third possibility, this one created by the Culture Ministery of Zapatero's government, another national company, in addition to the Compañía Nacional de Danza and the Compañía Nacional of Spanish Dance.

Let's cross our fingers so that at least one of them comes true soon.

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I don't believe, for example, that the dancers of Britain's Royal Ballet are part of the Civil List, which would mean that they are paid more or less directly by the monarch.

Sorry, I have a very hard time believing this romanticized picture. This is 2006; not pre-rev Russia.

You mean that you DO believe that the dancers of the Royal Ballet are part of the Civil List? I can assure you that the Civil List IS paid for by the Queen herself. The Royal Ballet in Britain functions under a Royal Charter, as in the Virginia Company, if we want to bring history into it, which would make them responsible for raising their own money.

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Well I hope that La Granja de San Ildefonso is more cultural sensibilized and will fully support Angel's project.
Isn't La Granja de San Idefonso rather far from Madrid to serve as the location for a major company? Or would this merely be the headquarters, with performances in Madrid? It seems like trying to re-locate the Paris National Opera Ballet to a provincial town like Chartres.

Fuenlabrada makes more sense, as far as transportation from the capital is concerned, esepecially if they want to make the company a destination for international visitors.

The Real (Royal) Ballet should be like Real Madrid, the football team -- a "real" (verdadera) compania madrilena.

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And the other resource for company-making, private capital, has hardly been touched upon here. In next-door Portugal, Ballet Gulbenkian was organized as a public utility for 40 years!

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Isn't La Granja de San Idefonso rather far from Madrid to serve as the location for a major company? Or would this merely be the headquarters, with performances in Madrid? It seems like trying to re-locate the Paris National Opera Ballet to a provincial town like Chartres.

Yes it's not a good location :) it's far away from Madrid in a very cold place with snow in winter and not well comunicated with the capital, but this place was a cultural and leisure space for the royalty in the past and they want to keep with this status so the palace has been put to the disposal of Angel foundation with a lot of benefits for him to run his project there.

Fuenlabrada is more practically located and has the university and a theater.

In next-door Portugal, Ballet Gulbenkian was organized as a public utility for 40 years!

The Gulbenkian foundation decided last year to continue with the orchestra but didn't support the ballet any more :(

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I know, and that's an awful pity; but still the idea of making a company incorporated as a utility, like an electric or gas company, has to be at least a business novelty!

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You mean that you DO believe that the dancers of the Royal Ballet are part of the Civil List? I can assure you that the Civil List IS paid for by the Queen herself. The Royal Ballet in Britain functions under a Royal Charter, as in the Virginia Company, if we want to bring history into it, which would make them responsible for raising their own money.

Sorry, you're mistaken. The queen is a beneficiary of the Civil List. The Civil List is funded by taxpayers' money.

This information is available everywhere.

The amount of arts council funding the Royal Ballet receives is also annually published; it is also no secret that the Royal Ballet's finances have been fairly perilous over time, in spite of being granted the Royal Charter, which does not entail major funding.

The same goes for the claim that ballet companies in all old world monarchies are being funded by the local royal house. The claim is unfounded - though there may be exceptions.

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You mean that you DO believe that the dancers of the Royal Ballet are part of the Civil List? I can assure you that the Civil List IS paid for by the Queen herself. The Royal Ballet in Britain functions under a Royal Charter, as in the Virginia Company, if we want to bring history into it, which would make them responsible for raising their own money.

The amount of arts council funding the Royal Ballet receives is also annually published; it is also no secret that the Royal Ballet's finances have been fairly perilous over time, in spite of being granted the Royal Charter, which does not entail major funding.

Technically the Royal Ballet receives no direct government subsidy as along with the Royal Opera, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and ROH 2 (These are any working names or acronyms which the Charity uses.) are subsidiaries of The Royal Opera House Covent Garden Ltd a registered company that has charitable status(enabling it to trade) that receives gvernment subsidy, donations and sponsorship along with its income from box office etc.

In the Tax Year ending 27.03/2005 the charity received 23,111,000 British Pounds in Arts Council Grants( The awarding body of Government Arts Funding) its total expenditure was around 78,000,000 British Pounds

For a general background to the European model for government funding in performing arts I would suggest you vist http://www.culturelink.org/culpol/se.html then simply choose a category and then a country.

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The same goes for the claim that ballet companies in all old world monarchies are being funded by the local royal house. The claim is unfounded - though there may be exceptions.

Well, who made that claim anyway ? I haven't seen it in that thread.

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