Carmen Werner and Lucia Marote represent two generations of contemporary dance that are theoretically distant. Werner began by opening a then non-existent space for dance in this country in the eighties. Marote is one of the emerging and strongest figures of today. They grew up in two very different Spains, or not so much. The two dancers talk face to face in the same theater in which they have met for a few days.
The “innocent carnality” of the dancer Zuriñe Benavente opens the key event for dance
Carmen Werner (1953) is the Pina Bausch from Madrid. His body is like a map of the Castilian dance, worked hard, exhausted and at the same time full of energy and nerve. Since creating Provisional Danza in 1985, Werner has produced more than fifty productions. Since 2007 he has been a National Dance Award and last year he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts. None of that shows in his prosody. Close and always direct, Werner talks about the new work that he presents this week at the Teatros del Canal in Madrid: All good things happen in silence. “I always like to base myself on a concept, on an idea to be able to make a development. In this case I have been inspired by the Woody Allen film Radio days. This time it is not like other works, we do not speak, there is only the audio of fragments of the film. It takes place in a large room where a party has taken place. I can not tell more, “he says.
Lucia Marote (1980) was born in Costa Rica. His story is another. He did not experience the beginnings of contemporary dance in Spain like Werner. Lucía came to our country in 2003, where she trained, and in 2012 she created a beautiful piece, The foot, they still keep asking you to do. In it, Lucia committed suicide on stage and was later reborn, “she began by moving one foot and from then on she was waking up, activating, the rest of the body,” she explains. Since then he has created several pieces that have been collecting awards and interest from the profession and the public. Together with six other dancers and after a research and creation residency, he has premiered The eye of the hurricane this week at the same theater as Werner. “My starting points are different from Carmen’s. I start from intuitions, I like to start from the body and figure out what happens there. The eye of the hurricane it had a very specific pattern, which was the turn. To turn. Like the dervishes. But I neither wanted to rely on them nor study their technique. It was about investigating our own. I am interested in working with the difficulty and seeing how it transforms your state. Turn and stay. Find states where it is no longer possible to control, where it is not determined what you can direct and what not, “he says.” The project that I am managing is small, it costs so much to balance schedules for rehearsals … That is why I admire Carmen so much, I think it is the only one that has managed to have a company with a stable cast in contemporary dance in this country “.
Carmen Werner: In my company we have managed to work the old way. Every morning we take class and then there is rehearsal. I had to lower the salary of dancers in the crisis of 2008, I reduced the working day but we continue to suck four hours every day. Many times I have considered hiring by project, as Lucía does. The problem is that when you start a project and you want five dancers, maybe only three come. And I do not like that. I like working with the entire cast. I am that I am in the archaic era.
Lucia Marote: I assume that I cannot offer the best conditions in the world and, therefore, you have to be flexible, you have to understand that there are going to be absences, you have to plan better to be able to have rehearsals all together. But it’s juggling, really. There is a point where I do like flexibility because it allows drifts, more time and gradually finding, but it cannot be that the piece is transformed due to precariousness instead of research. It is difficult to develop a project without knowing what the budget will be, something that many times you only know after having the piece premiered. And everyone works by project.
More public but less tours
Werner and Marote, who are separated by almost 30 years, talk about how now there is an older and more active public that understands better, that knows how to approach a non-rational language such as dance, “because the first time Pina came Bausch to Spain with Muller coffee they booed her on a good basis. “It was at the Spanish Theater:” I was there petrified, amazed, between fur coats and saying: but what is this woman doing, what is that so wonderful that just happened on stage, “she recalls Werner. “Of course, I was not even born,” Marote replies.
The piece that Marote has just premiered at the Teatros del Canal is a real bullet at the center of current choreography. With six dancers on stage, Marote manages from a minimal positioning such as the turn, to create a hypnotic and fluctuating choreography. Sober light, measured electronic sound and six dancers entering an altered state, in a non-stop spinning for more than fifty minutes that generates poetics, meaning, moving the viewer, squeezing their meninges and their center of gravity.
Werner’s works, on the other hand, always have that theatrical, dramaturgical touch of Bausch’s dance-theater but without being it. In his choreographies, a single thing never happens at the same time, the eye of the viewer can choose which action that is taking place on stage is left with. Werner takes care of the background like nobody else. His conception of the scene is full of life, of characters, always attached to lyricism but without hollow transcendence and always leaving space for humor and words.
At the moment the caches are laughable and it is impossible to go on tour with a show of more than two people
They are two very different conceptions of dance from each other. However, when they speak they understand each other perfectly. The present is the same for both. Werner, logically, has less difficulty taking his productions from one city to another, over the years he has woven networks and today he is one of the most respected names in dance in our country. But distribution and display issues are pressing for all companies. Werner listens to Marote with wide eyes. Marote is younger, he is paving the way, now he has to move the piece just released, he knows he has a jewel in his hands. And Werner is well aware of the difficulties that exist.
Marote: There are wonderful medium-format spaces in Spain, wonderful theaters that allow a very beautiful closeness to the public. And that they welcome you wonderfully. But they can’t pay you. And there we began to enter again a world of precariousness that complicates everything, that makes it impossible to tour with a piece of a team of eight people like that of The eye of the hurricane.
Werner: Now that the Statute of the Artist is working in the Ministry of Culture, I do not know where the matter will end but what is needed is financial solvency. Public aid contributes to the caches being larger and at the moment the caches are laughable. It is impossible to move a show that is larger than a duet. It cannot be rotated.
Marote: True, and some continuity is also needed in aid to companies. If you have continuity in your project, why can’t the aid also have it so that you can plan a little better?
Werner: Formerly in Spain there was an aid from the Ministry of Culture and in Madrid another from the autonomous community that were biannual but the cuts came and they were removed. As of 2008, they disappeared.
But Carmen Werner is allergic to discouragement. It began when in Spain you could count on one hand the theaters that programmed contemporary dance. And its activity continues to be frantic, for more than 35 years it has not stopped producing an average of two pieces a year. He gives workshops throughout Spain, goes on tour around the world with his company’s pieces, with his solos or with his street dance works.
Werner: I love dancing, it’s a matter of vice. Like the one who smokes and drinks. I smoke and I drink. I also do solos, duets, we tour the solos of the company’s dancers, I put together pieces with people from outside… When I stop dancing, which will not be long, I will continue giving classes and doing choreographies. It is feasible, I have seen my teachers choreographing sitting down. But in the next life I ask for another profession.