In Constellations, choreographer Enrique Cabrera has taken the brilliantly abstract work of artist Joan Miró as his starting point and repeatedly fills his imaginary blank canvas with vivid colours, shape and movement to create a piece of magical dance theatre especially for children and families. We ask Enrique about his work.
What was it about the work of Joan Miró that was so inspiring?
Miro’s work seems to be simple, but it is not. I can see explosions of colours and order in the chaos of his paintings. And a sense of humour combined with the emotion a simple figure can transmit against an intense coloured background. Joan Miró suggests!
Enrique, as the choreographer, have you worked with a very direct visual inspiration in this way before?
Yes, of course! Constellations, inspired by Joan Miró and premiered in 2012, is the third part of a trilogy on creative artists. It started in 2006 with A Slice of Paradise, suggested by the Hieronymous Bosch painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. The second show, opened in 2009, was Clouds and it reflected Rene Magritte’s ‘creative universe’. Before the trilogy, Aracaladanza’s work did have some references to painters and sculptors but not in such direct way.
Was the work always conceptualised as one that would appeal to younger audience members?
Aracaladanza was born out of a personal need. I always wanted to work for children and family audiences. Since 1995, I have created more than 18 shows and 2 works for toddlers. So yes, when preparing the production and rehearsing it, we always want to appeal to younger audiences.
What is it about the work that appeals to a family audience?
We try to appeal to all the family from the start and consider every single detail, from the final duration of the play, to its break-neck rhythm and magic. We always think carefully about staging. Constellations is fragile and watching it is like stepping into a dream that ends when the curtain comes down. As in a dream, you finally remember bits and pieces. Constellations does not tell a story; it suggests and evokes.
Where does dancing end and theatre begin (or vice versa)?
I believe Constellations is a work of dance. Of contemporary dance! The show is pure movement. Even the start of the play, when the lights move with the music and the dancers, it has all been choreographed. There is no text. We do work with images. Dancers interpret, yes, but not as characters, like in theatre. They dance with objects, sometimes small, sometimes big. And again, we are not interested in ‘telling’ but in suggesting and evoking.
Have you performed much before in the UK?
We are fond of our friends, partners and work in the UK. The first time we visited the country as Aracaladanza, was to perform at The Place in London in 1998. Since then we have visited the UK several times performing in the most interesting International festivals in the country.
Are the audiences very different in each country?
We do believe they are. And not only from country to country, but there are differences from city to city. Even audiences in the same city can be very different one from another. However, all audiences have something in common: all can find the child within. And enjoy the discovery!
Do you know Bristol?
This will be the first time Aracaladanza visits Bristol as a company but some of its members have visited it several times. Bristol is a fantastic city and close to where some of our friends live (Ruscombe, in the Cotswolds).
Fortunately, we will all have the opportunity of climbing Brandon Hill and walking Clifton Suspension Bridge. Not to forget: enjoying a pint of beer.
What is next for the company?
Constellations will go on touring till 2015 throughout Spain, France and Macau. We also tour Clouds; you can enjoy it in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London in July, and October will take us to Mexico, where we will perform in the Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato.
And Christmas this year, for almost 5 weeks, we will be showing the whole trilogy in Mercat de les Flors Barcelona, one of the institutions that has been supporting us for some years now. And on top of that, we will start working on our next ‘dream’: a play inspired by the genius Leonardo Da Vinci.
Constellations comes to Mayfest, May 24 at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Find out more and book your tickets HERE.
Interview by Richard Aslan