The Antonio Gades Dance Company is bringing Prosper Merimee classic “Carmen” to Istanbul – CemalReşit Rey concert hall on February, 20. Praised by critics as one of the best adaptations of a classical ballet piece into Flamenco, the sorrowful but passionate Mediterranean story of Carmen attracts audiences all around the world. We talked with Eugenia Eiriz, Gades’ wife and director of the company, about the show.
The company has been keeping Antonio Gades’ spirit alive on stage. How do you describe his love for Flamenco?
Eugenia Eiriz: Antonio Gades Company Flamenco eternize not only his approach to Flamenco but also his passion for all Spanish dances. Gades used to love Flamenco very much and he was not only enjoying this popular dance but also having great respect to this tradition.
What are the common aspects of Gades’ work who contributed to dance world with many important shows from Blood Wedding to Suite Flamenca and Carmen?
Eugenia Eiriz:First of all, Gades’ works are universal. They express human and human feelings. They have no secrets, all the messages are clear so they manage to appeal to everybody. Anyone who experiences love for once in his/her life will definitely love Gades’ works.
Flamenco has a very great aesthetic. How was Gades’ approach about it?
Eugenia Eiriz:Every movement, every rhythm, every song has a reason and meaning in Flamenco. If you do not take them into consideration, everything gets all balled up and you underrate the value of the dance. Gades used to care about “ethic before aesthetic” principle a lot. He learned this from his teacher Pilar Lopez when he was just a small kid.
Prosper Merimee’s famous Carmen character now meets with Flamenco after Carmen opera with the compositions of Bizet, so how do you comment on this new adaptation?
Eugenia Eiriz: I think that passion feeling evoked by Flamenco, complies with the story and personality of Carmen. The strong expression created by the dancing language of the company strengthens Carmen’s nature as well. Misery and dram which lie down under the roots of Flamenco match up very well with the end of this story. Carmen risk her life for her love and knows no limits. She challenges the life. This situation suits to challenging and rebelling aspects of Flamenco.
Is it “love” that makes Carmen so brave?
Eugenia Eiriz:Exactly! Carmen is a woman who shows a courage for her love. Especially when you think about a woman in Seville in 1830s who works as a laborer in a tobacco factory and has no limits when it comes to love, you can feel that this was a big courage example for that time.
Interview: Işıl GEREK