national dance companies

national dance companies
   The national dance companies have undergone many changes since their foundation. Whereas the company specializing in traditional Spanish dance, the Spanish National Ballet (Ballet Nacional de España) has remained true to its origins, that which offered classical ballet has been completely transformed, becoming one of the foremost exponents of contemporary dance. The Spanish National Ballet was created by the Ministry of Culture in 1978, with Antonio Gades as the first Director. Gades" plan was to recreate the most representative works by Spanish artists, one of the most notable examples being his choreography for a ballet version of Lorca's Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre), filmed by Carlos Saura. In 1980 Antonio Gades was replaced by Antonio, while Víctor Ullate was appointed Artistic Director of the Spanish National Classical Ballet Company (Ballet Nacional de España Clásico), whose repertoire emphasized neoclassical dance, the Dutch School and new routines produced within the company. In 1983, the Music and Theatre Directory of the Ministry merged the two companies, and appointed María de Avila director. This marked a period of radical innovation for the Spanish Dance section, in which for the first time, musical composition, choreography, script and scenic direction were combined to produce a programme of original works which included Alberto Lorca's Ritmos (Rhythms), Medea (script by Miguel Narros, choreography by José Granero), Felipe Sánchez's Los Tarantos, Mariemma's Danza y Tronío (Dance and Extravagance), and Victoria Eugenia's Danza IX. This programme was presented in 1988 in the New York Metropolitan Opera House, winning the Critics" Prize for the best foreign production of the year. The classical ballet section of the merged company continued with Balanchine, Tudor, and a limited repertoire. In 1986 the two sections once again became independent companies. José Antonio became Artistic Director of the Spanish National Ballet, and created a number of new works, including a version of Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat (El sombrero de tres picos), with a reconstruction of the original stage designs by Picasso. In 1993, the company came under the joint management of Aurora Pons, Nana Lorca (responsible for programming) and Victoria Eugenia (dance training). Meanwhile, the Classical Ballet Company was directed by Maya Plisetskaya until 1990, when the post was offered to Nacho Duato, a distinguished young dancer and choreographer. Under Duato, the company, now renamed the National Dance Company (Compañía Nacional de Danza), developed its own distinctive identity, specializing in contemporary dance, and offering new expressive possibilities to democratic Spain, through the work of one of its most innovative young choreographers. As a result, dance became a central part of the socio-cultural scene, with each new programme being eagerly awaited by the public, which was never disap-pointed. Nacho Duato has created more than fifteen ballets for the company, and its repertory also includes works by Jiri Kylián, Hans van Manen, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin and Ramon Oller.
   As a result of all these developments, both companies have acquired clearly defined identities, and have achieved worldwide success.
   Further reading
   - Aznar, J. (ed.) (1994) Dansa : noves tendències de la coreografia catalana, Barcelona: Diputació de Barcelona (illustrated with numerous photographs).
   - Miguel Lara, M.J. de (ed.) (1994) La danza en la escuela, Sevilla: Diputación Provincial (considers the implications of the introduction of dance into the school curriculum).
   - Río Orozco, C. del (1993) Apuntes sobre la danza española, Córdoba: Tip. Artística (pp. 155–7 contain a useful bibliography).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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