Caída del cielo
In her extraordinary virtuoso flamenco imbued with rock concert and performance art aesthetics, Rocío Molina is merciless. Powerful, transgressive, untamed dance.
An innovative, iconoclastic star of new flamenco, the Spanish dancer Rocío Molina is a force of nature in this subversive, electrifying piece. Blending untamed, virtuoso flamenco with a rock concert and performance art approach, she shatters conventions as she plunges into the feminine depths of a sensual, exuberant world.
Acoustic guitar, a cappella singing, distortion and a dynamic Rocío Molina nimbly twirling and ruthlessly pounding her heels. In her chrysalis dress, she shimmies and undulates into unknown territory, silently conquering the ground. Onstage she obliterates genres, playing the strutting torero, dabbling in cabaret, defying the musicians in an exhilarating duel. Breathless and exhausted, bathed in dirt and blood, this she-devil holds her own against flamenco. Unprecedented. A powerful, transgressive and unruly dance.
Produced by Danza Molina S.L.
Choreography and music direction Rocío Molina
Dramaturgy, direction and lighting design Carlos Marquerie
Ideation Carlos Marquerie + Rocío Molina
Original music Eduardo Trassierra in association with José Ángel Carmona + Pablo Martín Jones + José Manuel Ramos “Oruco”
Costume design Cecilia Molano
Performed by Rocío Molina + Eduardo Trassierra (Guitars) + José Ángel Carmona (Singing and electric bass) + José Manuel Ramos “Oruco” (Hand-clapping, beat and percussion) + Pablo Martín Jones (Percussion and electronics)
Co-produced by Chaillot – Théâtre National de la danse (Paris)
With the support of INAEM
Presented by Infopresse in association with Monument-National
Written by Jessie Mill
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Promotional video Les Films de la Butte co-produced with Danza Molina S.L. + TV Sud Montpellier in association with ARTE France
Premiered at Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris, on November 3, 2016
Rocío Molina (Seville)
Born in Andalusia near Màlaga in 1984, the young prodigy of new flamenco began dancing at the age of three.
Rocío Molina joined María Pagés’ dance company at age 17 shortly before completing her studies at the dance conservatory in Madrid, following in the footsteps of great innovators who have reinvented the genre, notably Israel Galván, with whom she has also performed. She won the Spanish Ministry of Culture national award in 2010 for her contribution to the renewal of flamenco, and in 2016 received the Giraldillo award at the Flamenco Biennial in Seville.
Attached to flamenco tradition, she placed herself under the patronage of the legendary Carmen Amaya. She plays with clichéd images of women by using traditional attributes — the shawl, the fan, a gown with a sweep train — as weapons to combat macho stereotypes. In 2006 at age 22 Rocío Molina created her first piece Entre paredes (Among the Walls), soon followed by other works where she pushed the boundaries of the discipline. After a performance in New York of her 2008 piece Ojo viejo (Old Gold), the great Mikhaïl Baryshnikov entered her dressing room and knelt before her in unabashed admiration, contributing to her mythical status. For her 2011 solo Danzaora y vinática (2011) she was inspired by Pieter Brueghel’s painting The Tower of Babel, while her 2014 piece Bosque Ardora (Ardora’s Forest) explored war and hunting. Carlos Marquerie has been her faithful accomplice since 2009, regularly assisting her as a dramaturge and set and lighting designer, and now as the co-artistic director of Caída del Cielo.
You have been collaborating with Rocío Molina since 2009 as a dramaturge, set designer and lighting designer. How did the work on this most recent piece, Caída del Cielo, lead to you becoming the artistic director?
Carlos Marquerie — When we first started talking about this new piece a year ago, we were thinking of a diptych – two faces and two gazes, two sounds and two spaces, a journey from light to shadow, a descent into darkness. We were rereading Dante and taking another look at the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. Even though his hell looked like a lot more fun than a stable, soothing paradise, his portrayal of hell is without doubt a place of fear and suffering. We were unable to identify that obscure, vital place we were looking for, and at the same time we knew that the space we had intuited was far removed from things as they appear. This piece demanded that we let go, that we look for material in dark caves and obscure crevices.
Even though Caída del Cielo is a well-constructed piece, it is nourished by the energy and freedom of your improvisations. Can you describe that process, inspired in part by a series of impulsos, improvisational works that you present in diverse sites?
Rocío Molina — Of all my works Caída del Cielo is the least choreographed, which gives me a lot of freedom for interpretations based on our frame of mind, how the musicians and I are feeling each night of the performance. Flamenco is highly coded, but is full of potential for incredible exchanges, for dancing in a conversation with the singing and the music, responding to the words and to their effect at any given moment. It obliges us to remain in tension; insists on being nourished by constant inspiration. It is the same principle guiding me in the series of impulsos, paying steady attention to anything that might emerge, to something that inspires me or makes me react in a particular manner. That openness allows me to avoid repeating myself, helps me find new forms.
You keep expanding the range of possibilities by making use of the floor, of horizontality and of lying down. How does that conquest of new spaces stimulate your approach?
Rocío Molina — In contemporary dance making use of the floor is a given, a basic component, whereas in flamenco it’s unthinkable! I like exposing my body to extreme situations, to the unknown, and that is the case here. My body had to go to great efforts to understand the floor, the ground. For me it was new territory that I found enraging, I hated it. But eventually I understood that it could be an ally, a support, a space that I could feel in a thousand different ways. When I throw myself down to the floor it is not “flamenco”, but I do it in a flamenco way. It helps me to expand the art form by developing a more comprehensive, powerful body language.
Your flamenco language seems to be imbued with the vocabulary of contemporary dance and performance art. How do you come to terms with those influences?
Rocío Molina — My knowledge of contemporary dance is very slim. I see performances, but do not try to imitate what I see. I let myself be swept away by movements that serve an intention and a feeling I wish to convey. Either those movements come naturally to me, or I keep working until I have the impression that what I’ve found is right and true. Sometimes the fruit of that research might appear to be quite traditional, while at other times it will be expressed in more contemporary language.
There is a lot of humour in the scene where you are dressed in a torero’s costume and a leather harness, with a bag of chips between your legs. You seem to be casting an amorous yet critical gaze at your art. Is that the case?
Rocío Molina — I like to introduce irony and humour into my work. I also like to ensure that the audience clearly sees that irony. It’s a straightforward approach where I hide nothing, where I am enjoying myself. It is a simple, pure sharing of our day-to-day thoughts and fantasies, even of things that make us blush.
I’m convinced that each art form has the power to transform, to open doors, to educate, and flamenco is no exception. But my only commitment is to myself, to my subjectivity and my own truth. That is what constantly guides me, what makes me move. I have no intention of transforming my art. I am not here to break with tradition. I’m always drawn back to flamenco.
« Une danse insondable et puissante, une transe à embrasser tous les contrastes, à cogner contre toutes les contradictions. »
Cathia Engelbach, Théâtrorama.com, 2016-11-15
« Le ciel se retient devant [ce spectacle] qui [dresse] haut et sans peur la beauté crue de la vie. »
Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde, 2016-11-10
« Un spectacle 5 étoiles (…) Déroutant et hypnotisant. »
Emilie CAILLEAU, L’Express, 2016-11-09
« Sans doute la plus grande soliste actuelle. »
Philippe Noisette, Paris Match, 2015-03-14