March 03, 2011

Antonio Gades Company brings the essence of flamenco to Istanbul

Antonio Gades was a legend of modern flamenco. The dancer-choreographer, who was also the co-founder and artistic director of the Spanish National Ballet, helped popularize flamenco internationally, particularly during the ’80s, through his notable dance adaptations, which included such classics as Prosper Mérimée’s “Carmen” and Federico García Lorca’s “Bodas de Sangre” (Blood Wedding).


Since Gades’s death in 2004 at the age of 67, his spirit has been kept alive onstage by the Antonio Gades Dance Company, which is in Istanbul this week to present Gades’ two masterpieces, “Bodas de sangre” and “Suite Flamenca,” at the Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Concert Hall.

“Blood Wedding,” Gades’ interpretation of the world of Lorca, was first performed in Rome in 1974. The piece, also brought to the big screen by Carlos Saura in 1981, was one of the last opportunities to see Gades perform onstage before he moved on to choreographing and directing. The film version, in which Gades also starred, was the first in a series of collaborations between Gades and Saura that also yielded “Carmen” (1983), “El amor brujo” (1986) and “Flamenco” (1995).

In addition to the tragic story told by Lorca, the Antonio Gades Dance Company will also stage “Suite Flamenca,” Gades’s 1968 choreography for the popular “Flamenco Suite,” at this weekend’s show at the CRR.

Ahead of Saturday’s show, Gades’s widow Eugenia Eiriz, who is also the director of the Antonio Gades Foundation, speaks of Gades, his love for flamenco and his legacy, in an interview with Today’s Zaman...

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