Tradition and transformation at the Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival 2024

Eva Yerbabuena. Photo by Marcos G. Punto.
Eva Yerbabuena. Photo by Marcos G. Punto.

From the 4 – 15 June, old traditions and new reinventions of flamenco take over the Sadler’s Wells at the Flamenco Festival. The program features a breadth of flamenco practices from the traditional flamenco of Vicente Amigo, and Eva Yerbabuena, to the radical Rocío Molina, who reinvents the traditions of flamenco with her technical skill mixed with irreverence and contemporary performance aesthetics. Molina is the winner of the 2022 Silver Lion of Dance Award at the Venice Biennale, the first flamenco dancer to be recognised by the Biennale. Molina presents Al Fondo Riela (it glimmers in the depths) a piece about reflection and the loss of reality.  

Rocío Molina's 'Al Fondo Riela'. Photo by Óscar Romero.
Rocío Molina’s ‘Al Fondo Riela’. Photo by Óscar Romero.

Eva Yerbabuena, who has been described by The New York Times as one of the world’s greatest dancers, brings her work Yerbagüena, to the Sadler’s Wells.  Her career begun with dance lessons in Granada, Spain at age 11.

“In Yerbagüena, I immerse myself once again in duality as a form of expression and reflection,” says Yerbabuena. “I explore two fundamentally opposing and complementary forces, yet intrinsically intertwined. That is why I embrace a maxim that becomes increasingly evident in my creations: nothing exists in a pure state, nor in absolute stillness.”

Eva Yerbabuena. Photo by Ana Palma.
Eva Yerbabuena. Photo by Ana Palma.

Yerbabuena studied dramatic art with Juan Furest and Jesús Domínguez, and choreography in Cuba from Johannes García. “Throughout the four parts or numbers into which my work Yerbagüena is divided,” says Yerbabuena, “I experience a continuous transformation. And I confirm the certainty of what I have always believed. For me, continuous transformation is an intriguing provocation that not only exists but also gives meaning to everything we do.”

Across her 40-year career, Yerbabuena has collaborated with other dance luminaries such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Pina Bausch. “More than important, I feel that it is necessary: to continue sharing my memory, my way of feeling, of experiencing everything that emerges, that comes, that disappears,” says Yerbabuena. “And I can’t find a better way to convey all those sensations and knowledge than through flamenco. For me, Yerbagüena is as important as all the creations I have made up to now.”

The festival closes with the spectacle of the 38 dancers of Spanish national company of Ballet Nacional de España, featuring four works that span the range of Spanish dance practices.

For tickets and more information, visit www.sadlerswells.com/flamenco-festival-2024.

By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.

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