Mont-de-Marsan, 4th july, 2003
by Estela Zatania
The arrival of Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya “Farruquito” and his entourage made ripples in the small town of Mont-de-Marsan where the fifteenth Festival de Arte Flamenco was being held. The woman who cleaned my room at the hotel knew that “une personne tres important d’Espagne” was soon to arrive, and the taxi-driver who took me to the Espace François Mitterand where I had been told to appear asked if I was going to see the “danseur”.
Farruquito was visibly tense. He had not been satisfied with the technical rehearsal and sent a message via his manager postponing the interview an hour and a half. I took advantage of the wait to observe how the self-assured 20-year-old gave orders to the lighting and sound technicians, consulting now and again with his special guest artist, veteran Manuel Molina.
At half past five in the afternoon, with less than four hours until the world premiere of “Alma vieja”, the young dancer approaches me and indicates he has a few minutes before leaving for the hotel. He claims to have read the review in Deflamenco of his performance in Seville last January so I ask….
Do you have Internet? Do you surf the web?
Yes, a little…I don’t have much time, but yes, I like it.
How was the US tour?
Work-wise fine, and we had great audiences. The country….no comment.
In what sense?
They were going through a very difficult time, too much tension…everyone’s nerves were on edge and in the theater we had some…I don’t know, with the technicians….as far as everything else, fine.
Will the artistic collaboration with Juana Amaya be repeated?
I don’t really know, but Juana is wonderful to work with.
At the official presentation of the festival they spoke about Farruquito’s new “creation”. Do you consider what we’re going to see tonight a “creation”?
Not really, it’s a flamenco show.
What does it mean to you to have been voted one of the world’s most beautiful people?
It means…well, I don’t know….just fluff…things that happen in life and nothing more.
Aside from your own family, do you think traditional flamenco dance will survive?
I certainly hope so. I hope and pray that it does.
In one interview you say that you don’t care for anyone dancing nowadays. Is that still true?
No, it’s not quite like that. Sometimes the answers I give are misinterpreted, know what I mean? It’s not that I don’t like any dancer, on the contrary. I actually admire all dancers, each and every one. The one thing that is true however, if there’s one particular person I look up to, and this is the honest-to-God truth, the only person I learn from is Farruco, and I’m still learning from him, through his advice, his videos. The more I learn, the more I realize the truth in the things he used to say to me. Aside from that, I admire all dancers, because each one has something worthwhile.
Do you think of your grandfather when you’re dancing?
Do you think he would be proud of you now?
I think he would.
What would you tell those people who say that traditional flamenco is no longer relevant, that it has to be renovated?
I wouldn’t tell them anything at all…it’s their loss. I respect every individual’s opinion.
But being so young, haven’t you ever felt tempted to explore those paths?
I think that if you believe in yourself, that’s not necessary.
Do you believe in yourself?
With the help of Farruco, one hundred percent.