from October 14th to 21st
Text: Pablo San Nicasio
STEP RIGHT UP
For a long time the residents of the Puerta de Toledo area in Madrid complained about the lack of activity at the venue offered by the Puerta de Toledo Public Market. Now, for one week, from October 14th to 21st, their wishes have been more than fulfilled.
The first dance fair in Madrid, Expodanza, has opened with combined commercial and instructional objectives, showing and capitalizing what Madrid has to offer to the world of dance, including, of course, flamenco.
Just a few meters from the subway exit, we find a fair which surprisingly had never before been held in the country’s capital, even with all the intense teaching and professional activity that takes place in Madrid dancewise.
For María Nadal, the fair’s godmother, “Expodanza is having great success. We hadn’t counted on so many conservatories and professionals giving their support”.
The idea was a long time in hatching: “When I was a dance student, I realized there was no point of encounter for students, companies, shops…that dynamic force present in other disciplines didn’t exist in dance. And as time went by, nothing was done. Thanks to a friend who manages all this, Antonio García, and me, without any kind of outside financial support, we’ve created this. Always from a standpoint of respect and admiration for dance. And we hope there will be continuity, not only in Madrid over the years, but we also want to move this in Andalusia, Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia…because I think there are very good dance schools, dancers who are more or less known and who have a lot to say. And because we also need not only professionals or the elite; here, all level and amateurs find their place, and all over Spain people want to dance, we know the following there is and how much it can grow.
We haven’t forgotten the handicapped, who also have a place here and are a very important part of dance.
We try to cover as much as possible as far as styles. Both Antonio and myself come from a background of Spanish and flamenco dance, and perhaps this year we’ve favored that a bit, but we’re open to everything. The more we can include, the better, so we’ll need more time and more space. For next year we’re already contacting people from break-dance, hip-hop, contemporary…”
María can’t praise this year’s supporters enough, Blanca del Rey, Víctor Ullate and José Antonio Ruiz. “Although I don’t want to forget Paco Romero, who is the person we are honoring this first year. We want to establish a yearly tribute, and this person has taught many generations, he deserved something like this. He’s been on stage for 50 years, and a large part of the time as first dancer in a number of companies. It was only fitting”.
Madrid’s most important conservatories are also represented, both in stands and by dancers. José Fernández, head of the production department of the Conservatorio Superior de Danza, praises the work done by these centers that move students in the ambience while they study, and lets them take center-stage and be actual creators from the very beginning. “They create their own wardrobe, lighting and of course, choreography…so it’s only fitting they come here to this fair to show it all off”.
There are even students attending the stands, like Nazaret Martínez, ex student of the Mairemma conservatory who helps her fellow-dancers as much as possible.
No less than about 400 students per conservatory. Add three professional conservatories, and one of advanced level. And they have no fair of their own. Nor do they receive much public support money-wise, something that comes up in every interview.
There are different stands for shops, professionals, journalists…and a constant program of parallel activities involved with dance: agencies, films, fashion shows, conferences, roundtable talks…
One of the stands honors the figure of Antonio Gades and is given over to the work of his Foundation. According to his widow Eugenia Eiriz, “Expodanza is giving us a great opportunity to be in touch with each other, dance professionals that is. For example, we explain the work of the Fundación, and the tangible and intangible legacy of the maestro. In this regard, we have the exhibit “50 years of Spanish dance”. Despite the economic problems we all face today, we’ve shown we’re still in circulation and have projects for the future.”
There is still time to catch the fair in Madrid’s center through Thursday.