This year, 2018, one of the most established dance festivals in Spain, Madrid en Danza (Madrid in Dance) is celebrating its 33rd edition.
Over the years the festival has established itself as an important showcase for all the varied forms and genres of dance being practiced in Spain right now including neoclassical and classical ballet, contemporary flamenco ballet, dance-theatre, international contemporary dance and Spanish folk dance including all its regional expressions.
A festival of all dance genres
Taking place yearly during the months of November and December the Madrid en Danza festival is sponsored by the Comunidad de Madrid (the regional authority that governs the autonomy of Madrid). The festival includes performances that are accommodated within some of the capital city’s most prestigious theatrical venues, including the Teatros de Canal (Calle de Cea Bermúdez, 1), Teatro de la Abadía (Calle de Fernández de los Ríos, 42, or the Cuarta Pared (Calle de Ercilla, 17).
The unique cultural heritage of dance in Spain
Before many visitors ever arrive in Spain one aspect of the country’s rich culture offering that they are most familiar with is flamenco, the folkloric musical and dance traditions that originated in the southern regions of Spain, Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. The most popular expressions of which include singing, guitar music, dance, jaleo (a lament style vocalisation), hand clapping and finger snapping often brought together in a combined performance. With its origins in the Middle East flamenco is nonetheless quintessentially Spanish, an emotionally intense style of dance that is performed equally by men and women. There are flamenco academies dotted throughout Madrid and walking the city centre side streets you are likely to hear the sounds of hand clapping, feet stomping and guttural cries carried over the city din.
Flamenco dance troupes today tour the world, travelling ambassadors for Spanish culture, from the U.S. to Japan where interest has never been greater and in fact nowadays there are more flamenco schools in Japan than in Spain. Flamenco dancers like Joaquín Cortés (who is also trained in classical ballet) or Sara Baras are celebrities in their own right and flamenco has even been listed at an Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO.
A festival with something for everyone
Dance, defined as the purposefully selected sequences of human movement, is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression, and one that anthropologists believe predates the written word. Closely related to dance is choreography that describes the design of these sequences of movements. Dance is universal with diverse expressions in popular, classical, folkloric and contemporary culture.
One of the main aims of Madrid en Danza is to provide a platform for more experimental forms of dance within a wide ranging programme that reflects the ever changing panorama of contemporary dance, one that includes other artistic practices such as stage set design, art and technology. Every year the programmes includes emerging talents and established figures within the world of dance, including flamenco. Madrid, being the capital is a vibrant centre for the performing arts in Spain with an audience for diverse expressions of dance, from the most avant-garde to the traditional.
The programme for the2018 edition of Madrid en Danza has not been released. For updated information consult the festival’s web, www.madrid.org/madridendanza/
Tickets can also be bought online or from any of the major ticket outlets.
To be right in the middle of all the potential offered by Madrid en Danza there is no better location than The Principal Madrid or the Único Hotel Madrid, the former located at the beginning of the effervescent Gran Via while the later is nestled with the salubrious streets of the Salamanca neighbourhood.
Both hotels have excellent gastronomic offerings (Ático restaurant and La Terraza at The Principal Madrid, Ramon Freixa Madrid at the Único Hotel) and their respective webs have great tips for sight-seeing, shopping and dining while visiting the capital.