Picasso’s work in dance form
David Martín sees in ‘The absinthe drinker’ something more than a solitary woman with a glass on the table. He imagines her in a state of drunkenness, “and how much the sound of the castanets annoys her in that state,” he says. So he dreamed up a dance, based on the thought of what it must be like to be her, surrounded with people playing castanets and the racket they make.
The portrait of ‘La belle Fernande’ transmits feminity, sensuality; to the sound of Enrique Morente singing a ‘malagueña’, the model moves her dress and her body is naked from the waist up, covered only with black paint.
The dancer from Malaga has choreographed Picasso’s paintings in ‘Mi sentir en Pablo’, a show which is a mixture of pure flamenco and the most avant-garde, and it will be performed on 26 October at the Cervantes Theatre. This week, he presented it to the public at a talk organised by poet José Infante at the Revello de Toro museum on Monday evening.
For ten years a dancer with the Sara Baras company, with whom he performed on stage at La Malagueta recently, David Martín is taking a step forward to present his own ideas as a choreographer “with no labels.” He came up with the idea some time ago, but it was when he had a serious car accident a couple of years ago that he really began to reflect.
“I was on the point of leaving the company and saying nothing,” he says. Then, he plucked up the courage to talk to “the boss” about his plans. “She has always been really supportive of me,”he says. He wanted to find a team of dancers of his own and put his ideas into effect. “I was afraid, and I felt insecure, but I have found it liberating. I know I don’t have to be right, that not everyone is going to like it, but I’m going to say what I think,” he explains.
One picture, five minutes
The result is a show which is nearly two hours’ long and in which a new picture is danced every five minutes. On a stage transformed into a white cube the images start to build up through flamenco steps, sounds and colours. The paintings will not appear on stage (that would have involved copyright fees), but “anyone who knows Picasso will know what they are.”
Every dancer in ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, for example, dressed in a colour from the legendary picture, simulates with their movements the brushstrokes of the artist to the sound of Enrique Morente. Like Picasso, David Martín seeks “a difficult simplicity” in his work.
“The audience has to imagine what I am imagining. It will be interesting to find out at the end to what extent I have been able to bring to life what Picasso painted,” he says.
To get as close as possible, the dance and the aesthetic is adapted to the period of each work of art and its content. From the humble fabrics of ‘The absinthe drinker’, a sober ambience and contemporary dance, he moves on to the essence of flamenco with harlequins tapping out tango rhythms by Piyayo. In the background there will be five songs from Enrique Morente’s ‘Pablo de Málaga’ album (“he is the Picasso of song,” he says) and others composed by musical director Carlos Haro, Juan Manuel Lucas and Miguel Rosendo.
In ‘Mi sentir en Pablo’, David Martín has taken the liberty of exploring, of throwing himself to the floor “which I haven’t done since I was a student at the conservatory,” and breaking rules. Who says a man can’t dance with a shawl? He does so in ‘Garçon a la pipe’ to recreate the flowers against which the young man is posing. “I have always loved shawls, but they give male dancers capes. In flamenco they are very strict, but you can be just as masculine dancing with a shawl,” he argues. His ‘Guernica’ is another transgression: Picasso painted it as a protest against all wars, but he uses it to protest against bullfighting. “I respect it, but death is not art,” he says. He stains a ‘suit of lights’ to portray Picasso’s most iconic picture. And paint, in the form of body paint, also covers the breasts of La Belle Fernande, who won Picasso’s heart. There are no frills, or spotted dresses here.
The show passes through all the periods of Picasso’s work: the blue period (‘The death of Casagemas’, ‘The absinthe drinker’, ‘La vie’, Celestina’), the rose period (‘Garçon a la pipe’, ‘La belle Fernande’) and the cubist period (‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, ‘Guernica’, ‘The three musicians’). For this, David Martín is surrounded by three dancers: Elena Rodero, from Malaga, and his colleagues from the Sara Baras company, Charo Pedraja and María Jesús Rodero. The team is completed by actor Jorge Lucas, and Juan de Loxa, a poet from Granada, wrote the texts.
After the premiere at the Cervantes on 26 October, ‘Mi sentir en Pablo’ will go on to Seville, Madrid and Tangiers.
He is controlled by his diary, aware of what it means to accompany one of the few dancers who fills theatres in Spain and abroad. “As a dancer, I can feel confident. With Sara, I have performed on stages on which others will never, ever perform, and several times,” says David Martín, who started dancing at the age of eight in flamenco shows at hotels on the Costa del Sol. With this leap in the dark he admits that he has been on the point of throwing in the towel on more than one occasion. “But Sara tells me that she has been just as afraid, and still is at times,” he says. That’s show business for you.source surinenglish