Rafael Bonachela's dance inspiration
Bonachela had left for London in 1990. At that time, he was 18 years old and at 20 became a Rambert dancer; the oldest Contemporaneous Dance Company of the United Kingdom.
Later his career shifted toward choreographing art works within the current pop style aesthetics developed with the Kilye Minogue group for four years, and the contemporaneous dance ensemble.
In September 2004, he won the Place Prize, a biannual choreography event.
Once in Havana, Bonachela spoke with Cubasí webpage on the piece he created for the Cuban company.
Q: What were your references of the Cuban dance before coming?
A: Very poor in fact. Cubas National Ballet Company is what the world knows best, what has been broadly promoted. However, Ive not seen it either, because Im not so much interested in classic ballet. Ive heard it features very good dancers. One of my dance teachers in Barcelona was a Cuban. When I was proposed to come for choreographing, I asked Kenneth Kwastrom from Switzerland, who had been in Havana, about Cuban dancers. He told me they are amazing. In coming back to London, Cathy Marston told me more or less the same about them.
Q: What happened when you first visit the Danza's venue? How did you organize work? Did you have a scheduled plan or else you waited until meeting Cuban dancers. What was your inspiration?
A: I waited for meeting the dancers. My inspiration comes from the movement, after which, it might become something else depending on its internal process. Very rarely I have a predetermined idea, except for the case dancers are from my background and I know the way they perform and the way they are as persons. I came here with my laptop full of music and no idea into my mind. Neither was I scared, because I faced the same process in Germany two months ago. There I found a 16-dancer company and carried with me no music, nothing. As a choreographer I need to read a book, listen to a song or watch a film to get my inspiration. Being at the rehearsing salon inspires me to do choreography.
Q: Choreography features lots of lifting, turns and floor work; physical work. Is it part of your aesthetic characteristic or of the Cuba's Contemporaneous Dance?
A: Its one of my characteristics. If I happen to meet dancers, who know how to do this, then Ill take it even farther. Regarding the dancers body weight, I dont want to show dancers are falling down or stumbling when they make hold of a body weight. I want to express the true physical power. I havent decided that. Its part of my work and comes out just like that.
Q: The piece has a slightly treated violent atmosphere. Is it intuition, too?
A: Yes. It has been praised and criticized. Its not violence. Movement expresses that sort of violent action.
Q: I think, its your way of heartedly communicating with the public.
A: Perhaps it is something I have inside and is coming out somehow.
Q: I know, theres a possibility of collaboration between Rafael Bonachela and an acclaimed/ questioned Cuban performer, Carlos Díaz. What can be expected from that dialogue?
A: I think, itll be something very interesting. I had no idea about his work. I met him in the only Cuban party I was. I saw him playing Fedra and Las Relaciones de Clara in the theatre and his work is impressive. I dont go to the theatre every week, but I enjoyed his work very much. I know there are dancers and dancers, but I do not think of sex as an important distinction. I told you before I like to see girls carrying the boys. In Carlos Díaz's production, actors act out female roles and you dont even realize it. Thats interesting because nothing is given away. I have never worked with a dramatist.
Q: What will happen with the dance you made for the Cuban company?
A: I dont know. Its not rare to start and not finish. I have done so a couple of times before. It can work out. Coming here has been like receiving an adrenaline shot of strength and energy. I came here after two debuts; one in London and the other one in Germany. Ive not stopped working in two years. This piece enables me to stop performing it. My manager said to me: "are you crazy? if you tell me youre asked to go to Denmark I could understand it". But I replied: " forget it, its Cuba, and I know I have to go. I dont know why but, its a kind of feeling. I left the piece, when there are parts of which I am not so sure. Itll be more difficult to deal with them in terms of structure. I need more time to work with more dancers, not to have duos or quartets. I want to challenge myself in this dance, to strive. I feel secure working with 5 or 6 dancers. When you get 20, thats interesting. Not because of the figure, but because of the work that can be performed. Itll be my challenge. I dont know where it can take me or if Ill get some sleep. Ill come back in August. And I leave wishing to return, and thats a lot. I think, its reciprocal. Dancers put it all together dancing. Sometimes I told them; give me 100% only not 150. We have all day for it. I had never said such a thing before and see that I had been in many places already and working with many dancers!
Q: Which pieces will you prepare in coming back to London?
-Two days ago, my company got the budget awaited for so long! Over three months of agony. There you work in a sound atmosphere, but uncertain indeed, because they dont guarantee in ten years youll have money enough to afford your company. You have to work hard. Perhaps its that feeling of uncertainty what keeps dancers interested in improving. Now, Im thinking that in the Carmen Jones musical, Havana can be the set, where the story takes place.