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CARMEN.maquia is a Picasso-inspired contemporary take on French composer Bizet’s famous comic opera Carmen (1875). The choreography fuses contemporary dance with Spanish paso doble and flamenco. Sansano first choreographed it for Luna Negra Dance Company.
“In 2012, the Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano gave Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ a dramatic and stylish contemporary dance makeover… Forget that flaming red dress — this version of the Gypsy seducer’s tragic tale takes place in a bleak, modernist black-and-white world, where contemporary ballet flirts with flamenco and paso doble.” – Brian Schaefer, The New York Times
In this dance we find Spanish tradition mixed with Picasso’s modernity, Bizet’s fiery music, our own dreams of fullest passion, and even a touch of Balanchine’s neoclassical ballet influence.
The Story of Carmen
The opera tells the story of Don José, a simple soldier who falls so madly in love for the fiery gypsy Carmen that he abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his job. When Carmen moves on to Escamillo, the glamorous matador, Don José kills her in a jealous rage.
Staging the lives of common people who enjoy their bodies and showing a murder right on stage was shocking at the time. Later the opera came to be seen as an important transitional work from opéra comique to the realism of Italian opera verismo.
The Habanera from Act 1 and the Toreador Song (Bullfighter song) are the opera’s most famous songs.
The Passion of Carmen
Some people are still shocked at how Carmen lived, but if you are poor and live in the country (or even the barrio), your body may be all you have.
Especially in places where the balance of power between men and women is out of balance, a woman’s body is often the only tool she can use to survive.
You may look down on her, but you’ll come watch Carmen on stage because even you dream of enjoying your life by giving yourself completely like she did. That is the passion of Carmen.
Gustavo Ramírez Sansano
Sansano is an international choreographer who also directs Titoyaya Dansa in Spain.
He was born in San Fulgencio, Alicante, Spain, a small town near Murcia not far from the Mediterranean coast, in 1978.
When Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director left Luna Negra Dance Theater, the company he founded in Chicago, he left it to Sansano.
Sansano’s first Ballet Hispánico commission was El Beso (The Kiss, 2014) set to music by 1900ish Spanish composers with costumes by Venezuelan designer Angel Sanchez.
The playful piece was Sansano’s first work in New York City. He has been commissioned to choreograph works for Nederlands Dans Theater, Compania Nacional de Danza, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and many more of the world’s leading dance companies.
The CARMEN.maquia Production
Choreography by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano
Music from various works by Georges Bizet, performed by the Slovak Philharmonic, Praha Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestras, and by the Arte Ensemble. Carmen Fantasy, by Pablo de Sarasate, performed by the Apollo Symphony Orchestra.
Set Design and Construction by Luis Crespo
Costume Design by David Delfín
Costume Construction by Travis Halsey, Diana Ruettiger
Lighting Design by Joshua Preston
These sponsors support Latin culture. Their generosity enables us to express who we are. They deserve our acknowledgement, gratitude and support.
- Jody & John Arnhold
- Howard Gilman Foundation
- GOYA Foods
- Harkness Foundation for Dance
- Frances Lear Foundation
- Scherman Foundation
- Shubert Foundation
- National Endowment for the Arts
- New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (with the City Council)
- New York State Council on the Arts
- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
Ballet Hispánico, the Apollo Theater, GOYA Foods and the other sponsors work hard to make tickets affordable so you can take the entire family. ¡Vamos juntos! (Let’s go together)
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