Antonio Gades stark flamenco in Barcelona


Passing on a dancing legacy

Sea lover, Gades was a hardened sailor. When he was already really ill he did his last sea crossing on a sailboat. After transforming a cabin into an operating room in Ibiza, he sailed off towards Cuba, “the harbour of his life” as he put it. Antonio Esteve Ródenas (Elda, Alicante, 1936 – Madrid, 2004) was born in a modest and Republican family, when he was fifteen he started performing in vaudevilles out of necessity and soon Pilar López took him under his wing and named him Gades. Thanks to his mentor and his unique talent he became and exceptional dancer applauded in Spain and abroad. His performance in Los Tarantos (1963), by Francisco Rovira Veleta, along with the dancer Carmen Amaya boosted his career. Gades was a dancer, actor on stage and screen and also a choreographer, he was appointed to direct the Ballet Nacional Español, which he directed a couple of years, and he run his own company with which he defined his stark and insightful flamenco.

Carmen © Javier del Real Vallinas 

Gades felt at home in all harbours. Due to this reason, the season of Antonio Gades Company at Teatre Victòria in Barcelona was presented in front of the sea, in La Barceloneta. María Esteve –one of his daughters–, Eugenia Eiriz –his widow – and a close friend and collaborator of the dancer Josep Torrent remembered the artist and the man. They three lead the Foundation Antonio Gades, which the dancer himself founded in 2004, because he wished his artistic legacy to survive. Eugenia Eiriz stressed the reason why they pursue such a crusade: “we insist on his choreographies are classic art work of our culture and they must be transmitted to the next generations.”

Fuenteovejuna © Javier del Real Vallinas 

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