Elisa raises the dance level in Mexico
Impressions of the first Edition of “Danzatlán”
With 12 years as a professional dancer in Germany, Elisa Carrillo Cabrera started to be strongly recognized in Mexico after her debut as a prima ballerina in the Staatsballett Berlin in 2011. She became the first Mexican to achieve this level in one of the worldwide ballet companies.
This year she was considered as one of the most powerful Mexican Women by Forbes magazine, just a month before the opening of “Danzatlán”, the International Dance Festival created by Elisa’s foundation, dedicated exclusively to dance gathering diverse styles in one week. Most of the shows were free. Eight years ago a scholarship and a concert hall were named after the principal dancer in the Estado de México, where she was born. And in 2012 the Ministry of Culture in Mexico organized the first gala Elisa & Friends. Past July this event celebrated its 7th edition.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago participated in the opening show of “Danzatlán” in the National Centre for the Arts in the south of Mexico City. It put the higher level for the rest of the international companies by offering a very solid artistic presentation.
With three pieces of the most talented contemporary choreographers, such as Crystal Pite with “Grace Engine”, Alejandro Cerrudo with “Lickety-split” and the genius Ohad Naharin with “Decadance/Chicago”, a collage of his works that include “Minus 16”, Hubbard overwhelmed the audience and, even before the show finished, it became a “must-see”.
Marcelo Gomes in “Paganini” (violin- Luis Antonio Vital)
Choreographie by Marcelo Gomes
These dancers generated a great expectation of the festival’s program where Meinrad Huber was the artistic advisor and Mikhail Kaniskin, principal dancer of Staatsballett Berlin, the artistic director. It was not a surprise that the second show of Hubbard in “Esperanza Iris” City Theatre, located downtown, was sold out.
“Danzatlán” also represented an important exhibition for Mexican companies from different genres, starting with HipHop and break dance with Boogie Up and Unik Breakers Crew. For the first time in Mexican dance history these movements were officially performed in front of the façade of the most important cultural space in the whole country, the Fine Arts Palace.
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal and São Paulo Companhia de Dança formed part of the international festival’s offer. Both, as it happened with Hubbard, showcased a program with divergent choreographers to demonstrate the broad abilities of the dancers, the versatility of the companies and how they keep an up to date repertoire. These aims were sought specifically by Elisa’s foundation.
It is a fact that Elisa is fulfilling her dream of raising the dance level in Mexico. An important proof is the academic program of “Danzatlán” that included an intense training in classic pedagogy with experts of the Vaganova Ballet Academy and Moscow State Academy of Choreography. They shared their knowledge with 32 Mexican teachers.
A dance photography workshop with Carlos Quezada, Stuttgart’s official photographer, and a lecture about Marius Petipá (two centuries after his birth) with the Russian specialist Vasily Medvedev were part of the academic activities.
The gala Elisa & Friends 2018 was the cherry cake of “Danzatlán”. We saw the high jumps and clean pirouettes of Daniil Simkin in “Les Bourgeois” and in “Don Quixote” grand pas de deux with Maia Makhateli, who also gave an outstanding performance, the wonderful partnership between Elisa and the great dancer Marcelo Gomes in Mauro Bigonzetti’s “Vértigo” and the Mexican debut of Nacho Duato’s “White Darkness” with Elisa in the principal role of an intense, dramatic and breathtaking piece.
In his first edition, this festival reached 30 thousand people with ten companies, eight academic activities, 16 performances with 213 artists from 15 countries in the state of Puebla and Estado de México and the country’s capital.
Being present in the majority of the shows, I can surely affirm that Elisa is changing the way public commonly view dance. Free access gives people the possibility of getting closer to this art expression, so it can no longer be conceived only for the elite.