Interview: Sara Baras Q&A

Thursday 25 February 2010

Sara Baras in Juana la LocaPhoto: Peter Muller
Spanish flamenco superstar Sara Baras brings her 20 strong company to the Royal Albert Hall on 12 & 13 March. Her BEST OF – show will be a celebration of her career, featuring extracts from some of her most popular shows such as Sensaciones, Suenos, Juana La Loca and the highly acclaimed Sabores.
So what makes her tick?

When did you first discover dance?
I was introduced to dance by my mother Concha when I was 7 years old and I have never stopped since. I consider my self privileged to work in something as special as the art of flamenco.

Has it always been flamenco for you, or have you explored other dance styles?
Yes, at the beginning of my career I only danced flamenco, but as I got older I studied other types of dance. I have placed my body where it should be and I have tried to enrich my dancing without forgetting my roots.

How do you describe your style. Would you say you are a flamenco modernist?
Flamenco obliges you to be free to express what you feel; one’s personality is important and is the thing that distinguishes you. Flamenco is pure heart. It’s true that this Company has its own identity, we respect tradition but we have our own way of doing it.
It’s a way of life, a means of feeling every moment. I am a flamenca because I feel flamenca in everything I think and everything I do. When I go to another show or to the movies, I hear a song and I pick up on a detail that I like, and I try to see how I can adapt it to my world and my own flamenco vocabulary.

You are appearing at the Albert Hall for three nights – how do you feel about dancing in such a huge venue?
To dance in a place like that is a gift for any dancer, it’s a temple where there is a magic that makes you grow, to dream and make dreams.

You’ve appeared often in films and on TV. Is live performance still special for you?
I consider live appearances to be more powerful than any other format, but I also enjoy other things and to learn from other formats in order to enrich myself. On stage when I perform live, I feel loved and respected by the audience, and I have never been able to give anything less than my soul, so that I feel many things there and when I concentrate hard, even the silence sings to me, and when I feel the reaction from the public I transform myself and everything seems little.

Tell us about the show that you’re bringing to the Albert Hall…
The show brings together the essence of the shows that we have performed over the last twelve years bringing together the mix of the various rhythms of flamenco, in a concert format using the drama of certain personalities that have shaped my career. I’ve taken bits from each show and given them a new look at all levels, in the choreography, the scenography and putting on a new and modern lighting design. We are lucky to have Jose Serrano as guest artist, a dance company of 10 dancers and with live music.

Sara Baras, 12-13 March, Royal Albert Hall
You’ve worked with fashion designers – sometimes appearing in their catwalk shows. Which designers have you particularly enjoyed working with for your own shows & why?
I have learned a lot from the designers that I have had the good fortune to work with, although I can’t specify anyone in particular as they have all been very different characters.

What makes a good flamenco costume? **The basic need of a good flamenco costume is that it should make you feel comfortable on stage and allows the body to move freely, without forgetting that it should be a fabric that has to be able to fly in the direction that you want it to.

Who, or what, has influenced you in the development of your style?
My mother was my first and most important teacher and her achievement was to ensure that her pupils were not all the same, that she extracted the personality from each of them. She ensured that we didn’t copy the moves blindly, but that we felt the movement as individuals. Flamenco is a way of feeling and it is important that your own personality emerges.

Now you have your own company of dancers, are you still primarily a performer, or are you taken up with directing and choreographing shows. Is there a conflict – and what do you like best?
I love dancing as well as directing and being a choreographer, I love to dream and make dreams in this beautiful world that is theatre, music and flamenco.

What do you like to do when you are not dancing?
I have to admit that I am one of those artists that never stops, to the extent that event the things that I like doing have got something to do with dance; I like to paint, read, go to the movies, cook…and I love my nephews and nieces

You’ve been touring widely in recent years. Are audiences very different around the world? With all humility I would like to say that the reaction of the public to our shows has always been very good, the memories that we have from all around the world have been very gratifying and we owe everything to our audiences.

What do you like about performing in London ?
I have performed in London over a period of many years and have performed the majority of my stage shows here and we have always had a great response from the audience. I love the London audiences because they are open and allow themselves to be swept along and feel that what they are seeing from the heart. It is also an honour to be able to perform in such a prestigious arena.

After your Royal Albert Hall shows, what’s next for you?
We will launch our DVD and a book of photographs from the Jauna La Loca show that we performed last summer in the Sabatini Gardens in Madrid, then we perform in Basle with the joint show I do with Jose Carreras and then we finish off the Spanish tour of this stage show which is so important to me. After May 2010 I want to take a break from performing, just a short break to realise another of my dreams, to be a mother.

Tickets: £25 – £50 More details/buy online: Royal Albert Hall

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