Daniel Abreu (Spanish National Dance Award) opens the Lanzarote Contemporary Dance Festival at Jameos del Agua on Saturday 3 March.

The Daniel Abreu dance company has been around for fourteen years, since 2004, led by its namesake, Canarian Daniel Abreu. Abreu is one of the most charismatic artists on the current contemporary dance scene. “The company developed naturally. I started with small projects and I realised that there was a demand for what I was doing,” he explains.

The company has its own identity, with more than forty choreographic works in Spain and beyond. “I don’t really know what it is that differentiates us. I do what I know best.” People say that we have a very personal language, certain aesthetics that identify us, less classical themes, a stage presence, and that we are somewhat ‘animal-like’ on stage. I don’t like referring to it that way, but it’s because of our dance style, the way we move our bodies onstage,” he adds. “The photography aspect of the production is very important to me, which is why I work with many levels and with perspective. I take great care over aesthetics and I try to work both with music and with silence. This, the absence of noise, is very important to me.”

Silencio is indeed the name of the piece that opens the Lanzarote Contemporary Dance Festival, a production that seeks to open doors to secret universes, to intimacy and even solitude. “Silencio is a battle against gravity, an attempt to create visual poetic scenes, because text exists, but it’s not as relevant as images,” he argues. “We try to convey beautiful scenes around what, for me, at the time, represent silence.”

The power of silence

Abreu views silence as a passage to a more meditative space, contact with one’s inner self. “The language of dance urges to be translated into literature, in some way, something that it isn’t. The word silence means something different to each of us, I want to go deeper into the space that evokes this silence, the calm, meditation, purity, introspection…,” he points out. “We live in a show business society, one full of noise. The left brain works the hardest, but it’s the right brain that interests me, the one that deals with perception, with creativity, with the afterlife…this is what I’m interested in.”

Jameos del Agua, a special backdrop

Abreu assures us that performing at Jameos is an added incentive. “Whilst my career has unfolded outside of the Canaries, my imagination forms part of the islands,” he states. “Everything that I try to convey through my work stems from Canarian landscapes. The cave at Jameos is so spectacular that this performance will inevitably become something special. I’m an artist and the volcanic landscape inspires my work.”

The director and choreographer admits that opening the Lanzarote Contemporary Dance Festival is a big responsibility. “Jameos del Agua is taking on a great challenge by hosting a Contemporary Dance Festival and it’s a big responsibility for us to open this festival. We will present a piece that involves human and visual elements, and where text is less important,” he adds. “The important thing is not what I want to say, as a director or choreographer, but that spectators can perceive, as they sit in the Jameos del Agua Auditorium, not only beauty of the scene we are conveying, but also how we convey it. I believe that our aim, on this stage, is to achieve a much stronger outcome.

Abreu is convinced that 21st-century spectators are totally capable of appreciating a contemporary dance performance. “Contemporary dance is not an alien concept to the spectator, it’s an expression related to our own bodies. We’re not presenting something incomprehensible, it’s just that it’s sometimes portrayed that way. You don’t need to have a mystical, nor overly-sophisticated, nor philosophical outlook…, quite the opposite: dance is physical, it contemplates people who move with human capabilities. Everything we convey is understandable and accessible. There’s no mystery to it,” he points out.

Save the date: 3 March at 20:00 at the Jameos del Agua Auditorium. Get tickets online or at the Casa Amarilla ticket office.

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