What does being a dx associate mean for you?
My association with dx will be a fantastic opportunity to have the space, support and time needed to focus on developing the artistry of my practice. I feel it will give me a home in a great dance production institution, for two years, in which I can create and participate regularly, being able to use its top quality resources and international staff. I feel very proud that dx have recognized my work so far by offering the association, and am very excited about working with a dance house so keen on producing and exporting high quality dance productions.
What are you planning to develop during your time at dx?
During this period of time, I plan to choreograph a new full-length production for my company, DeNada. I am not very sure what this is yet, but in line with DeNada’s previous work, it will be a narrative production exploring themes of sexuality, gender, and in this case, monstrous masculinity and colonialism, particularly in relation to Spain and South America. This new work will tour the UK in 2018. I am very interested in using this opportunity to expand the scale of my work from small to mid-scale, and am excited about how the resources and support from dx can help me achieve that. dx also has a great reputation for excellent outdoor work, so I would like to use this opportunity to explore working in that genre as well. Overall, I am really glad to have this opportunity, as I hope that having the backing of an organisation like dx can allow the capacity and management of my company to grow, giving me more space to focus on my choreography, and to grow as an artist.
Where do you see yourself/company at the end of your appointment with dx?
At the end of the appointment, I would like to have expanded my choreographic resources and have become a more mature artist, producing mid-scale work that delves deeper into the themes that interest me, finding new ways to communicate narrative and create distinct, unique worlds for my audience and dancers. I hope we can perform in new stages, nationally and internationally, and have collaborated with exciting teams along the way, and to have had the chance to work with other companies so I can grow through that too. There are a couple of stories and beings in my head that are bursting to come out, so I hope- for their and my sake!- that they get the chance to.
Tell us about you and your company
Carlos Pons Guerra is an independent choreographer who has created work on dancers from companies such as Rambert, Northern Ballet, Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (India), The National Young Ballet of the Dominican Republic, Verve, Elmhurst School of Dance (Associate School of Birmingham Royal Ballet) and more. Carlos founded his company, DeNada Dance Theatre, in 2012, and has created four works for it since. His triple bill for DeNada, Ham and Passion, has had two national tours of the UK, as well as touring internationally across the Caribbean and Europe. In 2015, Carlos was nominated for the UK Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards, in the category of Best Emerging Artist, and in 2016, his company received two nominations for the same awards: ‘Best Independent Company’ and ‘Outstanding Female Performance (Modern)’ for dancer Marivi Da Silva’s role in Carlos’ work, Young Man!. Carlos was a guest choreographer in Northern Ballet’s 2016 Choreographers’ Lab and has taught internationally at leading conservatoires. Originally from Gran Canaria, Spain, Carlos began his ballet training at the Choreographic Centre of Las Palmas, under direction of Anatol Yanowsky, and at the Royal Conservatoire for Dance of Madrid, before completing his training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.
DeNada Dance Theatre is an internationally touring company creating darkly humorous, highly theatrical and vigorously physical work that often explores themes of sexual, gender and cultural identity. Interested in exploring, exporting and subverting Hispanic and Latin culture in the UK and beyond, it is formed by an excellent international cast of dancers, who are currently touring Carlos Pons Guerra’s triple bill of dance, Ham and Passion. DeNada Dance Theatre was nominated for a UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award in the category of ‘Best Independent Company’ in 2016, and has performed internationally at a variety of venues and festivals, including the No Ballet international Choreography Competition, Ludwigshafen (2013), International Dance Festival Birmingham (2014), Agitart Festival, Spain (2015) and the International Dance Festival of the Dominican Republic (2016).
I would really love to work with Bianca del Rio, winner of RuPauls Drag Race, onstage, and have her star in one of my productions! My dream is to collaborate with composer Alberto Iglesias, and dreaming even more, with film directors like John Waters or Pedro Almodóvar.
As for dance, if Mats Ek or John Neumeier could give me five minutes of mentoring, I think I’d pretty much be able to call it a day and consider I’d succeeded in my career.
Tell us about your first dance experience?
They tell me I was dancing from the age of two- on flamenco heels, no less- and to be honest, one of the earliest memories of my life is going to my sister’s flamenco lessons and stealing castanets- all the girls had small cubby holes to leave them in, and I would take them and clack away. Aged two, I wouldn’t watch cartoons, only my sister’s end of year flamenco show- I would wear her polka dot skirt over my head, the heels, and stomp away in my diapers. There is footage of this- highly guarded- but I think at that age, I was pretty good, better than my sister!
Favourite dance video of all time?
It is so hard to choose! But one of the things that moved me the most recently was this scene from Neuemeier’s Nijinsky, which I saw at the Sydney Opera House danced by the Australian Ballet. I think the choreographic resources for storytelling here are so striking:
And then, I have this secret favourite- Itzik Galili’s Mono Lisa. I love the extremity it goes to and the relationship of trust and abandon between the two dancers- it’s spectacular! And exactly what I aim my dancers to have: