After ten years of hitting his head against a brick wall, Spanish ballet dancer Angel Corella has said that enough is enough and is closing his Barcelona Ballet company – formerly the Corella Ballet.
He set up the company while he was still a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, and it made its début in 2008, changing its name when it moved its base to Barcelona in 2012. Funding has been a problem from the start, and although he blames the Spanish government for not backing the project – “It demonstrates that it has no interest in culture” – maybe he should be blaming the economic climate.
I am frustrated, but I'm no masochist. After ten years of investing energy into a project I believed in, I'm forced to leave… they are throwing me out of here,
he told Vanitatis.
We have tried to smile and keep our heads held high, producing things of quality.
Being something of a national hero – there is even a waxwork of him in the museum in Madrid – the lack of backing has come as a shock to the first King of Dance, who was with ABT from 1995 until 2012.
He has also announced his retirement as a dancer at the end of this year, and that he would inevitably need to leave Spain to continue his career:
I'm going abroad. I cannot say what plane I will catch, but it's clear that I'm not staying. I turned down the possibility to direct the New Zealand ballet company because it would have been too difficult to see my family, but now I've decided I'm going elsewhere.
That means that his current performances in the new work A+A, with Lebanese-Armenian violinist Ara Malikian, in Barcelona, will be one of the last times he dances in Spain.
Every time I go on stage the preparation process gets longer and longer. I'm 38 and it is time to make room for those coming up.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.