Annual Flamenco festival showcases brightest dance talent from Spain at Sadler’s Wells

Salders Wells Flamenco. Picture: Jesus Robisco

Salders Wells Flamenco. Picture: Jesus Robisco - Credit: Archant

The Ballet Nacional de España’s nights at Sadler’s Wells should be a triumphant return to the UK under their new director, says Alex Bellotti.

On Monday the Flamenco Festival London come to Sadler’s Wells and this year’s programme features some of the biggest and brightest young talent around.

As well as featuring masters of flamenco such as Antonio Canales and Karime Amaya, and riveting young stars like Jesús Carmona, the festival will welcome back the Ballet Nacional de España, which makes its much anticipated return to the UK for the first time since the appointment of Antonio Najarro as director in 2011.

In his short time, Najarro has breathed new life into the Ballet Nacional and re-established them as one of the world’s leading lights in modern flamenco.

Now, the director is looking forward to a real test at Sadler’s Wells.

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“In London they really know what flamenco is. They really know the different languages of the different choreographers’ flamenco, so we really respect coming there because the audience will be able to tell what is a good show and what is a bad show.”

The company will perform two pieces. The first, Antonio Canales’ Grito, is an exploration of four of the fundamental categories of flamenco: seguirillas, soleares, alegrías and tangos. The second, Suite Sevilla, is Najarro’s own original masterpiece and will see 35 dancers on stage fusing cutting edge trends in both music and dance, accompanied by a score from Rafael Riqueni

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“What we are living now in 2015 in cinemas, in theatres and fashions, everything is striving to create new movements, new ideas, new costumes and designs,” says Najarro. “Everything inspires me and actually the world is fusing with different languages: modern dance, contemporary dance, oriental dance.

“We’ve worked a lot to create a really original, beautiful, traditional and modern music. That’s what’s really difficult, to mind the traditions but see the future of the dance and music.”

Since Najarro’s appointment at Balet Nacional, it is this balancing act that has proved the recipe for his success. He speaks of his “very personal language as choreographer” and it seems to become one that the Nacional are becoming fluent in.

“We’re creating a very strong team, with a beautiful and strong energy and that’s why we’re having a lot of success around the world,” he adds. “All the theatres have completely sold out and all the people, the dancers, designers, technicians, all the people of the Spanish national ballet, we’re putting our hearts on the stage. I think the audiences appreciate it and for us that is the best present.”

Ballet Nacional de España play the Flamenco Festival London at Sadler’s Wells on February 26-28. The festival runs from February 16 to March 1. Visit

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