Poemas de Alegria

Fall, 2000
Dance Arts Academy, Los Angeles

Choreographed by: Oscar Nieto
Additional choreography by Deborah Greenfield (Danza Flamenca)

The choreography was inspired by reading Federico Garcia Lorca’s latest biography “A DREAM OF LIFE” by Leslie Stainton. According to some of Ms. Stainton’s research, during his tenure as artistic director of the theatre company La Barraca, Lorca was always reworking his theatrical ideas and poetry. He would often put together poems that he had written at different times in his life or re-write material as the tours progressed.

I had learned a number of contemporary Alegria cantes (songs) and was choreographing them as studies for my dance students but didn’t quite know what to do with them. After reading the biography I came up with the idea of threading some of these dance studies together using the poetry of the songs as a loose choreographic guide – one of the songs is a Lorca poem. The choreography is still a work-in-progress, and maybe will continue to be. I find the idea of reworking a choreography like this very appealing. It will keep it fresh and be able to take in new poems and letras (verses).

A note on La Barraca: La Barraca was theatra group that was sponsored by the Republican Government of Spain in the early 1930s. It was an attempt by the government and Lorca to bring art and literature to the “people” (el pueblo). A barraca is a makeshift wooden stall that typically houses puppet shows and other performances at village fairs.