The ‘Año Antonio Gades’ (Antonio Gades Year) has commenced with two exhibitions: Antonio Gades: 60 años de danza española at the Teatro Federico García Lorca in Getafe, Madrid (3–12 November 2010; Sala Pablo Serrano: 3–15 December 2010; Casa de Andalucía: 17–30 December 2010) and the second, Vientos del pueblo me llevan, comprising 24 works by the artist Antoni Miró.  

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The commemoration, which has been organised by the Fundación Antonio Gades, will continue until November 2011, when Gades would have celebrated his 75th birthday.

Antonio Gades (Antonio Esteve Ródenas) was born in 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War. He was forced to leave school at the age of 11 and help support his family. At the age of 16 he was noticed by Pilar López, who changed his name to Gades, and made him a part of her dance company with which he toured the world for over a decade.

After leaving the Compañía Pilar López in 1961, he established his own company and began to make his mark with works such as Don Juan.

He made his first film in 1963, Los Tarantos, with the director Francisco Rovira Beleta (see Flamenco Film Night on My Flamenco Diary). In 1967 they made a version of El Amor Brujo together.

To appreciate the beauty of his refined style, look at this Farruca which was broadcast on TVE2 in 1969. This film clip of Antonio Gades dancing a Farruca is introduced with a short interview.

Gades’ Bodas de Sangre based on the play by Federico García Lorca was premièred in Rome in April 1974. In 1983 a film version was made, directed by Carlos Saura. This was the first film in what became known as Saura’s Flamenco Trilogy. Two more films followed: Carmen in 1983 and El Amor Brujo in 1986.

In 1978 Antonio Gades was appointed Director of the Ballet Nacional de España

In 1994 he created one of his last works, Fuenteovejuna which was based on a play by Lope de la Vega of the same name.

An excellent website about Antonio Gades and his work can be found at: portalatino

© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba

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