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Parc de la Ciutadella: Dancing partners + Dance + Technology

[ 22.09.17 ]

Dancing Partners: International Dance on the Programme at Ciutadella Park

This year more than ever, dance is one of the stars (though not the only one) on the Mercè Street Arts Festival (MAC Festival) programme in Ciutadella Park. This year, you can see leading international dance companies perform at the venue, and even dance with them yourself!

We refer to Dancing Partners, an international dance project at the Ciutadella that is led by Barcelona’s own Thomas Noone Dance Company. The ensemble has invited three more dance groups to join them: James Wilton Dance, from the UK; Norrdans, from Sweden; and Spellbound Contemporary Ballet, from Italy.

If you come in the evening, you will see members of James Wilton Dance perform at different times and on different stages. These leading representatives of the most contemporary dance in the United Kingdom will perform their choreography Leviathan, an athletic, high-energy piece.

Next, the Swedish company Norrdans, will present 7x7, seven short choreographies that demonstrate the high standard of dance in the Nordic countries. You can also see a third company, the Spellbound Contemporary Ballet from Italy. In Mysterious Engine, these dancers display their exquisite technique in a meditation of the human struggle for inner freedom. And, finally, of course, the Barcelona company Thomas Noone Dance will perform two pieces, entitled Perverso and Until the end.

And if you like what you see, try to learn some of the secrets of these companies – that will help you when you, too, start to dance. For, from Friday to Sunday, sometimes during the day, sometimes in the evening, dance workshops will take place at which members of these companies and many other artists performing at the park will teach you to dance.

Then, of course, you will need to practise what you have learnt. To this end, we invite you to attend the jam sessions that the companies involved in Dancing Partners will stage every day at midnight. You will see them having fun as they dance together, and will even invite you to join in!


Tap Dance at Ciutadella Park

Tap is a dance style with a long history, but one that continues to be absolutely contemporary, with more and more people learning its techniques. Perhaps you haven’t signed up for classes yet, but there can be no doubt that you will enjoy seeing a tap dance show, and there are several at Ciutadella Park this year.

Stroll around the Cascada waterfall venue in the late morning or early afternoon, and you will be pleasantly surprised by a show that forms a compendium of all the different tap dance styles. This is Liaison IV, the work of three companies from Catalonia, France and the United States. Tap Olé, Tapage and Chicago Tap Theatre have teamed up to perform a selection of pieces, many of them new creations, that fuse tap dance with Spanish guitar or contemporary dance, or reveal the more narrative, emotional side of this dance style.

And Liaison IV is not the only show in this style at the Ciutadella venue: the fathers of tap in our city, Camut, return once more this year to present Big Drums, fusing African percussion, tap dance, voice and sand dance.

But is it possible to mix comedy and tap dance? For the answer, see the show performed by the eccentric members of the Swiss company Martin’s Tap Dance. In this piece, entitled Slap, they use all kinds of objects as percussion instruments. 

What you will certainly never have imagined is that it is possible to tap dance to classical music. But that is just what Sharon Lavi does in Spring, turning Vivaldi’s composition into a celebration of tap dance.

Finally, we advise you not to miss Hands, a show that is clearly related to tap dance. Hands is performed by a duo of young British artistes Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding, aka Up & Over It. They will amaze you by how they move, not only their feet, but also their hands, rhythmically beating the table they sit at.


Dance at Ciutadella: New Talent, Urban Rhythm and… a Sweater!

During Barcelona’s Festa Major, the Ciutadella Park, epicentre of La Mercè Street Art Festival (MAC Festival), will host a varied range of dance shows, from ballet to the latest urban styles.

For instance, at the Ciutadella venue, Barcelona City Ballet will present Desdoblamiento, a piece by Alba Zamora, a dancer and choreographer who has performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Spanish National Classical Ballet. In this première, the company ask whether the presentiments and premonitions that we all feel from time to time have anything to do with (of all things) quantum physics!

There will also be examples of classical dance, such as Tants talents, a show coordinated by a master of urban dance, Arias Fernández, who brings together various styles in an eclectic repertoire, ranging from flamenco to ballet, tap and hip-hop.

The artist José Miguel Medina and his show HEY is yet another outstanding attraction. And if you want to see a group of artists dancing superbly on stilts as they explore feminine identity, then don’t miss another company, Maduixa, with their work, Mulïer. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in seeing flamenco danced with a chair, then Flamenco en vertical, featuring Antonio Vargas, is the performance for you.

And remember that two companies with close links to our city, Lali Ayguadé’s dance troupe and La Intrusa, will be performing at Ciutadella Park throughout the festival period. Lali Ayguadé will present Saba, a meditation on humanity’s constant searching, performed by Nicolas Ricchini and Diego Sinniger, while La Intrusa will stage Billie Jean, a piece that explores privacy and exhibitionism, performed by two young artists, Agnès Sales and Gigi Roset. And don’t miss a new work presented at La Mercè by a leading light on the Barcelona dance scene, Mar Gómez, renowned for her use of humour in her work. La vie en rose is certain to put a smile on your face. 

Choreographic treasure hunters interested in the latest dance productions should seek out Pablo Molina’s show, Phantôme, performed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, at midday or in the early evening. Phantôme is a solo show that looks more like a duet, as Molina dances with a sweater (yes, a sweater) that seems as alive and talented as the dancer himself.

And those who believe that the city streets are the best place to see modern dance have a lot to choose from: the range includes pieces by Brodas Bros (the futuristic BR2, and Vibra, performed with the Brincadeira percussion group) and by Kukai Dantza, a fascinating company from the Basque Country that fuse traditional and contemporary dance and present two different pieces (Topa and Gelajauziak) created in cooperation with Brodas Bros and none other than our own Cesc Gelabert.

Finally, the park is also the venue for several shows by dance companies from Korea, a pleasant surprise for both those who love traditional dance and those who prefer something more modern. Creative Group Noni will present two choreographies: firstly, Play of Tiger and Monkey, for family audiences, based on a traditional tale and featuring masks and drums; and secondly, Playing Wind, performed in the evening, in which the dancers’ masks are lighted on the inside.

Another company, Tago, also use traditional Korean drums in a hypnotic, energy-filled show. Meanwhile, if you prefer urban dance, I.O.F. Crew will demonstrate that a b-boy group can have roots in traditional culture yet create ultra-modern work. The proof of the pudding? Their shows Heung and Gwang Tal.


The Great Festival of Technology 

Erupting volcanoes, dreamlike landscapes, statues that speak, futuristic musical instruments… All this and more form the more technological face of La Mercè, an aspect that is showcased particularly at the Ciutadella Park venue.

The drums thunder, and the Font de la Cascada waterfall, generally a relaxing sight, becomes a volcano threatening to erupt. This is Terra Forma, a show featuring projections created by Ingvar Björn and music by the percussionist Sigtryggur Baldursson. Terra Forma transforms a well-known Barcelona landscape into a veritable force of nature, linking it to Reykjavík, the guest city at La Mercè this year. The eruption is not expected to cause any damage, but take care just in case!

If you would like to learn more about the lands that are home to these spectacular volcanoes, you should certainly visit the immersive dome installed in Passeig de Lluís Companys, where you can see a film by the Eyesberg group entitled Islàndia 360º. Be warned, though: the sight of those landscapes can cause a mad urge to jump on a plane and see Iceland and meet the Icelandic people at first-hand.

At the Glorieta de la Cascada (bandstand), moreover, visitors to La Mercè can discover a musical instrument invented in the Poblenou neighbourhood of Barcelona. This is the oval sound, a mixture of percussion instrument and electronic synthesiser that produces surprising sonic effects. And if you coordinate these sounds with light effects, the result is truly spectacular. Come see… and hear!


Finally, if you want to listen to complaints about a museum made by the statues installed in it, just visit the Ciutadella Geology Museum, where Light and Color and Jordi Teixidó will bring a building to life in their mapping show Yo, museo [I, Museum].