Since the creation of her dance company in 1993, Blanca Li added thirteen creations to her repertory.
She renews her sources of inspiration for every new creation, recruiting most of the time a specific team to create the show and to perform it.
1993 Nana et Lila, Trans Europe Express Festival (Berlin) and Avignon off
Created for the World Exposition 1992 in Seville, it is a show composed of two parts for nine contemporary dancers and five Gnawa musicians from Marocco. For Nana, I wanted to communicate the essence of the flamenco that I love, but through a renewed writing, that would be definitely modern. When I was choreographing this play, my professional life was so stressful that I have been searching for a bit of peace and rigour as a counterpoint to introduce in this show.
Lila was born from an invitation to realise a creation in Marocco in 1986. That is where I discovered the Gnawa's music for this first show. We became very close, and I wanted to put on stage the feelings that were mine during trances in the lilacs : women breaking down into tears, shouting, laughing. They used to dance all night long, until they were exhausted. Those liberator moments let the most intimate and private feelings express in an uncontrollable way. It reminded me of the spontaneous and massive outpouring of emotional energy that I had lived on stage when I was dancing flamenco, but in another context. On stage, dancer and musicians work in a complete symbiosis.
The two parts of the show are characterised by two different intentions: the first part is internalized and done with restraint, whereas the second part lets a boundless energy explode. The whole show reflects two ways of dancing that lead to the same extreme outcomes. It is this kind of contrast that interests me.
1995 Salome, Quartz de Brest.
This creation is an explosive cocktail of live classical music, danced theatre and ballet, plus the energy of the cabaret.
The sources of inspiration for this show come from a myriad of masterpieces, from the Bible to Wilde, Flaubert, Mallarmé and Huysmans, Strauss, Gustave Moreau and Beardsley. Salome has been fascinating me for years: beyond the usual clichés about seduction or murder, she is also a very young girl becoming a woman after an extremely violent experience.
I wished to stage her character both universal and contemporary through the various faces of Salome in the choreography. Each one of them represents a particular aspect of the character and of women, in harmony with the dancers personality. This variety of Salome can also be seen in the various methods and processes used to realise the performance. Of course, I had to use contemporary dance: for me, Salome is a topical theme. However, I use many techniques from the flamenco because this dance expresses sensuality, violence and tragedy. I also used circus techniques, more specifically the rope, for their aerial softness, their lightness and their universality and timelessness.
So does the music. Kœchlin seemed to be in line with my idea, because even if he composed at he beginning of the century, he was extremely modern. To him music had to be a kind of experiment and exploration, which is close to my vision of dance. Moreover, his work is full of energy and joy, which are part of the key elements of the character of Salome.
1997 Stress - Pète pas les plombs, Théâtre Jean Vilar, Suresnes.
Created in January, 1997 in Suresnes Theatre Jean Vilar, this show for eight dancers and actors is inspired by misused urban familiar objects.
Dancers perform in an urban decor and use / face its elements, in a growing tension, ending by a real madness. Little by little, the space a priori constraining becomes playful.
As usual, this show is full of Blanca Li's energy and taste of derision. Of course, dance occupies an important place in the show, but Blanca Li also combines elements from other disciplines, creating, as always with this choreographer, a show that is hard to define, making the borders between categories move.
This show is dedicated to dance companies and artists deprived of means, facing every day extreme constraints but who are able to benefit from the absurdity of their situation and find the source of their inspiration : "Pète pas les plombs" ("Don't freak out").
1998 Le Songe du Minotaure, Danse de Lyon biennial.
At the beginning, I wanted a choreography of pure dance, to enhance the beauty of nearly naked bodies. I was naturally guided in my inspiration by Greek statuary.
While I was looking for images and movements, I discovered myths, heroes, an uninhibited approach of nature and sex, philosophy, humour, and most of all an aesthetic, a sense for the beauty that is needed in any creation.
Then I crossed several themes that inspired me, the Minotaur and animals rituals from Crete, Knossos, Narcissus, Pygmalion, Amazons, Athena, figures from Greek temples and ceramics, Dyonisos festivities, love, war, the Olympic birth of sport.
For the ambiance, I recalled my childhood memories of Mediterranean landscapes, the blinding midday light, the sound of crickets and wind in pine trees. The show will be interpreted by 12 dancers. The white colour has been chosen for costumes and set, owing to its purity and elegance. For music, I found in some classical and modern composers’ work the Hellenic inspiration that has also inspired so many contemporary talents (Satie, Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, Kœchlin, Ted Shawn, Nijinsky, Martha Graham, etc.).
1999-2001 Zap ! Zap ! Zap ! (One woman show), Maison de la Musique de Nanterre, Théâtre de Nice, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Festival France Moves in New York.
In this scathing parody of TV talk shows and celebrity worship, Blanca Li zaps her way through a series of performance sketches in which she appears as the hostess and invited guests, including an ageing folk hippie, a pseudo-intellectual modern dancer, an over-achieving gymnast, a Brittany folk dancer, and many more. A hilarious tour de force by an ex-gymnast and flamenco dancer, trained at the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey schools.
1999 Macadam, Macadam, Festival Suresnes Cité Danse (recréé en 2006 puis en 2011)
The world of Macadam Macadam, a stage turned into a street and towered by a roller ramp, reflects the “street culture” generation. Thanks to her multifaceted talent, her energetic temperament and her insatiable curiosity, the Spanish choreographer Blanca Li is able to play with this culture, in a sensitive, provocative and elegant way. With 11 young virtuoso performers, she stages a successful combination of hip hop and contemporary creation, both intelligent and subtle. Hip hop rhythms meet music hall, and the choreographic pieces run from dancing to roller-skating, from biking to acrobatics. The performers’ spontaneity and sense of humour reach far beyond a simplified vision of reality and overwhelm us by their mere pleasure to dance.
2002 Borderline, Maison des Arts et de la Culture, Créteil.
Borderline is a choreographic project at the intersection of dance, music and art, which explores the thin line between normality and insanity. Deeply impressed by Lucy and Jorge Orta's project “Life Nexus“ at the Psychiatric Clinic Robert Giffard in Quebec, Blanca Li managed to work with those two artists for her own creation. Their creative trio focused its research on a contemporary madness. Who is really crazy ? Lunatics walking in the street ? The world itself ? Always with humour and a great sense of comedy, Borderline explores the numerous ways of being "different" : from those who indulge in craziness to those who suffer from it. A tragic-comical dance evening, oscillating between dynamic fits and darker moments of despondency.
The choreography itself is developed from the constraint of objects created by Lucy and Jorge Orta. The accessories and moves were born at the same time, during the phase of writing. The theme of constraint is declined in various ways in every scene of this total performance, structuring the matter as well as the body, in the rhythm of burlesque and reflexive situations.
2004 Al Andalús, A play in three acts (Nana, Canciones Populares, l’Amour Sorcier), Massy Opera and International Festival of Granada.
It is a very personal creation, a sort of concentrate extract of my intimate relation with Andalusia and with flamenco, music and dance I grew up with. I have travelled a lot and my work draws its inspiration from a great variety of sources, from Martha Graham to the Gnawas of Marrakech, including from other art forms. But flamenco always reappears in my choreographic pieces. Its presence just seems necessary, as a mean to go back to this part of me rooted in my childhood, where lies the very origins of my passion for dancing. This adaptable program is like an illustration of the multifaceted vision flamenco has inspired me at different stages in my life. It reveals a lot about myself.
2004 Alarme, Internationale de la Danse de Lyon biennial.
A collection of snapshots, glimpses of real life, a collage of different emotions. Life… as a film. For this creation, Blanca Li has chosen to work on several short pieces, composing a patchwork of short stories, of short dance movies. The choreographer draws her inspiration from moments, images, objects, stories, music, fragments of actuality, from all those unpredictable encounters that make her daily life. Some of these ideas take form into pieces with evocative titles like, Doblepaso, Alarme, Round Midnight, Made in China, Game Over… The length of these pieces as well as their form (solos, duos, trios, group compositions) reflect the lightweight, the briefness of these flashes of inspiration. Ephemeral moments treated with humour, poetry or energy, they respond to the need of the choreographer to give freedom to her wandering inspiration without being constrained by duration.
2007 Corazón Loco, Odyssud of Blagnac and Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris.
Corazón Loco has been an occasion for Blanca Li to reconnect with the world of music, after she started as a choreographer at the Paris Opera. « For this creation, I wanted the work of the voice to become one with the work of the body. Bringing dancers and singers all together, we explored both of those universes. » (Blanca Li) . Inspired by the universal topic of love, « never ending source of beauty, sensuality and fantasy », the choreographer got together a team of six dancers, eight singers, the vocal ensemble Sequenza 9.3 under the direction of Catherine Simonpietri, and a drums player. According to Blanca Li, the manuscript of the score by Édith Canat de Chizy, well-known composer, is a « choral performance of love, rich in poetry and humour ». She promised there would be gold everywhere on stage: the scenography by Pierre Attrait derives from the basis idea of anamorphosis, with walls made of textile, hiding and revealing the things behind at the same time. « A sensual background that gives pride to the body.» Blanca Li is always unexpected. Once more, she leads her audience beyond dreams and movement.
2007 Poeta en Nueva York, Generalife Theatre, Gardens of the Alhambra (program Lorca and Granada, Culture Ministry of Andalousia, Spain).
Poeta en Nueva York is inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poems and experience in New York from 1929 to 1930. He is confronted to a very different environment from his native Andalusia. It will be a decisive turn in his writing style. A group of twenty dancers, the soloist dancers Andrés Marín and Blanca Li, singing by Carmen Linares or Encarnita Anillo, and by Rob-Li, and an original music by Tao Gutiérrez give life to the interior world of Lorca, his images and words, between jazz and flamenco... Andrés Marín embodies the poet discovering a different place and Blanca Li is the inspiration and the words crossing the mind of the poet. A multidisciplinary and passionate performance: Granada and New York meeting in a dream about Lorca.
Around 60 000 people discovered the show during a series of representations at the International Festival of Granada.
2009 The Garden of Delights inspired by Jérôme Bosch's painting, Festival Montpellier Danse.
Jérôme Bosch's Garden of Delights and I have a long history. In this painting, the animal, vegetable and mineral reigns interweave. I have always wanted to give movement to this pictorial expression of a place where hell mingles with paradise, satire with morality, where the obsession of sins and salvation reaches an unequalled force. In my creations I like to mix various modes of expression. Here the work of Eve Ramboz, specialist in digital visual effects, who has already made two films on paintings by Bosch, will come in dialogue and interaction with my choreographic work. I chose the design of a pop aesthetic to place my creation in a contemporary space, where fantastic beings inspired by the real world and images from the painting sit well together. The Garden of Delights is a place where everything is possible.
2010 Elektro Kif piece for 8 electro dancers, Suresnes Cité Danse 2011 Festival.
With «ELEKTRO KIF», Blanca plunges once again back into the urban dance universe, with its diversity, its constantly renewed creative identity.
Blanca Li puts electro dance away from pure performance in order to install it on a theatre scene, through a contemporaneous choreographic project.
« I have always appreciated the stimulating and inventing exercise of submitting my creations to a musical or gestural constraint full of meaning and creativity, of creating a show at the edge of numerous universes in order to revive genres.»