CULTURE

Flamenco king returns

Spain’s Joaquin Cortes enjoys a serious global following of devoted fans. For those living in or planning a visit to Thessaloniki in September, it might prove to be a chance to see this sensual dancer up close. Cortes is scheduled to appear at the city’s Gis Theater on Friday, September 12. One-man show «Mi Soledad» is a one-man show featuring a 10-member orchestra as well as participating vocalists. In a clear departure from previous productions, the leading protagonists in «Mi Soledad» are music and song. The show’s original compositions have been composed by Cortes along with Jose and Antonio Carbonell. The result is a mixture of jazz, Cuban tunes and classical music, with the intensity of flamenco driving the beat. In «Mi Soledad,» Cortes takes a long look at his emotions. Solitude is a principal feeling here, and Cortes expresses this as a mark of individuality. Acting as tools of expression, the production’s predominantly black, white and deep red costumes, worn by Cortes, have been tailored by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Born in Cordoba, Spain, of Roma descent in 1969, Cortes trained as a classical and flamenco dancer. In 1984, he joined the country’s national ballet company, subsequently traveling and performing with the troupe around the world. While he rose to become a principal soloist within the company and appeared in grand theaters from New York City to Moscow, his passion for more artistic control led him to establish his own troupe, the Joaquin Cortes Flamenco Ballet Company, in 1992. The formation of the company gave him the appropriate platform for further exploration of flamenco, classical and contemporary dance. Apart from dancing, the company gave Cortes the opportunity to act as a choreographer and artistic director. «Pasion Gitana» and «Soul,» two memorable touring productions, proved that his passionate stage presence is coupled with a deep commitment to the art and history of flamenco. Celebrity ties Cortes has also been courted by the celebrity world. He appeared in Pedro Almodovar’s «La flor de mi secreto» (The Flower of my Secret) and Carlos Saura’s «Flamenco,» has collaborated with Giorgio Armani and has been romantically linked with Naomi Campbell.