Antonio Gades’s take on ‘Carmen’ in Athens

Dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades’s «Carmen» is being staged at the Badminton Theater until Sunday. The flamenco performance, focusing on the story of a fiery woman, opened yesterday in Athens. Gades takes a fresh look at the story of the wild Carmen, leading to an unexpectedly charming result, a successful modern take which has also been transferred to the big screen by filmmaker Carlos Saura. Gades’s concept is like a plot within a plot: While a group of dancers works on a new flamenco version of «Carmen,» the boundaries between performance and reality become very blurred on the stage, as the group’s choreographer falls madly in love with his principal dancer. This love at first sight will have unforeseen consequences for everyone, mostly because of the young woman’s need for personal freedom. In his version, Gades decided to rid «Carmen» of all the unecessary and cheap frills that the work acquired during the Franco period. What the audience sees instead is a renewed tradition, flamenco in its pure form, human and free from any fake, added techniques. Gades had once said that his dance group is entirely human, meaning that it consists of fat and thin people, tall, bald, big-chested or flat-chested. He explained that they are not dancers representing people, but people who dance, because dance is not about steps and choreography but about what exists between the two. Badminton Theater, Goudi Military Park. Tickets can be purchased at Public in Syntagma, on tel 210.884.0600 and online at

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