CULTURE

Joaquin Cortes back with ‘Cale’

Always happy to be in Greece and just a few weeks before unveiling his new production, «Cale,» at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, flamenco shining star Joaquin Cortes was in town to discuss the project with journalists. «Cale» goes on stage on September 14. Clad in a tight black shirt and jeans, the dancer-choreographer, who recently established an organization to benefit Europe’s Roma, appeared at a press conference earlier this week. «I’m very sad about the recent wildfires,» he said, «but I do hope that my show will bring you some joy. Art, and especially dance, are media that help people to escape from their problems and lessen their sorrow.» In this new production, which has already set out on a world tour, Cortes attempts a journey of emotions. «Cale» is a retrospective on his life and his career so far, in which the star has recorded his influences and personal experiences. «I have gathered the essence of the six works that I have directed and interpreted around the world over the last 20 years,» he noted. The production features 16 musicians and 10 female dancers (the latter dressed in costumes designed by Giorgio Armani and Jean Paul Gaultier; Cortes would have nothing less) in a sensational, signature-Cortes flamenco show. «Cale» made its debut in Madrid and Barcelona last March and April, subsequently traveling to New York’s Beacon Theater in May and to Mexico in June. Cortes is celebrating his 40th birthday by dancing and choreographing. Born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1969, he demonstrated an early interest in dance before moving to Madrid in 1981 where he began taking dance courses. He was was admitted to the Spanish National Ballet in 1984, subsequently touring around the world and performing in landmark theaters, including at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. While he rose to become a principal dancer within the national company, his desire for more creative control led him to establish the Joaquin Cortes Flamenco Ballet company in 1992. At the Athens press conference, journalists were eager to ask him all kinds of questions. Surprisingly enough, he obliged, making himself available to anyone with a request. How important have his good looks been in his development as an artist? «The most important thing is work,» said Cortes, who also referred to his successes and failures, his family and friends as well as his father’s support when he first began to dance. «I’m straight,» said Cortes disarmingly, »and so I was able, especially back in those days, to prove that dance is not solely the reserve of women.» And there was more. Did you know that these days Cortes is single and in search of the woman of his life? «Cale,» at the Panathenaic Stadium on September 14 at 9.30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the following points: Public, Village Cinemas, Odeon, www.i-ticket.gr and http://showtime.villagecinemas.gr.