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Contemporary dance finds a home on the Costa

Dancers rehearse at the Estepona theatre that is now their base for rehearsals and shows.
Dancers rehearse at the Estepona theatre that is now their base for rehearsals and shows. / C. Márquez
  • The Wennare Company has taken up residence at the Felipe VI theatre in Estepona

Having a resident dance company is an honour associated with concert halls in major European capitals. However, Estepona can now be added to this prestigious list, as the Auditorio Felipe VI takes in the Wennare Dance Company as permanent residents.

The troop is currently made up of five experienced dancers from Spain, France and Georgia under the direction of choreographer and dancer Yuri Gudushauri, who has experience in both classical and contemporary dance.

Veronika Ulkina, director of the company, said that “it is difficult to manage a company without the use of your own space” and she thanked Estepona town hall for allowing them to use part of the theatre.

Ulkina considers Estepona, and the Costa del Sol, a great place to find spectators. “There is no language or cultural barriers in contemporary dance, it is pure expression and anyone can understand and enjoy it,” she explained.

The choreographer, who trained in the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, never dreamed of starting a dance company, mainly because of the space problem. “Now we have a theatre to use and a technical team to work with,” he said.

Estrella Martín is one of the dancers in the Wennare Dance Company. She trained in New York and Japan and considers the Auditorio Felipe VI to be an ideal location for them, partly due to its big stage. “It's a privilege for us to be able to use this theatre because it is very difficult to find somewhere to carry out our entire work process, and not just put on one show,” she said.

As well as the creation and production of shows, having a home means that the company can also offer classes.

Over 60 students, aged between four and 17, make up the school. Gudushauri stressed that this is the only place where children can learn the 'Vaganova' technique of Russian ballet, which is not offered by any other academy or conservatory, but is used by international ballet dancers. The technique comprises of a series of movements derived from the teaching methods from the old Imperial Ballet School in Russia, which emphasises the lines formed with movement of the human body. Currently, the school offers three grants for children from Estepona.

The company made its debut with the successful performance of their first show 'EGO', which they will now be taking on a ten-date tour of Spain, rehearsing back in Estepona between shows. Then, from 1 May they will start preparing a new show.

The Felipe IV theatre, which seats 600, is also home to a variety of activities such as café-theatre, jazz and film cycles, monologue competitions, opera, book and record launches and exhibitions, as well as being home to a religious music band, a swing school and a musical theatre school.