Rocío Molina, rehearsing at La Aceitera, her home and place of inspiration in Bollullos de la Mitación (Seville). / J. M. SERRANO

'The flamenco scene is led by women now and that makes us happy'

She leads a generation of female dancers who are "confidently and freely" breaking taboos. Desire is the theme of Carnación, which she is taking to the Bienal in Seville

REGINA SOTORRÍO MALAGA.

Rocío Molina says she has "no need for noise". To avoid it, she has no TV at home. She likes what she calls the "snail effect", shutting herself away in her "paradise" in the Seville countryside, in contact with the immense olive grove she sees from her window and letting herself be led by the rhythm of nature. After some hectic years, the dancer put on the brakes and decided to take some time out. A crisis she describes as "necessary" taught her several lessons: "I have discovered the power there is in letting things flow and not forcing anything," she says. Her guitar trilogy (the third part will be performed in Malaga in 2023) was the consequence of this return to basics, a different way of functioning. And Carnación is the next step. Having recently won the Silver Lion award for Dance at the Venice Biennale and the Positano Dance Award, she now brings her new show to the Flamenco Bienal festival in Seville. It is a celebration of the emotion that moves her world and her art: "My entire artistic career is pure desire," she says.

–In just a few months you won the Silver Lion and the Positano awards. Do these prizes make you feel more confident, or add to the pressure?

–The truth is I enjoy them. I try not to feel the strain, not to put myself under any pressure, just to enjoy the moment.

–Your speech in Venice was very revealing: you didn't dedicate it to effort, but to fragility. That was surprising from someone who has always been thought of as strong.

–Maybe it sounds strange coming from me because of all I've achieved through hard work and sacrifice. But I have also discovered the power there is in letting things flow and not forcing anything, and I find that path very interesting.

–Because everyone has fragilities and weaknesses...

–Of course, and admitting that is a very brave gesture. And using it is also an act of creation because of what you discover. Art always teaches me things.

–Having been through a crisis, have you lost your fear of them?

–I was never afraid of them, they are absolutely necessary. The fact that they are unpleasant to go through is another matter. There is no fear, but there is confidence. Life has a direction and sometimes the path twists and turns, but it's the one you have to take.

–Do you feel more fulfilled now than you did five years ago?

–I have always felt complete, with or without a crisis. It's not a question of being fulfilled but of being in place, in the present and embracing your moment, whatever it may be.

–That crisis arose from a need to break with the dynamics of a large company, to return to simplicity in a certain way. But can you go at a different pace in such a competitive market?

–The current is very gentle, to be honest. Going against the current or out of step requires an effort to be committed to who you are. You just have to get closer to nature, break that circle, and nature teaches you very well about time, contemplation and the slowness of things.

–I imagine that La Aceitera, your house and artistic residence deep in the Seville countryside, has helped you with that.

–Yes, I always need to be in contact with nature and I have no need for noise. It's my little paradise.

–Do you have television now?

–No, no I still don't.

–'Carnación' is about desire. People say that love makes the world go round, but maybe it's desire that does that?

–Yes, it is as simple and as important as what you have just said. Desire is what moves human beings. With me, it isn't a contemporary type of desire, wanting something and getting it quickly and then disposing of it; it's not a desire that stems from greed. It is much more spiritual, more mysterious and also more mystical than that.

–So what is Rocío Molina's desire?

–My entire artistic career is pure desire. It features in every one of my works.

–With Carnación, you have used sacred and electronic music.

–Yes, it's a very interesting mixture which we have worked on with the help of Paco, Niño de Elche. We have matched his voice with a soprano, a DJ, a classical violinist and a choir that performs sacred music.

–Do you feel, as some people have said, that this is a time of liberation for female dancers?

–I think it is a very good thing that we dancers are being heard. The flamenco scene is led by women now and that makes us very happy. In reality we have always been there, but now people can see what women have always done and that they are doing it with more confidence, more conviction and more freedom. That is very positive.

–And with less shame. Now women in flamenco, including yourself, talk without taboos about menstruation, birth, orgasm...

–Flamenco has been like all the arts. It is good that women are no longer associated with hysteria, guilt and wrongdoing as they have been throughout history. We have always been suspicious of the story they were telling us. It's good that now they are telling things as they really are.

–And it's curious that when a woman does certain things it is seen as provocative, but not when a man does them. If a male dancer goes on stage naked nobody says a thing.

–Women have always been judged much more. We have always had to be demure and keep quiet so men could have more freedom. In the end, it is the person who is looking that feels provoked. Freedom of expression should not be a provocation but a liberation.

– How do you deal with other people's comments and critical opinions ?

–As I'm a bit isolated from the world I retreat into my shell like a snail. I'm very choosy about who I listen to when there is criticism. There are always people more committed to themselves than they are to me. The opinion of the majority is not something that should bother me, otherwise I wouldn't be me. I pay no attention.

–Before performing you perform a ritual, putting your hands together and then placing them where your ovaries are. It's very symbolic.

–That's where creation comes from. There is nowhere more powerful to face yourself and face creativity. My hands go there of their own accord.

–You do not consciously seek pain, but dancing is painful. How long can you carry on performing?

–As far as I am concerned there is no end date ahead. Not until the desire to dance stops, and that will be when I die. Otherwise, I will carry on dancing somehow. La Chana dances sitting down, because her knees and feet are in an awful state, and dancing is the only way to stop her joints from hurting.

–Dancers are starting to name you as their role model. Do you feel that you are one?

–I'm pleased, I think it's nice, although there isn't even much of an age difference between many of us. I also admire a lot of up-and-coming dancers.

–When will you be in Malaga?

–In 2023 we will be there with the third part of the guitar trilogy 'Vuelta a uno'.