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Dancer in the show created by Daniel Doña, in Japan. Parque España
Japanese theme park on the look-out for flamenco dancers in Spain
Entertainment

Japanese theme park on the look-out for flamenco dancers in Spain

Shima, a coastal town in Japan, is home to a theme park dedicated exclusively to all things Spanish and choreographer Daniel Doña has returned to his native country to hold open auditions for the flamenco spectacular

Doménico Chiappe

Madrid

Sunday, 16 June 2024, 21:35

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A popular tourist destination in Japan is Shima, a coastal town that is home to a theme park dedicated exclusively to Spain. Visited by a million people every year, its most popular performance is a flamenco show, delivered night after night, and up to three times a day in high season. It now needs to hire dancers for next year's show, which will be called Ópera Prima.

Dancers will be recruited in Spain through auditions held by the show's director and choreographer, Daniel Doña. "They need to have high quality technique in their execution and be prepared, in mind and body, to face this effort with the energy and virtuosity that Japanese audiences expect from Spanish artists," said Doña, who was one of the show's dancers for 18 months, and who considers himself a "restless, curious choreographer, who seeks to create from his own impulses, from instinct and from freedom".

Doña arrived in Japan in the nineties, from the flamenco stage of his native Granada, where he began dancing at the age of 14. A few months ago he returned - almost three decades later - as the director of a work of art that retains "a constant pulse between the traditional patterns of pure flamenco with the contemporary currents that run through flamenco today", he says.

Daniel Doña with part of the cast in rehearsal (top), the group of dancers in Japan (middle) and a dance from the show (bottom). Parque España
Imagen principal - Daniel Doña with part of the cast in rehearsal (top), the group of dancers in Japan (middle) and a dance from the show (bottom).
Imagen secundaria 1 - Daniel Doña with part of the cast in rehearsal (top), the group of dancers in Japan (middle) and a dance from the show (bottom).
Imagen secundaria 2 - Daniel Doña with part of the cast in rehearsal (top), the group of dancers in Japan (middle) and a dance from the show (bottom).

His time in the Land of the Rising Sun was not brief. "I'm returning to the same place that has changed me the most, as a person and also as an artist," adding that after his time in Parque España, the theme park in Shima, he joined the company of Yoko Komatsubara, one of the "leading forerunners of Japanese flamenco".

A year-long contract

Anyone who wishes to challenge the "many absurd prejudices about artists or shows on offer in a theme park," Doña says, and who wants to try their luck 11,000 kilometres away from Spain, must be between 18 and 40 years old and register by email at audicionesparque@japonia.es for the auditions taking place in Barcelona and Madrid in September.

"What interests me most is their artistic personality; that within the group of aspiring performers they stand out for something that makes them unique, different," says Doña, but he also warns that "any temporary uprooting from your family and friends is hard. The cultural contrast at the beginning is very striking; it's a completely unfamiliar language and opposite culture".

The contract runs from January to December 2025 and includes "a house for each of them, with electricity and water paid for," says Doña. "It's in a rural location, but only a few hours by train from big cities like Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya or Tokyo. Some people rent or buy cars to travel around the country on their days off. It's an incredible intercultural experience.

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