With a show entitled “Sinfonía española de lo clásico al flamenco”, Irene Rodríguez made clear her confidence on the intensity of dancing. She handles everything with a domineering attitude, but no one knows how to balance humbleness and ambition better than her, Irenita, as she is referred to by those who observed her transformation into a great dancerat a very young age.
Her humbleness makes her accessible and loved in Havana, where she was born. Her Spanish roots on her mother side played an important role in the beginning and still do sometimes, or are used as starting point for different artistic adventures. As a child, Rodriguez admired classic ballet dancers and apprehended the essence of ballet. She fell for the theater and studied performance at the Higher Institute of the Arts (ISA by its acronym in Spanish).
For her there are no movements free from emotions. No one was surprised when she became prima ballerina of the Spanish Ballet of Cuba (BEC by its acronym in Spanish) by the age of 20, or founded her own company by the age of 30 as she was also trained as professor and choreographer. Despite her busy life schedule among performances and rehearsals, she had a Master’s degree and recently had a PhD. on Arts.
Since young she was able to stage scenes for large pieces and learned to raise euphoric feelings among the audience without making use of frequent vulgar elements. Rodriguez just ended a set of performances along with the Cuban National Symphonic Orchestra (OSN by its acronym in Spanish) and this wasn’t the first time she froze a show. The audience left their seats at the Mella Theater long before the end of performances on July 5 and 6, to celebrate the success of Irenita and her company, whose artists moved as if adding new instruments to the orchestra.
The stamping of heels and eloquent arms, accents, energy, rhythm and talent harmoniously knitted the piece created by the dancer from her seat three years ago during a performance by that orchestra. “Who do I have to talk to for working together?” she asked fascinated. “I am” answered Enrique Pérez Mesa, captivated by Irene’s seriousness regarding her work, her professionalism and her capacity as an artist.
“Everything she does end up in success, that’s why she has a young but technically qualified company and I foresee an excellent future for them”, he pointed out with a baton in hand and with a wet shirt after their last performance.
Rodriguez enjoyed the opportunity to join the orchestra and increased the heat in the theater. She danced with castanets and with a fan, then with a shawl. She took a hat and danced a tango dressed as a man, she changed her clothes several times and finally, she wore a long dress and stamped her heels at an incredible speed impossible to catch by the human eye.
According to Perez Mesa, flamenco is a different language his orchestra is used to interpret; however, it moved the audience with pieces such as “Doña Francisquita”, by AmadeoVives; “La danza ritual del fuego”; “El sombrero de tres picos”, by Manuel de Falla; and a fragment of “La revoltosa”, by Ruperto Chapí.
The choreographic conception of the pieces toyed with a wide range of emotions. Rodriguez made a wonderful use of classic ballet, bowling school, flamenco and even tango techniques.
This show was recorded in Havana’s Grand Theater Book of Honor after its premiere in this theater in 2012. Besides, important figures like prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso and great pianist Frank Fernandez have worked together with Irene in different projects.
She won the Ibero-American Choreography Award in 2012, and today she has a school for professional training in this field and dreams about having a venue of its own some day.
Nor of the pieces she has interpreted –Carmen’s voracious bull, nor controverted Frida Khalo– have demanded so much effort as that of creating and directing her own company, where she and her mother also act as designers, PR managers, and undertake any other necessary functions.
For Irene, the main obstacle is the economic situation given that it affects them in terms of tours, performances, and also has a negative effect on the general national culture for being a week link.
Irene champions the intensity of dancing with elegance and virtuosity, away from yelling, ups and downs except for those strictly technical, confident on the best compass: her constantly fabulous art.