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Home Culture Anabel Álvarez, president of the Plaza de Granada and a committed bullfighting cultural manager | The bull, by the horns | Culture

Anabel Álvarez, president of the Plaza de Granada and a committed bullfighting cultural manager | The bull, by the horns | Culture

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Says Anabel Álvarez, president of the Granada bullring and director of the bullfighting events that are held at the La Corrala residence in Santiago, a university extension center in this Andalusian city, who is a fan of bulls due to family tradition, because Vicente, her paternal grandfather, had the habit of taking the entire family to the 10th stage during the fair, and now she recognizes that she is hooked on the party, and that she has made it a way of life. “I don’t understand my daily life without bullfighting,” she says.

She has a degree in Law and a property manager, but her passion is bullfighting. For 14 years she has been a collaborator in different bullfighting radio programs on national and Andalusian networks; Together with two friends from the faculty, Loli and Pilar, and in collaboration with the University of Granada, she devised in 1996 a series of conferences that she soon led alone, and which have just completed their twenty-seventh edition; And 17 years ago she was named titular president of the city’s bullring.

“Bullfighting has an undeniable cultural aspect and we try to delve deeper into it during the sessions,” says Álvarez. “Cultural and academic,” he adds, “and hence the importance of talking about bulls within the framework of the university.” “And the presidency of the plaza is a step in my maturity as a fan that offers me the opportunity to get to know the party from the inside,” she concludes.

“It is essential that we talk about bulls without complexes in a university center and that we focus on the cultural tradition of this festival”

Neither the days nor the presidency have been an easy road. The first ones once had the invaluable help of Carlos Orte, director of La Corrala who has since passed away, and now with that of José Antonio Murciano, current head of the center, but Anabel Álvarez remembers that some time ago there was a collection of signatures at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters so that the sessions were suppressed. Fortunately, its promoters did not achieve their objective, and the days continue to be held for four days a year, with conferences, book presentations, round tables and an artistic exhibition, and the presence of gold and silver bullfighters, ranchers, veterinarians, writers. , journalists and fans. “I continue to worry that the conferences have content and significance, that they talk about bulls in a university setting, and that the fans consider them a bullfighting reference,” says Álvarez. And all this is carried out with the financial help of the Corrala de Santiago itself and private companies that, contrary to usual practice, offer their bullfighting testimony.

“More than 250 speakers, including professionals and experts, have passed through La Corrala,” says Álvarez, “and even so it seems pretentious to me to say that the conferences have contributed something to bullfighting; “But it seems essential to me that we talk about bulls without complexes in a university center and that we focus on the cultural tradition that this festival contains.”

The La Corrala events and Anabel Álvarez’s radio collaborations were the best guarantees for the Andalusian Government to notice her when they decided to offer her the responsibility of going up to the presidential box in the Granada bullring. It took her three years to accept the proposal, she took advantage of the time to film in small places in the province of Granada, and since 2007 she has directed one of the two presidential teams in the capital.

Anabel Álvarez, in front of the poster of the last bullfighting days held in La Corrala in Santiago.

“At first, it was not easy for the bullfighting sector to accept the presence of a woman in the box,” recalls Álvarez, “but authority and respect must be earned regardless of gender; For this, it is essential to have a hobby, legal knowledge and knowledge of bullfighting regulations, bullfighting culture, and be familiar with some personal attitudes such as knowing how to manage crisis situations, possessing a large dose of patience and dialogue, but with the ability and judgment to take decisions against everyone, if necessary.”

The president assures that at all times she has felt supported by politicians, and that she has never received a call other than to corroborate a decision made by her team. “And I mean it truly, with absolute responsibility,” she emphasizes.

“But the work of a president is very complicated because in an afternoon of bullfighting many interests come together and they do not always coincide,” she continues. “And you must weigh all the proposals and be clear at all times that you are there to defend the Regulations and the rights of the spectators. But it is hard to make decisions that do not satisfy everyone.”

He adds that mornings in the corrals are not usually easy, and that the recognition tasks, in which the cattle presented for the fight are approved or rejected, cause tensions between the parties. “Complicated situations occur in Granada and I say this from experience,” he says.

“But the status of president also has an exciting side,” she adds, “it allows you to get to know the bullfighting festival from the inside, although, sometimes, you hear and see things that threaten to take away your hobby, but it is very rewarding and rewarding.” What do you receive in return?

“It has not been easy for the bullfighting sector to accept the presence of a woman in the box”

Ask. You will also have experienced some bad times…

Answer. Yes, in addition to the nerves that are experienced in the corrals, there is the occasional fight from the public; My father stopped coming to the bullfights when I presided because he suffered a lot. You sense the decision that is going to provoke the angry reaction of the public, and Granada is very noisy for good and bad, the volleys are made of wood and reverberate loudly when people protest; The fights are not pleasant, but they are accepted, and if you are not willing to do so you cannot go up to the box.

P. Are you a demanding president?

R. Try to be. This show must be honored in all places. I try to make the triumphs real. Today there is a wave of triumphalism that is not good for the party, and to the best of my ability I try to control it.

P. Do you think he’s still ‘shaving’?

R. Yeah; For six years my team has sent supposedly manipulated pythons to analyze and there have been ranchers sanctioned. I don’t want sanctions, but I have no choice but to report it to give prestige to the celebration, and so I convey it to the crews.

“The Granada public comes to the square to have fun,” he concludes, “which seems fine to me, but I am more in favor of excitement, because it is not in vain that I am the result of some of the good fans in my city. For me, ethics in bullfighting is very important; Therefore, the first thing is the bull, its presentation and its behavior.”

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