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Muriel Romero, the first woman to direct the National Dance Company since 1987 | Culture

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Muriel Romero (Murcia, 1972) will direct the National Dance Company (CND) for the next five years, the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (Inaem), the Ministry of Culture entity to which the company is attached, announced on Tuesday. She will replace Joaquín de Luz and her candidacy has been selected, among 22 projects submitted, for “expanding the boundaries of the Company by enriching it with her extensive experience as a performer, creator, manager and pedagogue,” according to the Inaem press release. In 2019, when De Luz was appointed as director, there were 14 candidates.

Although she is far from the international superstar profile of the two previous directors, José Carlos Martínez and Joaquín de Luz, both leading figures in more classical dance, Romero, whose work is framed in contemporary dance, also has a vast career that she has developed since 2008 at the head of her own group, Instituto Stocos, together with the composer Pablo Palacio. At Stocos, Romero and Palacio have developed several European projects in which dance and music come together with science and new technologies.

In this sense, the CND’s next lines of action are a departure from previous directions. If with Martínez and De Luz the recovery of classical and neoclassical ballet was the flagship of their candidacies, on this occasion, a much broader view of dance is contemplated, also encompassing live arts and the performancementioned for the first time as part of its credo in the history of this institution. “Muriel Romero aspires to connect the world of the great classical companies with that of more independent productions, performance and the live arts; that of the academy with experimentation and the institutional path with the reality of the sector,” the note says.

The CND’s lines of action for the next five years include giving Spanish choreographers the opportunity to make their debut with this entity, as has been done with the last directors. “Romero aspires to develop a Company that works with multiple styles and languages, but with excellence as a principle. He proposes to expand the repertoire with previously unperformed works by established and emerging choreographers, prioritizing national creators or those based in our country and artistic languages ​​that until now have not had a place in the CND.” In other words, a clear vocation for openness that will facilitate the access of the general public to the new languages ​​that inhabit dance. In addition, each year a work from the 20th century repertoire that has not been performed in Spain until now will be revived.

In this direction of new Spanish creations, on which the CND hopes to focus, collaboration between contemporary choreographers and composers will be encouraged, as well as with other artists and disciplines from within and outside the country. The rural environment with little access to culture is also contemplated in the plan developed by Romero. “The artistic project includes a wide network of collaborations with other companies, institutions and performing arts venues in order to plan a system of tours that will allow the artistic quality and versatility of the CND to be brought throughout Spain – paying special attention to current challenges such as access to culture in rural environments – and abroad.”

Inaem emphasizes the “feminist, inclusive and diverse vision for the CND” that Romero’s project aspires to and that “will strengthen the commitment and vocation for dialogue among the members of the Company, to whom it will offer new opportunities through the annual CND Creators program.”

The promotion of artistic residencies, the diversity of audiences and the pedagogical nature that has been worked on by the ranks of the CND in recent years will continue under the new management. With this appointment, the next five years of activity for the two institutional dance companies are set. Rubén Olmo, director of the National Ballet of Spain, was reappointed in his position last April, which was not the case with Joaquín de Luz.

Romero’s appointment was made following a selection process in which the 22 projects submitted were subject to evaluation by the Artistic Council of Dance, in accordance with the provisions of the 2010 Royal Decree regulating the participation and advisory bodies of Inaem, and the Statute of the CND.

Muriel Romero was a dancer with the CND under the direction of Maya Plitseskaya (1987-1990) and Nacho Duato (1990-2010). In 2000 she began her career as an independent choreographer and collaborated with avant-garde artists such as La Ribot, Sasha Waltz, Cisco Aznar, Mateo Feijóo and Unterwegs Theater. Later, she was a soloist dancer at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden, where she deepened her artistic relationship with choreographer William Forsythe. At the head of the Stocos Institute, a company she founded in 2008, she has developed her own transdisciplinary language that combines dance, music, mathematics, experimental psychology and artificial intelligence. One of her latest works, which contemplates this disciplinary union, is Embodied Machinepremiered in 2022 at the Barcelona Flower Market.

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