Rocío Molina is a cutting-edge dancer and choreographer. Working with flamenco and dancing from her heart, she has gained invaluable appreciation from the world of dance. Very few have had the honorable visit of legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov to their dressing rooms, and Rocío Molina had the former American Ballet Theatre artistic director kneeling before her at the door of her dressing room as a gesture of appreciation for her work with choreography.
A fiery passion is present in Molina’s creations, working collaboratively with other flamenco artists, she prides herself on her research with people and art at large. Molina’s dance is full of theatrics, drama and an insightful vision of flamenco. Some argue that Molina is tearing flamenco apart, while others assert Molino as a force to be reckoned with, creating fearless, passionate and avant-garde performances.
I am interested in learning if there was a decisive moment where Molina saw herself as a choreographer and dancer. Perhaps a catalyst moment, “there wasn’t any critical moment, nor a day in which I suddenly felt like a choreographer or an artist”.
Born in Spain, Molina started dancing at the tender age of three years old, and at seventeen graduated with honors from the Royal Dance Conservatory of Madrid. Throughout her career, she has been working with flamenco – presenting it with a unique vision, unboxing the traditional format into the contemporary arena in collaborations with the likes of Israel Galván and Sebastién Ramírez. More recently, Molina took over the world of fashion in Shangai, in one arresting collaboration with Bali Barret and Jean-Paul Goude for the prestigious fashion house, Hermès.
Molina confesses to having been an artist for a long time, she says, ” I started dancing at a young age, and at first, it was more like playing a game, until I realized that I had been playing for years and that I have gotten a profession within me. So, there aren’t key moments, rather I have always been a choreographer, throughout my childhood and life.”
Molina wins the prestigious National Award for Dance in Spain at the age of 26 and becomes an associate artist with Chaillot National Theater in Paris. She then goes on a world tour, performing at the largest venues for dance across the globe, including, Sadler´s Wells in London, Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York and Festival Biennale de la danse in Lyon.
Traditionally, dancers learn flamenco from a maestro who passes on knowledge and heritage of the form to students across years of training, similar to a guru in classical Indian dance, where the teacher provides guidance throughout years of hard work. However, Molina shares a very different experience, ” I have never had a single maestro, but rather I have had many different teachers. ” She speaks further, to let me know that along the way she took something from every single master, particularly their “essences”, as she puts it, to shape her signature style.
In this interview, I realize that she is, in fact, a bit of a rebel. One of those artists that propose new ideas and challenges the establishment and doctrines of dance. Similar to Michael Clark in the U.K. who broke the codes of ballet to create his performance, still going 20 years later. She tells me, “I used to transform their choreographies to my own style, and they often liked the outcome. I did not have a support programme either, but rather it is all something that has come out of myself.”
” I had to discover myself on my own, but also thanks to each of the teachers, and to their wisdom. I have created my personality in this way, little by little.”
Besides the extensive movement research in flamenco and collaboration with other artists, Molina’s inspiration and interest in philosophy are present across her works. I am keen to understand how she frames the philosophical thought on her creative process and performances.
Molina frames the conversation differently to tell me that her work is based more on poetics, rather than philosophy, she says, ” I learn along the way, understanding, relating every piece with each other, living and observing my experiences and what affects me.”
Looking outwards she finds resonance with the world in the visual arts, confessing. “At the time of creating images for my dances I am affected much more by painting than by philosophy. However, truly and definitely, my work is centered around the organic, the corporeal. It stems first from the body, then from the mind.”
Rocío Molina discloses what I have long suspected, “The greatest part of my work is intuitive. Then, yes, images, reflections, ideas, texts, art. But first and foremost, my work is an intuition.” Molina is visiting Singapore to present her sensual and ardent Bosque Ardora with her troupe of dancers and musicians, trailer below.