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Kirenia Martínez Acosta
Paula Quintas
Branca Novoneyra
Uxío Novo
  • Company: Kirenia Danza

  • Direction: Kirenia Martínez

  • Choreographic creation: Kirenia Martínez e Paula Quintas

  • Dancer: Paula Quintas

  • Poetry: Branca Novoneyra

  • Music: La Shica (Elsa Rovayo) e Bruno Baw, Moisés Fernández e Rubén de Marchena.

  • Graphic design: Fotográfica Oviedo

  • Videocreation: Carlota Mosquera

  • Lights: Javier Gey

  • Costume: Kirenia Martínez e Paula Quintas

  • Production: Uxío Novo

  • Agreements: Fundación Sgae e Treparole

  • Distribution: Kirenia Danza



It is a choreographic documentary project that aims to build a danced biography of La Belle Otero, the icon of the Parisian Belle Époque.

A self-made woman, born in Galicia, who became, despite the implicit prejudices of the pink dimension of her life, the most famous Spanish dancer of the late 19th century.

Kirenia Martínez proposes, along with dancer Paula Quintas, to develop an alternative memory discourse to discover the connection to modern dance and rescue her identity as an immigrant and cultured woman. A contemporary, cinematic, and auditory proposal that travels from poetry to the body and from the conceptual to the traditional and identity-based.

How did Carolina Otero dance? How does her influence on the modern scene connect with current choreographic practice?


Icono Otero:

"Icono Otero" is a choreographic documentary project about the cultural appropriation that constructed the fascinating biography of La Bella Otero. Carolina Otero was the personification of the Belle Époque, captivating everyone with her exotic dance, embodying the canon of Spanish feminine beauty. La Bella Otero's identity was a highly successful marketing product inspired by the exotic and passionate image of the Spanish woman.

Carolina Otero presented herself as a gypsy from Cádiz when, in reality, she was Galician, hailing from Valga (Pontevedra), a village she fled from after suffering a rape at the age of eleven, which left her sterile. After emigrating to Lisbon and Catalonia, she settled in Paris and became one of the stars at the legendary Folies Bergère cabaret, touring the world's most important theaters. This choreographic project aims to create a danced biography of La Bella Otero. Through dance, the project seeks to rescue her identity as an immigrant and cultured woman, as an erotic myth and internationally famous artist, Galician and gypsy. It projects a choreographic document on the identity of the exotic and typical Spanish woman of the colonial era. How did Carolina Otero dance? Who was the real greatest Spanish erotic myth of the late 19th century? How does her influence on the modern scene connect with current choreographic practice?

A self-made immigrant woman, companion to rich and powerful men, an internationally successful artist; immensely rich, addicted to gambling, a beautiful young woman who retired at the age of forty-six to avoid public decline, and finally, an elderly woman, ruined and forgotten. "The Spanish Dancer" is the title of this project, named after a poem that the Cuban poet José Martí wrote after attending a Neo-New York recital of La Bella Otero in 1890. This modernist poem by the hero of the Cuban independence movement is required reading in Cuban schools. What kind of cultural appropriation sustained the success of the Spanish dancer who fascinated the Cuban independence poet? From the recited memory of José Martí's Spanish dancer, we will build a choreography using contemporary dance physicality, accompanied by documentary contributions such as artist postcards, a 1890 recording showing Carolina Otero dancing Chopin's Valse Brillante, dates accompanied by documented events from her biography and historically contextualized.

Without a doubt, La Bella Otero connects with contemporary trap artists and the cupletistas of the early 20th century, those artists who, during the first decades of the 20th century, continued in the footsteps of La Bella Otero, Loïe Fuller, or Josephine Baker. These great artists developed within a modern scene characterized by body freedom and identity exoticism that, on multiple occasions, concealed the origin of these immigrant women who constructed an artistic discourse on the exotic and their identity to succeed in the cabarets and theaters of the Belle Époque. Interest in the figure of Carolina Otero has resurfaced in recent decades with the publication of fictionalized biographies by Carmen Pousada and Ramón Chao, the production of a miniseries about her life, and numerous articles addressing the social dimension of her figure. With this laboratory project, we aim to recover her contribution to the modern scene and unfold an updated memory of her dance.

The goal of this choreographic project is to develop an alternative memory discourse to what La Bella Otero constructed during her long retirement in Nice, the city on the French Riviera that welcomed her in her later years. La Bella Otero died at the age of 97 after squandering her immense fortune gambling at roulette. The Casino de Montecarlo granted her a lifelong pension for the charm with which she had played away her great wealth.

Far from implicit prejudices about the pink dimension of her figure, it is through a contemporary choreographic discourse that we want to discover the contribution to the modern scene of the most famous Spanish dancer of the late. 19th century.

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