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Press Release: Conquistadors, female bulls and animals in drag in DeNada Dance Theatre's 'TORO: Beauty and the Bull' - national tour 2018

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DeNada Dance Theatre

TORO: Beauty and the Bull
A tragicomedy played out by conquistadors, female bulls and animals in drag




National Tour 2018

TORO: Beauty and the Bull, DeNada Dance Theatre’s new production by artistic director and choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra, is a full length narrative work which presents a gender questioning, Hispanic take on the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. TORO embarks on a national tour from 22 March to 27 April 2018. 

Recently nominated for three UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, DeNada Dance Theatre exports, explores and subverts Hispanic and Latino culture in Britain and beyond. Directed by up and coming Spanish choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra, the company is known for producing exciting and provocative LGBTQ work that calls for gender and sexual equality.
TORO is inspired by the original story by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve as well as the erotic and feminist reading of fairy tales by British writer Angela Carter. Set in a circus sideshow of a dystopian South American, TORO is a grotesque tragicomedy played out by conquistadors, female bulls and dragimals - animals in drag.  



A young prostitute is rescued from a cruel gang of male colonisers by a female beast, who takes her to the outback to be adopted by her troupe of leather-bound, performing drag monsters. Basking under a sideshow marquee of gender-fluid acceptance and intimacy, Beauty and Bull live an intensely emotive love story that is never out of threat from the savagery of the civilized macho. 

This queer postcolonial reading of Beauty and the Beast reflects on the nightmarish circus that is male supremacy, and the freak shows all minorities endure under oppression. Through a darkly ironic lens, with absurd humour and the right dose of Latin drama, Pons Guerra questions who the real monsters amongst us are. 

The choreography for TORO draws on contemporary dance, classical ballet, voguing, bull fighting and drag to create a unique, highly physical and theatrical language. Movement narrates the story alongside an eclectic soundtrack of Hispanic and Latino tracks, including pasodobles, mambos, Latin percussion, sorrowful Mexican rancheras and the highly dramatic Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov. 


TORO is performed by an international cast of six dancers - Marivi Da Silva, Emma Louise Walker, Michael Barnes, Nicholas Tredrea, Jonathon Luke Baker and Jason Tucker. Costume and set designs are by Ryan Dawson Laight with lighting by Barnaby Booth, both regular collaborators with Pons Guerra. 


Produced by Spin Arts, TORO is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and was commissioned by DanceXchange with further support from The British Council and the Spanish Embassy in London.



DeNada Dance Theatre – TORO - UK National Tour 2018: 
Thursday 22 & Friday 23 March at 8pm 
DanceXchange, BIRMINGHAM (Premiere PRESS NIGHT 23 March)
Tickets: 0844 338 5000 / www.dancexchange.org.uk


Sunday 1 April at 8pm
Tickets: 0843 208 6000 / www.thelowry.com


Thursday 12 April at 7.30pm
Pavilion Dance South West, BOURNEMOUTH 
Tickets: 01202 203630 / www.pdsw.org.uk


Saturday 14 April at 7.30pm
Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, LEEDS 
Tickets: 0113 220 8008 / www.theatreleeds.com 


Tuesday 24 April (time TBC) 
PATS Studio Theatre, Surrey University, GUILDFORD 
Tickets: 01483 68 6876 / www.surrey.ac.uk/arts 


Wednesday 25 & Thursday 26 April at 8pm 
Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells, LONDON 
020 7863 8000 / www.sadlerswells.com


Friday 27 April at 7.30pm 
Déda, DERBY 
Tickets: 01332 370 911 / www.deda.uk.com


Age guidance:  14 + due to nudity and scenes of a sexual nature
Running time: 80 minutes (includes 20 min interval)




Carlos Pons Guerra is an independent choreographer who has created work for companies including Rambert, Northern Ballet, Attakkalari (India), ENDanza (Dominican Republic), Verve (UK) and more.  Carlos founded his company, DeNada Dance Theatre, in 2012, and has created four works for it since. His triple bill for DeNada, Ham and Passion, has had two national tours of the UK, as well as touring internationally across the Caribbean and Europe. In 2015, Carlos was nominated for the UK Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards, in the category of ‘Best Emerging Artist’, and in 2016, his company received two nominations for the same awards: ‘Best Independent Company’ and ‘Outstanding Female Performance (Modern)’ for dancer Marivi Da Silva’s role in Carlos’ work, Young Man!. He has received commissions from the British Council, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and The Movement, a partnership between The Lowry, Sadler’s Wells and Birmingham Hippodrome. He was a guest choreographer in Northern Ballet’s 2016 Choreographers’ Lab, has taught internationally at leading conservatoires, and is an associate artist at DanceXchange, Birmingham. Originally from Gran Canaria, Spain, Carlos began his ballet training at the Choreographic Centre of Las Palmas and the Royal Conservatoire for Dance of Madrid, before completing his studies at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. 


He is currently creating a new work for Ballet Hispanico of New York, to premiere at the Joyce Theatre in April 2018. Carlos recently choreographed Penguins, a new children’s production introducing young audiences to diverse families for Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Cahoots Northern Ireland (premiered in February 2018 and touring), and is currently working on Man to Monk, a Sadler’s Wells commission to create a male duet for internationally renowned Malaysian dancer Mavin Khoo and dancer Victor Callens (formerly with Emio Greco). 


Carlos features in one of four 30-minute artist-led films for broadcast on BBC 4 this April as part of the channel’s dance season. In a unique partnership with the BBC, Sadler’s Wells curates and creates each film introducing audiences to a different dance artist from diverse backgrounds and styles, taking us behind the scenes to observe them at different points in their career as they create new work or prepare for a new performance. Including extended sequences of performance, each film offers viewers a unique insight into dance in Britain today. www.denada-dance.com / https://twitter.com/DeNadaDT

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