In rehearsal with Jose Agudo
21st April 2021
We wanted to share some highlights from our interview with Jose Agudo, ahead of our summer performances. Jose is amongst a number of commissioned choreographers working closely with our students to restage or create new work for our 2021 performance season.
The first performance from our third year students will be taking place at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House. We are excited to return to perform there and will be doing so within Government guidelines as the roadmap unfurls.
About Choreographer Jose Agudo
Jose started his career in Andalusia as a Flamenco dancer and performed in Europe with Ballet de Marseille, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and Akram Khan Company. Following this Jose began working on several pieces for Akram Khan Company and studied Kathak dance under Akram’s guidance.’ Jose reconnected with his roots and began to explore traditional forms in a contemporary context’. As a result he created Silk Road (2017), which is still touring and most recently Carmen, which will tour from 2021. Jose will also be appearing in the 50 Contemporary Choreographers book by Routledge.
About the piece
Jose will be re-staging an excerpt of his work ‘A Thousand Shepherds’ with our third year students. The piece is close to Jose’s history. In his own words Jose describes the piece as a depiction of a pilgrimage, exploring themes of identity and conflict. Inspired by a sabbatical in India, it is an energetic piece featuring rituals. The dancers in the piece begin in a place of celebration and experience certain struggles along the pilgrimage.
We asked Jose a range of questions on his experience with working with Rambert School students and adaptations he has made to his piece due to the implications of COVID-19.
The piece has previously been performed with 8 dancers and lasts for 30 minutes. For this performance season Jose is working with 11 Rambert School students who are performing an excerpt. As the piece is about individuality within a group it works well and can be easily adapted in line with COVID restrictions. There isn’t any contact in the piece and the dancers work within the space in different formations.
Students train with Jose 11-6 each day during an intensive rehearsal period. He uses this time to give the students experience of working within a professional company, ‘we talk about the ideas behind the piece, we talk about the movement, we rehearse the piece and we do things again and again until they really have the piece in their body’.
Upon reflection, Jose told us that the experience of working with Rambert School students has been amazing and he has been continually impressed by the student’s technique and how quickly they can absorb information, ideas and choreography. ‘It’s inspiring to see ideas translated through dancers’ bodies. It’s great to see different qualities expressed and articulated. The training I feel really prepares the students for the professional world’.
We are looking forward to watching A Thousand Shepherds and our students are excited to be performing live once more.
Follow us on social media for more updates on our choreographers and their work in rehearsal ahead of the summer performances from May 2021.