Blanca Li
Director & choreographer

Photo: Ali Mahdavi

Born in Granada (Spain) in 1964, Blanca Li started her career at an early age, competing in the Spanish national team for rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 12. At 17, she traveled to the USA to study in New York with Martha Graham for five years. During this time she also studied extensively with Paul Sanasardo and Alvin Ailey. Back in Madrid, she set up her first company of dance in 1992 with a commission for the World Exhibition in Seville.

In 1993, Blanca Li moved to France, where she created her own company and since 1998 the company has run its own studio space, Studios Calentito in Paris to create its work and to provide an open rehearsal space to theatre and dancers praticitioners working in the City.

Since the creation of her dance company in 1993, Blanca Li has added 12 creations to her repertory (Nana et Lila, Salomé, l’Amour Sorcier/El Anda- lous, Stress, Zap! Zap! Zap!, Macadam Macadam, Borderline, Alarme, Le Songe du Minotaure, Corazón Loco, Poeta en Nueva York, Garden of Earthly Delights). Working with a broad range of movement styles, from flamenco to hip-hop through classical ballet and contemporary dance, Blanca Li has exhibited a very individual career path. She mixes different disciplines and universes together in order to tell the story of a common artistic adventure.

Macadam Macadam was created in 1999 for the Suresnes Festival Cités Danse in France, and became a reference in the hip-hop genre. Corazon Loco produced in January 2007 at the Odyssud-Blagnac Theatre in France and at the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris, gathered company dancers and lyrical singers from the “Sequenza 9.3 Ensemble” in a contemporary score created by Edith Canat de Chizy.  Poeta en Nueva York, inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poems and experience in New York, was created in July 2007 in Granada (Spain), Alhambra Gardens. Accompanied by the singer Carmen Linares, the dancer Andrés Marín and a group of twenty other dancers, Blanca Li then created a musical mixing jazz and flamenco with original music by Tao Gutierrez. Garden of Earthly Delights, inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s famous painting, was the show created in June 2009 for the opening of Montpellier Danse Festival.

Blanca Li also creates operas, ballets and musicals. Invited by the National Opera of Paris, she created the ballet-opera Les Indes Galantes in 1999 and Shéhérazade in 2001. She was appointed artistic director and choreographer of the Berlin Ballet at the Komische Opera for a season and created Le Songe du Minotaure in 2002 for 24 dancers. In October 2008, she staged Enamorados Anonimos, a musical, which performed for seven months at the Teatro Movistar in Madrid. In January 2010, she created What a Circus! for the French collective “Jeu de jambes”, pioneers of Jazz Rock in France. In March 2010 she staged the opera Treemonisha written by Scott Joplin for the Theatre du Châtelet in Paris and in June 2010, she staged two operas in Spain by the compositor Luis de Pablo: Very Gentle and Un Parque.

In the field of visual arts and multimedia, Blanca Li was invited by the MUSAC, Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla y Leon in Spain, for her first exhibition Te Voy a Enseñar a Bailar (I’ll teach you how to dance). In September 2009, Blanca Li performed Ven a Bailar Conmigo (Come dance with me) for the event Noche en Blanco (White Night) in Madrid, a choreographic and interactive walk. The exhibition created for the Festival EXIT of the Maison des Arts of Creteil named Dancing Machine was presented at the exhibition Lille 3000 in France.

Blanca Li directed, choreographed and performed in her first movie in 2002, The Challenge, a tribute to American musicals transposed to the French hip-hop world. In 2009 she directed her second movie Step by Step, a documentary set behind the scenes of the show Corazon Loco. That same year another directing credit included For Her and an acting credit in the French movie The Code Has Changed.

In June 2009, Blanca was named “Associate Artist” of the National Choreographic Center of Créteil and Val de Marne, alongside the new director Mourad Merzouki. She was named “Officier des Arts et des Lettres” by the Minister of Culture (2007) and “Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite” by the Minister of European Affairs (2004). In 2009, she received the “Medalla de oro al mérito en las Bellas Artes”, a prestigious award given annually by the King of Spain, porposed by the Spanish Minister of Culture, and the “Manual de Falla Prize” in 2004 for her choreographic work.

Tao Gutierrez

Born in Grenada, Spain, Tao Gutierrez studied musical composition and percussion in New York with Nana Vasconcelos and Ron Carter. After a musical career, he collaborated with one of the most important jazz bands and musicians (Don Cherry), African ones (Baba Olatunji) and Brazilian ones. After this, he came back to Spain in the 90’s and started composing music for films (Poniente, The Challenge, El Calentito) and dance (Blanca Li Company). He also worked as a producer and music arranger for several bands such as Hevia and Edu. He recently developed his own musical production named Gaspanic.

Jacques Châtelet

Jacques Châtelet has worked with Dominique Bagouet, Françoise Adret, Angelin Preljocaj, Catherine Diverres, Jacques Dombrowski, Blanca Li, Régis Obadia, Sonia Petrovna, Jean-Louis Grinda and Anne-Marie Porras.

He has worked on lighting for Nice Opera (Marc Ribaud show) and Avignon Opera Theatre (Nadine Duffaut show).