Dancing around the world with Aleix Mañé
Aleix Mañé is a dancer from Tarragona, where he began his studies at the official Artemi dance center. In 2001 he entered the Institut del Teatre de Barcelona. Then, in 2003, he was awarded a scholarship at the Roseta Mauri International Competition bringing him to move to the Royal Professional Conservatory of Dance in Madrid. In 2006 he joined the Compañía Nacional de Danza under the direction of Nacho Duato.
Good morning Aleix, how are you? Happy Birthday..
The first steps in a dancer’s career are significant for his personal and artistic development. How did your road to dance begin?
My cousin used to do ballet in our home town. I’m from a small town near Tarragona and I really liked watching her dance and that’s where I started, in a very humble school with my teacher Eva.
Is dance learned or are you born knowing how to dance?
Dance, and especially academic dance, is learned, but I believe that you have to be born a dancer.
Dance is a profession that demands a lot from both dancers and their families. How did you come to decide on making dance a way of life?
I never decided; it was just happening; even in terms of the steps I was taking academically also. The dance studies, the career, moving to Barcelona, moving to Madrid, were all the consequences of competitions, of teachers who saw potential in me. It was all just happening.
What do you think has been your best experience as a professional dancer? Why?
Any part requiring interpretation and not just mere dance moves … one where you are playing a character … Those are perhaps the pieces that have given me the most rewarding experiences.
A career as a dancer means travelling and you have danced on stages in many places. How do you make your personal life compatible with touring?
So far it has never been a problem. I am a person who likes to travel. Loneliness doesn’t bother me. Company doesn’t bother me either. I like to meet new people. In my relationships I am a very calm person, which is why I don’t suffer the distance in a negative way either but, rather, in a positive way. So yes, no problem.
During your career as a dancer you have won many competitions. Which one has marked you the most so far? Why?
As a dancer, I don’t know. The thing is, I was very young and the whole thing also had a dark side for me. Competitions, for me, went against what I wanted but it was what you had to do to get a scholarship, to get money… It was like the road you had to go down. But I didn’t enjoy that process. On the other hand, as a choreographer, being recognized is important. For example, in the United States I won a choreographic direction contest and that was a 360 experience for me.
When you arrived at the CND, the artistic direction was under the name of Nacho Duato. How was it working with him?
Marvellous. He is a leader who completely brings the dancers to be devoted to the artistic process; to be guided under his tutelage. And that shows in the work. When the dancers believe in their director, it never fails and it all works, no ifs or buts.
Today the artistic direction is in the hands of Joaquín De Luz. What new artistic opportunities have you found in this latest period? Have you found any new challenges?
It keeps bringing new experiences to my career, new creative processes, such as that of Antonio Ruz. I continue to be nourished and it keeps me growing artistically. On the other hand, it also offers me other types of challenges and opportunities and I am thankful for that.
How would you define yourself as a dancer? What styles do you like to dance the most? I think neoclassical is the style I do the best, or the one I have worked on the most. But contemporary is where I feel freer and have greater capacity for expression.
Apart from being a dancer, you are also a choreographer and, undoubtedly, art is a means of expression. What do you express with dance?
I don’t yet consider myself a choreographer. I consider myself to be a dancer who is trying new things and who seeks to continue growing in different facets. So, I also aid choreographers or give classes. I try to choreograph to nourish myself with everything. As a choreographer I always seek to express emotions. For me, staging a choreography has to start from an emotion, or from a feeling, from something moving. To get the steps I want, I need everything to be intoxicated by that emotion. I don’t want to mount steps without a clear starting point.
Do you find similarities in the kitchen and on stage?
Yes, a lot. A lot, because there is a lot of artistic pressure, a lot of pressure in the elaboration, critical pressure. I used to do some group dinners and they were like a choreography, because at every minute you needed to know what you had to be doing. What had to be in what place and in what… All absorbing. And besides, it’s very artistic too, so yes, cooking and dance have a lot of similarities.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Cinema and theater are a necessity in my life, I love going to both alone. But I also like to be with my friends, drink beer, sunbathe and see the sea.
If you could, where would you get lost?
I always get lost in Caños de Meca, it has me trapped. But really, I would get lost in any place where there was a beach and nature.
And to finish, since it’s your birthday, we’ll have to toast it, right? A classic question, are you more into wine or do you prefer a pint of beer?
Beer 100%. Let’s see, I love wine, but wine has a limit, and for beer I still haven’t reached a limit of liters per day hahahaha (laughs)
ALEIX MAÑÉ – SOLOIST DANCER CND
Interview by: Monserrat Martínez