Dancing around the world with Clara Maroto
Clara Maroto is a young dancer from Tarragona who at just 12 years old opted for dance moving to Madrid. She continued his training at the Professional Dance Conservatory Mariemma and in 2013 she joined the CND. Only two years later she got the role of Mercedes in Don Quijote Suite. After many other important roles, in 2020, she debuted with the role of Myrtha in Giselle, under the direction of Joaquín De Luz. And on March 11th, 2021, coinciding with his birthday and with the publication of this interview, she will perform again as the Wilis Queen at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo.
You started dancing when you were very little, and you had to move to Madrid when you were only 12 years old. How was that experience? How did your family handle the change?
The family situation was complicated, because I moved in when I was 12 years old and my parents did not want to leave me alone in Madrid. As we used to live in a small town on the outskirts of Tarragona the change was huge, so my mother came with me to Madrid, while my father and sisters stayed. It was a bit of a strange situation, one half of the family living in Madrid and the other half in Tarragona; it was especially hard for my parents. It’s something that I’m so grateful for, because if I was to came alone I don’t know what would have happened to me. My father used to visit us some weekends, and other times we were the ones to travel to Tarragona. It was a great effort, both emotional and economical.
This is a must question: what does dance represent to you? What role does dance play outside of work?
Dance to me is a way of expression; it’s a way to show who I am and express myself through it, which is something that I believe all dancers have in common. Also I feel that we have a high maturity when facing hard situations in life, because the knowledge we adquire is very useful for other aspects (discipline, working hours…). I know many cases of people who have come to Madrid to study when they were only 12 or 13 years old, and many of these people used to come alone.
How would you define yourself as a dancer? What styles do you like to dance the most?
I am shy, and on many occasions I can be really insecure about myself , which is something I am working on since I was little. I believe, or I hope I am a versatile performer who can dance both classic style and neoclassical or contemporary. Variety is something that I enjoy, each piece that I perform teaches me something different and I hope it can continue this way.
In 2013 you join the Company and two years later you have the opportunity to take the role of Mercedes in Don Quijote Suite. What did this opportunity meant to you? How was the working process like?
It was a challenge and a surprise at the same time. I think that back in the day I did not know how to manage the news. It was out of the blue and caught me off guard, and since I’m an insecure person, I had a hard time interpreting this woman who has such a strong character… Maybe today I would do it differently. Looking back I say: “what a shame… I could have done something different” .
Also, as part of the cast you have danced in numerous choreographies. What is the piece that you remember with more affection within the Company? And the character?
That’s a difficult question… I have danced such different choreographies … I remember one of them, Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante,which was a very big challenge for me. This is a piece that choreographically it’s already challenging, but on top of that it’s also very fast… I am not a person who can move too quickly, so I was a bit scared. In the end I was able to dance it, which was very exciting. I felt fulfilled. Also the fact of dancing a piece by this particular choreographer was an amazing experience.
In Giselle you play Myrtha, the Wilis Queen. How have you worked such a mysterious and powerful this character? Did you enjoy the process?
The truth is that I have enjoyed it a lot, it’s a role that I really like… Among the Giselle’s characters is one of the roles that I like the most. It has been something special, I am delighted to have had this opportunity, and I am also enjoying a lot for being able to work in another way a strong and powerful character. Although apparently Mercedes and Myrtha have nothing in common, I do see a similarity to them.
The wardrobe that you wear in Giselle, by Rosa María Andújar, is exquisite, how do you feel dancing with it?
Well, this costume is both aesthetically beautiful and very comfortable, something that rarely happens to be honest. There are times when aesthetics prevail over comfort and in this case the materials and the fabrics are very comfortable. I am delighted; the type of fabric is really important to be able to move..
Apart from your work in the company you are studying a degree in Dance Pedagogy. Tell me about it. What was the reason for it?
I think it’s a fairly common decission. I started a degree in Choreography and Interpretation, but after a year I realized that that was not what I wanted… I mean, I am already a performer, and the world of choreography at the moment does not attract me at all. Many dancers end up becoming teachers, and I particularly think the work of the teacher as a pedagogue is very important. For that reason I decided to change my grade and learn something new, which may be more complicated for the amount of theoretical content, but I find it really interesting. As I said, especially from the point of view of the teacher as pedagogue.
And as you are part of the dancing world you have already lived the experience of being the student.
Of course, I have seen things that I liked, things that I did not… Learn how to manage a group, how to manage individuals is something that motivates me to learn, so I said “let’s go for it.”
I imagine that with classes, rehearsals and tours you have to be a quite busy. How do you manage it? What hobbies do you do to disconnect?
It is difficult to manage it because there are times when I do have time but I say “Today … I can’t really do anything today.” There is also the study work that I really like, especially if there’s a subject that attracts me, I encourage myself to study and thus disconnect a bit. And about my free time… the truth is, as I am so busy at the momento that I have put my hobbies aside a bit. I dedicate myself to being with my boyfriend and whenever I can I try to talk to my family. I also have a dog to which I try to dedicate as much time as possible, either going for a walk with her, cuddleling her… I also listen to music of course, and when I can and have time I read … really enjoy essay novels- But basically I try to do things that serve me and help me to rest.
Your birthday happens to be the same day of Giselle’s premiere in Oviedo, how do you feel about it? Is it going to be a especial birthday?
Yes, it will be different. I was talking about it with a colleague, who told me “you’re going to turn 26 years old dancing Myrtha!” and it’s true, I’m going to get older on stage. I hope there is something there to accompany me during the performance. It’s a special occasion, I am very sorry that my parents or my boyfriend cannot come to see… But it is what it is.
And finally, what is your favorite birthday sweet treat or food?
In fact, I think I would throw more for a good pasta … a good plate of pasta!
CLARA MAROTO – CORPS DE BALLET CND
Interview by: Sandra Cadenas