Dancing around the world with Laura Pérez Hierro
Laura Pérez Hierro describes herself as “a strong, intelligent and effective dancer”. As a child, she learned that goals are reached with dedication, effort and discipline. Responsible and consistent in her work and in her quest to continue learning, Laura has been part of the Compañía Nacional de Danza since 2017, during which time she has evolved and grown both as a dancer and as a person.
You begin your studies at the Ana Rosa Tercero schools and then with Igor Yebra. What made you enter the world of dance?
My mother; without a doubt. My mother loves dance above everything else and, if I remember correctly, from the things she tells me, my vocation was born thanks to her and all the good things she has transmitted to my sister and me since we were little. She has always given her all to ensure that one day I would get to where I am now. So, everything I have achieved I owe to her, without a doubt.
In 2008, you entered the José Uruñela Professional Dance Conservatory in Vitoria. Was that where you discovered that you wanted to be a dancer?
To be honest, by time I was eight I realised I wanted to dance. The teachers had already told me I had what it took to be a dancer. But it is true that when I made the decision to study high school remotely in order to go to the conservatory, it was a decisive and important step, since that is the stage when you begin a little to decide and shape your future. For many years I was waking up at 5:30 in the morning to go to another city and return every day by bus, just to do what I liked the most, which was to dance. There I learned most of what makes me what I am now at a technical level, let’s say, and I thank all my teachers for having taught me so much and so well. That conservatory is like a second home to me and they know it. I love all the people who were there during my apprenticeship and I would love to be able to return one day.
It was early on in your career when, in 2010, you achieved your first success obtaining second place in the superior category of the City of Torrelavega International Dance Competition. What did this recognition mean to you?
Honestly, it was very gratifying to win the second prize in the superior category, because I think that all my work was validated, in a certain way, on stage. This meant a lot to me—besides it being a new and above all very beautiful experience. I enjoyed sharing things with different dancers and friends, with whom I still have contact today.
Two years later you joined Ángel Corella’s company performing pieces such as Swan Lake.What was it like performing this ballet?
Working with Ángel Corella was my first professional experience and dancingSwan Lakewas an unforgettable experience, since it is one of the most recognized ballets in classical dance. The bond with all my colleagues, dancers from other countries, trips abroad and the mere fact of being in such a renowned professional ballet company made me the happiest person in the world. I had achieved something that many people fight for and I was there.
The following season you dance at the Bordeaux National Opera. What was it like to experience dance outside of Spain and in such a world-renowned company?
When I went to Bordeaux to audition, it all just happened. I started working there in 2014, if I remember correctly, and it was also the first time I left Spain to go live alone in another country—and without knowing the language too. Every professional step you take in life helps you grow, either as a dancer or as a person, and this time, in France, it was like an opportunity for me to come out of my shell and really enter the world where I wanted to be. Nothing is perfect and you always find difficulties, I was away from my family, especially hard on important dates. But all the hardships was made up for by the thrill of doing what I liked, and doing it, as you said before, with a world-renowned company. It was quite an achievement.
In 2015 you get to dance with the Compañía Nacional de Danza in Don Quixote andArtifact Suite.What was your personal experience of those works like?
With the previous companies I auditioned only once to get the job but with the CND it was a little more difficult. Finally, after going through a severe toe injury and being on crutches and out of action for 4 months, I received that long-awaited phone call from the company. I think it was the happiest moment of my life to then.Don Quixote is one of my favourite ballets, due to its character, its music and its style, and Artifact Suite is one of the most physically satisfying pieces I have danced. I love Forsythe’s style, and dancing with so many people filling the stage, following each other and giving each other support was something that I will always carry with me.
Later, in 2017, you became part of the cast of the Compañía Nacional de Danza under the artistic direction of José Carlos Martínez. What is it like to work in the national company of your country?
I think that, at the end of the day, dancing at home and going back to your roots and to the place that has always been your home, with your family and your people … it’s something we all love. And so I will always be grateful to José Carlos Martínez, for having provided that wonderful opportunity to me. There are practically no other dance companies in our country and the dancers therefore always choose to go abroad to dance; something that I think should not be the case. We must nurture the importance of art in general in Spain and ensure that future generations have more opportunities and means enabling them to choose to live their passion close to their families. It is an invaluable experience arriving at the theatre knowing that that night you will also dance for your loved ones and that they will be there, proud of you.
You are currently working with Joaquín De Luz, artistic director of the CND since 2019. What would you highlight about him?
From the start, Joaquín has been a safe bet for the Company in my eyes. Since he arrived, he has strived to give his all to both dance and his dancers and to ensure we dance and dance as much as we can. The energy he has and the clarity of his ideas is admirable. I think he is a person who really knows what he wants and he transmits it to us on a daily basis. He is a tireless lover of work and tenacity and, above all, a person with a great desire to help and move the Company forward.
What piece would you be excited to dance in the future?
Right now I don’t have any specific work in mind that would make me excited to dance but I really like delving into all kinds of repertoires to improve my skills as a dancer. It is true that I love the Balanchine style, and all the neoclassical, with points or half points. But what I do know is that as long as I keep dancing and growing, bring it all on!
And finally, what would you be most excited about getting for your birthday?
Obviously, receiving the affection and love of all the people who love me and being able to celebrate it with my friends and loved ones. I love birthdays; I always say so. And I believe that the most important thing in life is to live in the present and, above all, to be happy! What would I be most excited about getting? The truth is that I am a very lucky person in life so I would ask that everything carries on going just as well!
LAURA PÉREZ HIERRO – CORPS DE BALLET
Interview by: Natalia del Buey