Neoballet’s Maria Clara Irisarri on making new ballet & her London
We got hold of the ring leader MARIA CLARA IRISARRI of the hottest contemporary dance company of 2013, NeoBallet who have a great show on at the moment at Arts Theatre on 4th August & 18th August 2013.
How did you come to start Neoballet?
I always wanted to have my own company, since I was a child. I started Neoballet in 2012. Earlier that year I was traveling and working a lot and needed to find some balance. The life of a dancer can be very tough nowadays, contracts are short and one needs to always be in top shape ready for the next audition. It’s difficult to have a relaxing holiday as we are always in training. It was as if just dancing wasn’t enough and I didn’t feel I found a company where I could truly express myself as a creative individual. I’m mainly a ballet-trained dancer, and being from Argentina I really wanted to bring some spice to the ballet scene. It was time to let Neo out.
What makes Neoballet different?
We are different because we break the mold. We are breaking the stereotypical image of ballet and bringing our art to a wider audience.
Ballet is a very elitist art form and we are trying to change that by fusing arts, joining forces and including evolution such as technology in our work. We are not only engaging with the audience in a performance type of even but also we constantly release videos with a commercial edge to make our work accessible to everybody anytime.
The ballet world can be very restrictive in terms of how companies are constructed and how they work, so we are keeping the ballet technique in movement but we are erasing the restrictions everywhere else.
We are different starting from the music we use. We dance to drum and bass, house, electro-tango, percussion, and many other modern beats. For costumes: mmm no tutus yet! The dancers: are from everywhere. We don’t discriminate upon ethnic origin, which sadly happens in many companies. We currently have dancers from Italy, Lithuania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Argentina and UK.
And our stage is the world. We perform at the theatre and we are also performing at places where ballet dancers have never been seen before. We brought ballet to the streets for example in our promo video Taking over London and recently performed at The Secret Garden Party music festival for 3 night on different stages.
Tell us about the show coming up?
Life! Is our current show at The Arts Theatre.
Being my first choreographic work for Neo, Life! started as a self biography of the stages we go through in our lives; from birth to death. The pieces we dance represent love, temptation, fears, society, growing up and breaking free. The choreographic work is highly dynamic and the show runs for about an hour and 15 minutes. Adding to the Neo style we have live musicians on stage jamming and playing to our moves.
What have been your favourite Neoballet moments?
My favourite Neoballet moments are when we the company is taken out of the comfort zone, and after overcoming that awkward state of uncertainty everybody feels free and joyful.
Just last week at The Secret Garden Party we had to perform on an open-air wooden stage after 3 night of camping. Our bodies were in pain from sleeping on the grass and it rained all night before our Sunday performance. The whole place quickly became a mud pool. When we got to the stage of course it was covered in mud as well. We quickly swept it with our shoes and got on with it. It was one of the most fun performances we experienced as a company with our audience sitting on the grass hills raving to our movement.
Tell us about your favourite secret/offbeat places in London (food, going out, entertainment, relaxation)?
London is an amazing city, where should I start. I’m a central bee I must admit; rarely move from zone 1 and 2. As an artist it’s always nice to just walk around Covent Garden and Southbank. I also live near Regents Park so whenever the sun is out is good lie down on the grass.
Always a fan of the brick lane area, love the market, the quirky art works and many places to relax, listen to music and of course dance.
For food Misato in Chinatown is great. Another little secret food place is Ecco Pizza near Holborn, cheap and friendly. Also the Rose Bakery in Dover Street is a cute little place to have lunch, tea, cakes and all sort of healthy foods.
What offbeat events are on your To Do List in the next month or so?
I just heard about The Tent in London. It’s place for artists to exhibit their work and also a workstation. Definitely will be checking it out soon.
What are your favourite things to do for free or little money in London?
I like to go dancing to The Cuban in Camden Town. It’s a cool bar with a South American vibes and people from everywhere. Free most of the days and I think it’s £5 on Saturdays.
The Tanks at the Tate Modern it’s also such an interesting place. Being the first performing arts space within and art gallery in the world you can always find great work, sound installations, videos, movement and it’s free.
For cheap movies: Prince Charles Cinema is a must. You can watch blockbusters 2 or 3 months after the release date. You can watch movies for £4 and it’s located Leicester Square.
What’s your ultimate London confession?
I once lost weight eating McDonalds for almost a month.
What event or product of your own would you like to pimp on To Do List?
We are releasing a dancewear collection very soon!
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.