Q&A with dot dancer Yinka Esi Graves

September 9, 2017

-Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Yinka Esi Graves, I am one of the dots! When I think of myself in terms
of Flamenco, I am amazed that what started off as a simple desire to learn how to
dance ‘por bulerías’ (I am still on that quest!), has become so central to my life!
Thanks to Flamenco I have understood that my body is interested in
communicating. It has opened an unexpected path for me. At the moment I’m very
interested in exploring that path to the fullest and finding the form of corporeal
expression that allows me to speak most honestly


-What is No Frills for you?
For me No Frills is exactly what it says on the tin! I think for Magdalena, Noemí and
myself it was the perfect point of departure for us as a company looking to find the
most distilled and direct way of sharing our passion for this art form with
audiences back home. More than that, it was a show of trust in each other and
ourselves individually to dance as we are, without the pressures that you often find
in the Flamenco world. For me personally it was definitely my first experience of
performing in a theatrical setting and certainly when we toured the first time I’d
never danced 6 days almost in a row! So on many levels No Frills was the
beginning of something that has gone on to enrich us on countless levels. It’s great
to keep coming back to it! The show has input from all members of the company
including our musicians and so in many ways even when we revisit it continues to
be a source for learning and growth! It’s also great fun to dance!


-What is your role in the show, what do you feel you bring to the show?
We each have a very different and personal way of dancing , the great thing about
No Frills is that whilst we have choreography where we merge into one, it is also a
show that values each of our differences. I’d like to think that I bring a particular
expressivity and energy to the show.


-What do you most like to transmit to your students when you teach?
There is a lot of mystery around Flamenco, particularly when it is taught. I feel it is
important to share as much of what I have learnt so far in the most accessible way,
so that each pupil can feel they own what they are learning, hopefully transmitting
a sense of personal gratification and positivity around learning Flamenco.


-How would you describe Flamenco to someone who’d never seen / heard it before?
When I worked as a Tour Guide I attempted to describe Flamenco on hundreds of
occasions and never found a way that did it justice. I think I always ended up
resorting to playing some Bulerías and doing a little demo?!

 

-If you had another life what other part of Flamenco would you love to master?
I’d definitely want to be a singer! I’m in complete awe of their wisdom and ability
to convey and guide ones emotions! For
me the singing is what makes Flamenco so
powerful.


-Name two contemporary artists who most inspire you?
After seeing Rocio Molina’s ‘Caida del Cielo’ I have re fallen in love with her. She is
all encompassing and profound! The freedom and joy that she seems to possess
through absolute mastery of her craft and her clarity of vision is, I wouldn’t even
call it inspiring, it’s everything, I don’t know if one can ask for much more!
For my second artist I have to admit that I am increasingly taking inspiration from
outside the world of Flamenco. I recently got to meet and see the work of
(contemporary African) dance pioneer Nora Chipaumire and she’s opened a whole
new world to me which is making me think differently about how and why I want
to dance. This encounter has been truly inspiring!

 

dotdotdot will be touring No Frills around the UK this September as well as teaching tasters and workshops. You can check out their calendar by clicking here.

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