De Elda a Madrid 1936-1952

“My father, who is the person I've admired the most and who has influenced me the most, taught me to respect others”.

Antonio Esteve Ródenas, known by his stage name Antonio Gades, was born on November 14, 1936 in Elda, a province of Alicante, and moved to Madrid immediately after the Spanish Civil War. His family is a family of blue-collar workers. His mother works in the footwear industry and his father, a mosaic floor layer, is a diehard communist who signed up with the Republican forces a month before Antonio was born. His father leaves his mother and the newborn Antonio in Elda to volunteer in Madrid and join the October Battalion.

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Con Pilar López 1952-1961

After taking lessons from Manolo Vargas, the principal dancer in Pilar López's company, Pilar calls me to Madrid and immediately hired me, making me the principal dancer of her company the following year, where I performed a good part of her extensive repertoire. It was she who gave me the stage name Gades. It was an unexpected opportunity and my life changed completely. I was also teaching and choreographing, and that's how I learned. For nine years I toured the world's major theaters, first as a member of Pilar's dance corps and then as the principal dancer.

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Italia, Francia, Barcelona y Madrid 1961-1968

In the sixties I began an artistic journey that was going to result in the forging of my own choreographic style.”

ITALY

After leaving Pilar López's company in 1961, Gades goes to Rome to collaborate on a choreography of the Bolero composed by Ravel, working with Anton Dolin, the British dancer of Irish origin who choreographed the premiere of the Bolero at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in in 1932. Gades had benefited from a classical training from Pilar López and contributes his experience as a Spanish dancer to Dolin. Dolin comes up with the steps and Antonio gives them character.

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Del Flamenco a Bodas de Sangre 1968-1975

1969 he creates the choreography for El Amor Brujo with the Chicago Opera. He performs the ballet in France, Italy, Spain, Japan, the United States, Morocco and Argentina, among other countries, with his own company, the Antonio Gades Ballet.

Cristina Hoyos had already been dancing for a while at festivals and tablaos in Seville and had even toured the United States with Manuela Vargas's ballet when Antonio Gades saw her perform. Almost immediately, Cristina Hoyos is given a spot in Antonio's company as the female lead, touring Spain and the world for twenty years (1968-1988).

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Entre Altea y Cuba 1975-1978

His first masterpiece, Bodas de Sangre, debuted the year after starting his relationship with Marisol. His intention with this work was to pay homage to the poet, despite having to go to Rome to premiere it.

According to composer Emilio de Diego, rehearsals for the show were held at the Estudios Amor de Dios in Madrid, where Antonio had placed a sign on the door that said: Emilio is prohibited from entering. The reason was because he first wanted to perform the choreographic framework starting with Alfredo Mañas's adaptation for ballet, only then incorporating the music .

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El Ballet Nacional Español 1978-1980

I think we have the most wonderful dance in the world that could do so many things if there were a cultural policy...

In 1978 the General Director of Music and Theater, Jesús Aguirre, who later became the Duke of Alba, named Antonio Gades director of the new great project for Spanish dance, the democracy's first. “I held this position for two years. There was nothing when I arrived. I organized everything: dance class, singing class, the company. It worked wonderfully but I was thrown out for political reasons”.

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La trilogía con Carlos Saura 1981-1990

In the theater, the audience members has a 180º view, while a move makes a 360º view possible.

Fired from the National Ballet, Gades partners with former members of his company and other members of the Spanish National Ballet to form the GIAD (Grupo Independiente de Artistas de la Danza), the Independent Group of Dance Artists, a cooperative that performs the best Spanish dance all over the world for a year. It was an alternative Spanish National Ballet. Antonio's own. “I have never been used as tool, neither by Francoism nor now. That's why we're the only private ballet company that exists, and it works like a co-op”.

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La mar 1990-1993

Cuba is not an adventure, it is my life's harbor.

The avalanche of successes during his partnership with Carlos Saura and without the two women who had had impact on his life, Cristina Hoyos and Pepa Flores, are no longer with him, an exhausted Antonio retires from dance and dissolves the company. Although they will separate in 1993, he lives a peaceful live with Daniela Frey, sailing and always thinking about returning to the stage.

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Vuelta al ruedo 1994-1999

“I have always liked to draw on a literary work. Why would I invent one if there are already many wonderful stories in literature?”

Gades the sailor comes out of retirement and gets back to the arena to create his last work, one that he had been thinking about for the past 15 years, ever since José Manuel Caballero Bonald had said that Lope de Vega's classic Fuenteovejuna suited what Antonio asked of the body perfectly.

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Me iré como el viento 2000-2004

Antonio Gades retires from the stage, his final performance of Fuenteovejuna at the Lope de Vega in Madrid. He danced the leading role, a young boy who had to go to the river to get a girl who was doing the washing. “I would kneel, play with her, get up. One day I heart an awful noise in my knees. And when I stood up I said: I'm old enough to buy you a washing machine and put you up in an apartment, but not to come to the river. And I don't dance anymore”. On the company's last tours, Antonio's role in Carmen, Don José, and Fuenteovejuna, Frondoso, would be successfully danced by José Manuel Huertas.

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