We talked to Spanish stage artist Raquel Madrid as she’s about to participate in the Circus Sessions program, held by the company Femmes du Feu on June 2019 in Toronto.
Raquel Madrid is a multidisciplinary performing artist, also the director of the company Dos proposicionesdanzateatro, and part of the Andalusian Dance Community.
Tell us a little bit about you and your work: how is the relationship between the two of them?
This is a very difficult question… I would say that I have to work a lot. To work in performing arts requires discipline, working on the computer, following lessons, learning new things, travelling, creating, watching new shows… It’s a way of living, and our life is absolutely connected to our work. Everything that we have to do, we have to love doing it. Otherwise, it just doesn’t work.
Tell us about the journey that has brought you to where you are professionally.
I think that, professionally, I have reached this point because of two things: first because of my artistic curiosity, I love to discover and to investigate artistic skills; and second because I work hard, because this is not an easy job at all.
What do you love about your work?
On one hand, this work forces me to connect with myself, with other people and with the world, and if I’m connected to everything, then I feel at peace.
On the other hand, if I touch the heart of someone who watches my performance, that is really like doing magic. This happens to me when I watch shows from other artists, it can change me, make me think and feel different than before coming to the theater. This is an amazing and powerful feeling for me.
Tell us an anecdote about your initial stages as an artist.
In my first job as an aerialist, I lied… I said that I was an expert in aerial silk but that my main practice was the aerial rope. However, after working hard for the audition, I got the job!!!
What is unique about your work?
Artistic works and creations depend on the artist. You have to learn from others as much as you can or as much as you love their technique, but at the end it’s you who will be on stage –and not the others, not your teacher. So the connection with yourself is crucial –your life, your own things, being on stage– and that makes the difference.
To be honest, to be connected and generous with the audience are my main goals.
What has brought you to Canada? What is your relationship with this country?
In my daily life I spend a lot of time on the computer trying to find jobs opportunities online. I found the application form for Femmes du Feu; I found it really interesting so I filled I up. This is quite an usual thing for me to do. I normally submit a lot of applications during the week, you never know what can happen and when the email’s response is going to be a positive one. In this case, it was a huge YES from Holly, the artistic director).
Before this happened, I came to Montreal a few years ago in representation of Spain’s National Dance Federation. We attended performing arts fairs around the world to promote Spanish dance companies, to get to know what’s going on out there, in other countries, and of course to foster international relationships.
Do you have any new projects in mind? Professionally speaking, which direction are you taking?
Yes, I’m starting a new project for a theater. I think this one will be my 14th production so far. I’m really excited about it. It will be co-produced by four performers. Let’s see what happens!
Which object would you bring to a desert island or a secluded cabin in the forest?
Mmm… a lighter! To make fire, to protect myself, and to cook.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An artist… A dancer, actress, singer.
A special place for you in Spain?
My parents’ place, where my roots are.
What song is stuck in your head?
Me quedo contigo by Rosalia.
Which book do you carry in your backpack?
The latest one from Isabel Allende.
Tell us about a special movie for you?
It’s hard to highlight one special movie because I love cinema. There are a lot of special movies for me. I’d like to talk about what I’m watching now because I think it’s an amazing work: The handmaid’s Tale. The story, the characters, the script, the costumes –everything is just great. But if I have to say one movie, I would say any of the Tarantino films.
Tell us about a special show / performance for you?
I always say that there are three special shows that have changed my mind about performing arts: Le Salon from Peeping Tom, La chambre d’Isabella from Needcompany, and “Blush” from Ultimavez.
And an artwork piece?
When I went to Florencia, Botticelli’s Primavera brought tears to my eyes, and Van Gogh’s The starry night also impressed me deeply when I saw it at New York’s MOMA.
If you could change something –anything– what would you change?
It is necessary to change our mentality about our environment. It is an emergency for our planet.