• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Dancer puts new twist on Picasso painting

AFP · 28 Apr 2014, 10:34

Published: 28 Apr 2014 10:34 GMT+02:00

About 80 people sat on the floor or stood as Josue Ullate, a bare chested dancer in black tights, jumped and leapt in front of the large black-and-white canvas at Madrid's Reina Sofia Museum.

The 20-year-old performed "Quiebro", a piece lasting about five minutes and inspired by a song written by late flamenco singer Enrique Morente that mixes modern ballet with traditional Spanish dance, two times as part of International Dance Day celebrations.

It took organizers over a year of talks to get permission of Ullate to perform in front of the painting, which used images of distorted figures -- human and animal -- to represent the horrors of war.

The Reina Sofia Museum initially turned down the request but it eventually relented after Picasso's family gave their support to the project, daily newspaper El Pais reported.

"I think it is an amazing idea, very good. They should do it all the time. This was special, it is 'Guernica'. Marvelous," said Miguel Angel Colilla, a 44-year-old painter, after one of the performances.

Ullate performed the piece -- created by his father Victor Ullate, a renowned Spanish ballet dancer and choreographer -- on a specially created sprung dance floor installed in the gallery where the painting hangs.

Tickets to the one-time event which was held after the museum closed to the public were distributed for free on a first come first served basis over the Internet.

"It was stupendous. Aesthetically the setting is perfect," said Bartolome Garrido, a 44-year-old lawyer who attended with his wife and their two young children.

The Reina Sofia museum, a vast former hospital, displays "Guernica" -- which measures 11 feet by 25 feet (3.5-metres by 7.8-metres) -- in a purpose-built gallery on its own.

Picasso created "Guernica" as a commission for Spain's Republican government to represent the country at the 1937 World Fair in Paris, as Spain writhed in a bloody civil war started by future dictator General Francisco Franco.

The painting was transferred to Madrid in 1981 from New York's Museum of Modern Art, where it had been deposited on a long-term loan by Picasso until democracy was restored in Spain.

Story continues below…

For fear of attack, it was initially housed behind bullet-proof glass and under armed guard at the Prado Museum in Madrid before it was eventually transferred to the nearby Reina Sofia Museum when it opened in 1992.

The painting took its name from Guernica, the ancestral capital of northern Spain's Basque country, which was bombed on April 26, 1937, a spring market day, by German and Italian air forces supporting Franco in a civil war that set the stage for World War II.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Photo: AFP

Spain is going through one of the worst political storms in its modern history.

Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Photo; Carlos Olmedillas / Flickr

Filming for Game of Thrones season 7 gets underway in Spain in October. The Local takes a look at the special places chosen for the next episodes in the epic HBO drama.

Catalan leader promises 2017 independence referendum
Photo: AFP

The president of Catalonia vowed to hold a referendum on independence next year, whether Spain allowed it or not.

Spain's stricken Socialist party hit by 'coup' attempt
Pedro Sanchez is under pressure to resign. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialist party was hit by a "coup" attempt on Wednesday with half of its leadership quitting in a bid to oust leader Pedro Sanchez and unblock the country's political deadlock

British mother arrested for leaving child to party till dawn
The mother went clubbing until dawn leaving her seven-year-old alone at the hotel. Photo: AFP

A British mother has been arrested in Mallorca after leaving her child alone overnight in a hotel while she went clubbing till dawn.

Socialists in open warfare as ex-PM blasts Sanchez
Felipe Gonzalez has spoken out against Pedro Sanchez. Photo: AFP

"I feel frustrated... as if I had been tricked," said ex-PM Felipe Gonzalez of the current Socialist leader.

Lidl's €2.99 anti-aging cream comes out top in Spain again
The supermarket brand beat luxury jars. Photo: OCU.

A face-cream from Lidl supermarket costing just €2.99 has once again been found to be the most effective following research by Spain’s leading consumer organisation.

Spanish jihadists arrested for forming terror cell in Europe
Photo: AFP

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Islamic State cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online.

Bardem and Cruz team up again for Pablo Escobar film
Spain's golden couple will appear on screen together again. Photo: AFP

Oscar-winning Spanish actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will begin shooting a movie about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar next month, the married couple's first film together since 2008.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: AFP

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,230
jobs available