Lucía Lacarra: “The human side is what finally makes an artist”


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A great figure in international dance, Lucía Lacarra, from Zumaia, reviews her successful career for BasqueMagazine and tells us about her current show, Fordlandia, which will be performing on 22 May at the Kursaal in San Sebastian.

Lucía Lacarra and Matthew Golding in Fordlandia. ©Leszek Januszewski
Lucía Lacarra and Matthew Golding in Fordlandia. ©Leszek Januszewski

When did you decide that ballet was going to be your life? Did you have it very clear?

It's something that I had very clear about since I was 3 years old. I already said I was going to be a dancer. At that time in Zumaia there wasn't an academy. I had to wait until I was 9 years old for one to open. In a world that didn't exist, I was determined that I was going to be a dancer. At the first academy, I grabbed the barre, we did the first position and I already felt like a professional dancer. When I was 11 years old, my mother was recommended to take me to a course in Tarragona because I had very good qualities. Once there, all the teachers were all over me and told my mother that she had brought a star, that a person like that is born every ten years. As a result of this course, they told my mother that there was a very good teacher in Donostia, Mentxu Medel, who had worked with very well-prepared children. Until then, they had offered to take me to Barcelona, Brussels, Cannes... I stayed in Donostia until I was 14 to get a scholarship to go to Madrid. It all happened quite quickly there. I was at school for a year and when I was 15 I started dancing professionally.

Did you imagine you would be so successful? You have won very important awards for your career as a dancer in many parts of the world.

When I was 11 years old I saw my first video, El Lago de los Cisnes (Swan Lake). I called my mother and said: "See those two rows? I want to be the last one". That world seemed so magical to me that what I wanted was to live on stage, that my job was to go to a theatre and dance. Being the last one for me was the greatest happiness. I didn't imagine or expect the prizes. For me dance has always been something to enjoy, to feel emotions, to express myself... and not to feel judged. Dance, if it's an art, you can't be looking for perfection. When I went to Moscow, where they gave me the Benois de la Danse Award, the Oscar of dance... I thought I would never get one like that. Every time I get an award I say: "Oh my God, who would have thought it would happen to me".

Fordlandia. ©Leszek Januszewski
Fordlandia. ©Leszek Januszewski

When is the first moment and what is it like to work internationally?

I was already in Madrid. There came a point when I realised that, due to circumstances, I wasn't happy. I returned to Donostia and, through a contact, I went to Marseille at the age of 18 because they needed a star. The fact that I said 'no' because I wasn't happy has helped me a lot in life. Because then I had no trouble moving from one place to another. From one country to another. I realised that this is my life, I have given everything for this life, so I have the right to decide. After 3 years in Marseille, I went to San Francisco. It was like a quest, to learn about myself and to discover. After 5 years there, I went to Munich on a decision already made with more knowledge of everything, based on the theatre, the repertoire, the geographical location... I was there for 14 years. And since then, 2 years in Dortmund, Madrid... It has been a constant evolution for which I have been preparing myself little by little.

Fordlandia, the project with which you will be performing at the Kursaal in San Sebastian on 22 May. What can you tell us about it?

Fordlandia is something very special for me. Matthew Golding and I have known each other for years, because we used to perform together in galas. We met in June 2019 at one of them and that's when we connected, we really got to know each other. I had always wanted to produce a show. And he had always wanted to produce a show. In January 2020 we went to San Francisco thinking about creating a piece. In February we had started working on other pieces because we needed pieces for galas... And in March the world fell apart. The pandemic started. We were in Germany dancing, they told us that everything was closing down and we had to leave. We had to split up.

Fordlandia. ©Toti Ferrer
Fordlandia. ©Toti Ferrer

And how did you organise?

It was time to create. We told ourselves that by the end of the pandemic the show had to be ready and in those 10 weeks we created it, virtually. We didn't want something marvellous, extraordinary... we wanted something honest, we wanted to capture what we felt at that moment, the distance. We didn't know when we were going to dance again. We opened Fordlandia with 25% capacity, but we didn't care if there were 200 or 2000 people, because we were back on stage. After seeing Fordlandia, people tell me that they get that dream, that escape from reality, they are transported to something magical that is a journey through a dream that we have. I told myself that when the capacity was 100% I would bring it to Donostia so that the people here could see it, and I have done so.

After so many trips around the world, what does it mean for you to return to Zumaia?

Returning home. I left very early and didn't return until September 2019. Until then I have been living all over the world. That's why Zumaia has been my home more than anything else. I have always known that I was going to be conditioned by my profession. Dance conditions your life. In order to be able to dance, I knew that I had to live where dance would take me.

I had a totally normal, naive, happy childhood, with the freedom and security of a child. Feeling normal. It's important for your ego, head... The human side is what ultimately makes you an artist. To have a disproportionate ego... It's no use in the world. It's a madness to go from one side to the other... but a madness that I love.

Fordlandia. ©Leszek Januszewski
Fordlandia. ©Leszek Januszewski

Can you recommend a plan for someone who is visiting us for the first time?

I usually come here to rest because I don't stop in my day to day life. I love going to San Sebastian, going to La Perla... The beauty of the Basque Country is how natural and casual everything is. You don't need to have a plan and you can discover small places, wonderful restaurants to eat everywhere, divine walks where geographically it is wonderful... I have discovered many things with Matt, I have started to see it through his eyes. He is in love with Zumaia. We are very lucky to live where we live.

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