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Flashback 2, 3-30: Lola Liberated
At the National Ballet of Spain, Exit Greco
Copyright 1998, 2005 The Dance Insider
(Editor's Note: To
celebrate its fifth anniversary of being online, the Dance Insider
is revisiting its Flash Review Archives. This article originally appeared
in the Dance Insider's Summer 1998 debut print issue.)
Lola Greco had just
been betrayed by her husband, ordered their children stabbed to
death, poisoned his fiancee, been denied by her nanny, and descended
into hell. The City Center audience was in terrified thrall watching
Greco enact Jose Granero's flamenco "Medea" with the National Ballet
of Spain. "Medea is a spirit," says Greco, who doesn't perform the
role so much as she channels it.
Greco, who moans and
cries onstage, has been known to emerge from a performance bleeding,
her back aching from pounding the floor -- a necessity, she says,
to communicate feelings sincerely to an audience and cues audibly
to colleagues. If Greco chews scenery, Medea devours her. Meeting
a visitor in her dressing room after the City Center show earlier
this year, all she could muster was, "I can't talk."
Before NBS's spring
tour was over, reality in the form of dance company politics would
further test Greco. Despite being the company's only marquee figure,
with a week remaining on the tour Greco was sent back to Madrid
by the company's new director, Aida Gomez. A one paragraph dismissal
note accused her of insubordination, after an incident in which,
witnesses say, Greco was the victim, being verbally abused by another
dancer during a performance. She was removed from a performance
after this incident, sources say. An article in the New York Times
quoting Greco's comments about Gomez did not help. (Gomez did not
respond to requests for comment.)
Greco sounds like a
burden has been lifted from her small but strong shoulders. "It's
like a liberation!" she says. She was signed by Joaquin Cortes for
his "Pasion Gitana." Marco Berriel created a solo for Greco and
a duet for Greco and Berriel inspired by songs Federico Garcia Lorca
wrote for Spanish vaudeville. Berriel is not worried about Greco.
"Spanish National Ballet was a little bit like death for her," he
explains. "An artist can't stay doing the same things, otherwise
she doesn't grow up, she gets bored."
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