A multi-sided talent
Blanca Li is a choreographer, a film director, a dancer and an actress. From flamenco to feature film, from classical ballet to hip hop, she has created and produced a great number of projects with her energetic Mediterranean temperament.
Born in Granada (Spain), Blanca Li is already competing with the Spanish national team for rhythmic gymnastics by the age of 12. At 17 she sets out for New York to study with Martha Graham for five years. She also studies extensively with Paul Sanasardo and Alvin Ailey. Back in Madrid, she sets up her first dance company with a commission for the world exhibition in Seville in 1992.
A year later, Blanca Li moves to France, where she is enthusiastically received by audiences and press alike with various choreographies : Nana et Lila (Festival d’Avignon, 1993), Salomé (1995), Stress (Théâtre Jean Vilar de Suresnes, 1997) and two operas in Nancy, La Vida breve and El Amor Brujo. She creates her one-woman show Zap! Zap! Zap!, and, at the Lyon Dance Biennial Blanca Li stages Le Songe du Minotaure with her company, a piece inspired by Ancient Greece. Two months later, she’s commissioned by the Nancy Opera to direct and choreograph the world premiere of Un Tango Pour Monsieur Lautrec.
In 1998, the choreographer creates her own production space, the Centre Chorégraphique Blanca Li, 3 studios dedicated to the work of the Company, and opened to theatre and dance professionals.
Not subsidized, the Spaniard finances her company by participating in Films, commercials, and choreographing music videos. She works for Perrier, Gap, Daft Punk, Blur. She is particularly struck by cinema, writes a script and shoots her first short film : Angoisse (4 “Best Film” Awards).
In 1999 she’s invited by the Suresnes Festival to create a hip-hop piece, Macadam Macadam which successfully begins to tour worldwide. The same year, the Paris Opera asks her for a contemporary choreography for the Baroque opera Les Indes Galantes conducted by William Christie and produced by Andrei Serban. (Once more presented during the following years, Rameau’s ballet opera, now part of the Opéra’s repertoire, was released in DVD in 2005). For the turn of the millennium Blanca Li creates, together with trapeze artists, the air ballet Univers Unique. She is also celebrated in Paris (Théâtre de Chaillot) and New York for the festival France Moves (The Kitchen) in recognition of her first one-woman-show “Zap! Zap! Zap!”. Monique Loudières, Danseuse Etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet company, asks Li to create a solo for her : Silhouette, to be performed at the Avignon Festival in 2000.
Blanca Li’s first feature film, Le Défi, a hip hop musical comedy with 150 hip hop dancers, is released in May 2002. Box office : 300 000 spectators in France and continued showing for 4 months (director, choreographer, dancer and actress: Blanca Li.) In May 2004, Le Defi is selected by the Tribeca Film festival in New York.
Highest honors in the dance world in 2001 : the famous Paris Opera Ballet invites Li to create a new ballet on Shéhérazade, together with Christian Lacroix as costume designer. Blanca Li is nominated director and choreographer of the Berlin Ballet at the Komische Oper in Germany, a company of 24 dancers, for whom she creates a new version of “Le Songe du Minotaure”, which is also performed at the Merida Festival in Spain. Borderline is produced as world premiere in Berlin in June 2002.
Back in France, the choreographer tours the show “Borderline” with her dance company in France and in Europe. That same year, the Blanca Li company obtains a subsidy from the French Culture Ministry and is invited by the Massy Opera as a resident company. In March 2003, Blanca Li creates at the Paris Opera Bastille a choreography for Guillaume Tell, produced by Francesca Zambello. Al Andalus is created at the Massy Opera (before being performed at the Alhambra Palace for the International Festival of Music and Dance of Granada in June 2004). In March 2004, Blanca Li is invited as choreographer for the new Don Giovanni production at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC produced by Marthe Keller. In September 2004, Alarme, a new creation by Blanca Li for her company, is presented at The Lyon Dance Biennial fot their European program. The company tours Alarm and a new version of Al Andalus in France and Europe in 2004-2005 (Festival Madrid en Danza, Festival Italica).
In May 2004 Blanca Li is made “Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite” by the French Ministry of Culture then receives the prestigious Manuel de Falla award in December 2004 in Spain, in recognition for her career in choreography.
In 2005 she creates the choreography for the musical comedy Bagdad Café. In January 2006, the choreographer re-creates her hip hop musical Macadam Macadam with a new team at the Massy Opera. Also performed at the Théâtre Mogador of Paris in June, the show is now on tour.
In July 2006, Blanca Li is nominated artistic director of the Centro Andaluz de Danza in Sevilla (CAD).
Corazón Loco, a new company’s creation with the vocal ensemble Sequenza 9.3, on a contemporary score by Edith Canat de Chizy, was produced in January 2007 at Odyssud-Blagnac and the Théâtre National de Chaillot. Corazón Loco and Macadam Macdam are presently touring in France and Europe. In February, Macadam Macadam receives the award Globe de Cristal for best choreography (Opera / Dance). In Mars, Blanca Li is made “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture.
Poeta en New York, is created in July 2007 in Granada (Spain), Alhambra Gardens. This creation is inspired by the poems and the experience of Federico García Lorca in New York from 1929 to 1930. A group of twenty dancers, the solist dancers Andrés Marín and Blanca Li, singing by Carmen Linares or Encarnita Anillo, and by Rob-Li, and an original music by Tao Gutierrez give life to the interior world of Lorca, his images and words, between jazz and flamenco. Blanca Li has received the award for best choreography for Poeta en New York at the Gala evening for Premios Max for stage artists (equivalent of “Tony awards” in USA or “Moliere” prizes in France). This spectacle is presented 10 evenings immediately to the Theater national of Chaillot to Paris in May 2008, with always the same success, and performed a new time in Granada during summer 2008, for a series of representations.
Blanca Li is invited by the MUSAC, Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla y Leon, for her first exhibition “Te voy a enseñar a bailar” (“I’ll teach you how to dance”) (from January 26 to May 4 2008).