Esther Ponce Magazine

THE DANCER AND THE DIPLOMAT

BIOGRAPHY

Three years full of surreal adventures, successfully at a frenetic rhythm in Los Angeles, California 

'The most important Latino newspaper in LA steals all the money from the box office'

 

Paul, as a good Mexican, had already taken it upon himself to speak with the editor of the most famous Latino newspaper in LA to cover the news. We meet at Ferdy's house so we can exchange opinions. I remember the moment when I went to the terrace to answer a call, while Ferdy asked the director what impression he had of me at first sight and what he replied to; this woman is wildly beautiful, elegant and an earthquake! (Earthquake) ... He immediately called two of his journalist collaborators to come to the mansion and start preparing the marketing strategy. The director was fascinated with the cast that we brought from Spain because he was also a great admirer of the famous international flamenco singer of the moment Diego el Cigala, who said that it would not be necessary to pay for advertising because his newspaper was interested in having artists of that category. And they also offered to carry out during the three days of the Festival, the sale of tickets at the box office so as not to have to pay a theater employee.

 

The triptych from the 9th century of the Virgen del Socorro that accompanied me on my travels around the world since I was 15 years old, already presided over the dressing room of the Mission of San Gabriel and the big day had arrived. On November 14, 15 and 16, 2002, they would mark my life forever. The dream I had was about to come true.
Being surrounded from such a young age with the best flamenco artists taught me perfectly how to take them and what to give them at all times so that they get the best out of them. For what the musicians' dressing room could not miss, as the flamencos say, Gloria Bendita, the translation would be; alcohol. And even against the rules of the theater, the glasses that would be in front of the musicians on stage at each table in the casino, instead of water, would carry vodka, tequila, in short, all the alcohol the color of water so as not to call attention.
The dressing room that I had chosen for Gilda, had arrived on time, I could not sleep during the night thinking about whether it would arrive or not. The scenery was easy, it didn't need much decoration. When there is so much art together on a stage, little is more.

I had been playing the role of Candela in the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's Love Brujo since the beginning of my career, it seemed that the fire dance was chasing me and for the main number of Flamenco Dreams, “La Zambra”, of course the fire and the bonfire, they had to be the protagonists. But the theater had already informed me that making a fire would not be possible by law and that the only thing I could do was light a firework. But I already took care that it was as real as possible and that the spell was not lost by taking a match from my lighter to light the wood that was in the cauldron.

The costumes that I designed for the Flamenco Sensual show were very elegant and very flamenco, for which I gave them a second life and dressed two of my students, one of them Spanish and a professor of Spanish literature at the University of UCLA, to receive to the public with their wicker basket full of Andalusian carnations handing them over and thus throwing them on stage at the end of the show, and together with the hand program. Everyone advised me not to spend money on the hand program, they told me that no Spanish company carried it, but the discipline that they had instilled in me and that was the same as the National Ballet of Spain, did not allow me to stop putting on paper to each of the wonderful artists and team that made The First Annual Los Angeles Flamenco Festival possible. Speaking of Festival, a journalist from the Los Angeles Times newspaper, told me that they could not criticize me if I did not dedicate each day to a different company to enter the category of Festival, but I could not leave some musicians in the hotel after traveling from Spain and stop enjoying the thirteen number one artists every day, just because of a critic in the press, because of what I told the famous journalist; Thank you ! but it will not be.

Sofia was in charge of running the bar during the break of the show, something that the artists never see because we are in the dressing room preparing for the second part. But until the break came and together with the nerves of the premiere, the visits to my dressing room in Sofia to drink shots of whiskey, were more and more fun, sometimes she would hang out with my mother and my other student. I couldn't drink because in my choreography I always incorporate a lot of Flamenco turns ( Vueltas de Pecho) and at great speed ... although on stage and with the heat of the audience, I transform myself and everything becomes art and essence and there are no limits for me.
They finished announcing the 45 minute notice before starting the show and that moment is like a sacred ritual for me, in which I need to be totally alone to be able to concentrate, stretch my muscles for the last time and pray to the Virgen del Socorro.
A few minutes before the Director of the house in Spain had personally brought me to the dressing room a bouquet with 32 red roses, one for each year of my life and a note that at that time I did not give importance but that was a declaration of love in all rule.

Paul knocked on the door and from outside, with a worried voice, he asked me please, he needed to talk to me. It seemed very important and I let him in. He was sweating and his face was pale. He told me that the website where the tickets had been on sale for a month was inactive and that not a single ticket had been sold and that he had nothing to do with it. That he had found out when receiving messages from friends who could not buy his ticket and that the only option was to go directly to the box office. It was all super strange, but we never imagined for a minute that it was a strategy of those in the newspaper who had deactivated online sales to force people to buy directly at the box office and thus have complete control of the money. But it was obvious that this movement hurt the sale of tickets that could have been carried out for a month.
That news before going on stage was not exactly the best to go out relaxed, but that is the price that you must be paid for being in addition to the main artist, the Director. But that didn't stop the gangster singer from me on my solo of Martinete, saying from his heart GITANA! For a gypsy to call you a gypsy, without being one on stage and especially knowing that it would be recorded for history, is very gratifying because it means that they are really feeling your dance and that they are going to give you everything. If you touch gypsies to their hearts, they steal it from the public. I remember how in the only week of rehearsals we had in Madrid, (Normally it would take a month of rehearsal for a show of that category) The Musical Director, El Montoyita, uncle of the famous flamenco singer Estrella Morente, told me; —To you Esther Ponce, I play the guitar and create music because you have very flamenco touches and you make me feel, you are wild and elegant. However Sara Baras, who asked me to work with her on her show, I made an excuse and said sorry but no ... because she doesn't make me feel anything, she it's very “ Palla” dancing.

Everything was going wonderfully until the bailaor who played my husband finished his dance for “solea” with his white shirt and then he had to change his shirt to go out to the main number with me “La Zambra”. When the first notes of Jose Maria Cortina's spectacular piano begin to sound, putting us all totally inside a casino in Argentina, exactly what I had asked for, and I see my husband on the other side of the stage, denying the manager because He did not want to wear the red shirt to match my skirt to perform the dance of passion and falling in love, because he said he was tired and that it did not matter to go out with the same shirt. That is equal to unprofessional and to screw the number just because you are the Divo and the rest of us have to put up with your whims or last minute changes and nothing else matters. Come on ... one of those flamenco shows for which flamenco has never been represented by great managers for fear of not being able to control situations of this kind. For me it was super important for the DVD to be as I had directed.
I went on stage without knowing what was going to happen and I used that theatrically how I had learned in my three years of acting career with the teacher of teachers William Layton and Stanislavski's method to make it organic. When Montoyita, the Director of the Casino, saw me go out carrying the cauldron with both hands above my head, his face in the foreground, very handsome indeed, and the faces of all the musicians, each one more handsome, for where I was passing, they were as if they were seeing a fairy in the middle of the night. I lit the fire with a match that I took from the light of my black lace stockings, to the beat of the best flamenco violinist in the world, Bernardo Parilla, and that fire got into my veins like poison. When it was my husband's turn to go out, of course he came out with the red shirt, and my anger turned it into pure passion. It was my moment and I made him suffer without following the choreography we had rehearsed in some moments so that he would feel confused and just chase me around the stage totally in love with me and making it very clear that Gilda is the boss! It was an incredible success, the audience standing still clapping for many minutes ... that's the only thing that mattered to me, first day over!

I went on stage without knowing what was going to happen and I used that theatrically how I had learned in my three years of acting career with the teacher of teachers William Layton and Stanislavski's method to make it organic. When Montoyita, the Director of the Casino, saw me go out carrying the cauldron with both hands above my head, his face in the foreground, very handsome indeed, and the faces of all the musicians, each one more handsome, for where I was passing, they were as if they were seeing a fairy in the middle of the night. I lit the fire with a match that I took from the light of my black lace stockings, to the beat of the best flamenco violinist in the world, Bernardo Parilla, and that fire got into my veins like poison. When it was my husband's turn to go out, of course he came out with the red shirt, and my anger turned it into pure passion. It was my moment and I made him suffer without following the choreography we had rehearsed in some moments so that he would feel confused and just chase me around the stage totally in love with me and making it very clear that Gilda is the boss! It was an incredible success, the audience standing still clapping for many minutes ... that's the only thing that mattered to me, first day over!

My close friend, the Director of the Spanish Tourism Office, took the stage to congratulate me with a huge bouquet of white roses, my favorites, congratulating me on founding The First Annual Los Angeles Flamenco Festival and announcing the name of the festival to the public. winner of the draw for the trip to Spain.

At the exit we had to meet with the newspaper that had been in charge of the box office and do accounts to be able to pay the rent of the theater among others. But no one appeared, no one answered the phone, the box office was empty and the ticket money had disappeared along with the real gangsters.

 

DON'T MISS CHAPTER 23

'The party at the Director of Tourism's mountain house is overflowing !.'

Postcard to participate in the Spain trip organized by Iberia Airlines.

Hand program.

Esther Ponce's experimental Flamenco is ready for the Valencian Director of Tourism to meet

It is very gratifying to have an idea like the experimental Flamenco in Valencia, carry it out and have managed to attract more than 20 foreign clients to Valencia in a short time and without marketing, who have passed through the Flamenco Art Center, and who have not only They learned a lot if not they have returned to their country with a better concept of Valencia.

His experience and approach to flamenco led by Esther Ponce will make you return without hesitation to the city of Turia.

Esther Ponce not only surrounds them with her passion and charisma from the first moment, her professionalism and a very long journey through different countries of the world where she has lived for long periods, she makes them fall in love.

You just have to read the dedications of all the foreigners who write in their precious notebook created for them and that are already adding more and more.

«They also buy semi-professional shoes and a skirt to study with me.» That’s already the best! –
~ Esther Ponce

 The foreigner is used to teaching flamenco very quickly and without discipline, anything goes, any shoe, any skirt, hanging out even parodying and even ridiculing flamenco.

With me if they want to study two private hours which is the minimum, they are given the option of buying or renting the shoes and none of them have thought twice about it to this day.
 
«Being a polyglot, doors just open up to me» –
~ Esther Ponce
 
Definitely the Experimental Flamenco of Esther Ponce has an Angel!

From England, without a doubt the most special Experimental Flamenco we have had at the Flamenco Art Center in these two and a half years.

The Esther Ponce Stylized Flamenco Art Center has been open for two and a half years. El Ángel Every August 28, for Esther’s birthday, a new foreign student gives her a gift and the flamenco toast intensifies.

«The students do not want to miss the opportunity to study with me. When they start to study my technique they are hooked at the first second. Those who play sports and take care of themselves immediately identify with my stretching and feel safer for the rest of the class and those who don’t appreciate it and will surely start practicing it and taking care of themselves forever »
~ Esther Ponce

This year Esther thought that her Angel would be very busy due to the current pandemic situation and also that it would be a coincidence that another year happened.

But to Esther’s surprise it was like that and without doubt the most special flamenco toast for England.

«Discipline is my hallmark and not even the Covid has stopped us» «I have never doubted it and I will only teach classes with a mask»
~ Esther Ponce

After the experience of teaching classes with a mask? A private flamenco class for two hours without stopping, does Esther remember that when she and the student went out into the street they breathed for two seconds as if there were no tomorrow?According to Esther’s recent experience, with the mask you cannot see the total expression of the student, but the eyes also speak and flamenco is also expressed with the body.

With all the safety measures, the student disinfected her shoes, put hydroalcoholic gel on her hands, a temperature control was performed with a non-contact forehead thermometer and the student did not remove her mask during the two hours, only in the changing room that she only used to drink water. 

“Now I can present my Experimental Flamenco to the director of Tourism of Valencia and let him roll with the little ham :)”
 
~ Esther Ponce