JOSE MAYA. (Text in greek)
An interview that the famous Spanish Flamenco dancer, Jose Maya, gave to us. The interview was given at the Athens Concert Hall on 1 and 2 of March 2014. The first part of the interview was on stage and the questions were edited by Stella Nikolakaki. The second part took place in the dressing room. We would also like to thank the percussionist Pedro Fabian who helped in translation as well as Constantina Theofanopoulou for her valuable assistance regarding the subtitling of the video. Last but not least, big thanks to the responsible of the Solea Flamenco School, Helen Giannopoulou, for trusting our work all these years of our acquaintance.
Mr. Maya thank you very much for joining our online channel and the first thing I would like to ask you whether you have been given the chance to be in Greece before.
I was invited last year to the Solea Flamenco School of Helen Giannopoulou, but it is the first time this year that I came to dance at the Athens Concert Hall.
Do you find that there are common features between Spain and Greece?
There are many common features. First of all in Greece there starts the “thinking” and the “poetry”, activities that a person should have and of course in Spain there is something similar happening.
At this point I would like you to tell us a bit about your artistic career.
I started very young and my mother helped me from the beginning to make this career as a dancer. I really liked this activity and already at 9 I began participating next to great artists and in the process I started working together with even greater artists. So slowly I began wanting to go even further in terms of an artistic career and I went to France where I also permanently live. And I am greatly affectedby the activities of the country such as poetry, painting and anything else that can enrich me as a person and as an artist.
It is a fact that you are a very famous dancer. Was success and end in itself for you or is it simply a reward for your effort to date?
Success for me means simply being able to feel the music inside me and share with my family all these pleasures. I want to feel happy with all that dancing offers. And that is what success means for me. Especially now that we live in a worldwhere there is much violence and wars, it is very important to me that I can listen to music and dance.
What is more difficult for an artist, to reach the top or stay there?
The easier is to reach the top quickly like a star, but the harder is to remain stable there. Many people quickly reach the top, but that is not the purpose. The true artist is one who can stay there.
Would you dance with the same energy in front of 5 people and in front of 5,000 people?
Dancing for me is something like a “spirit”. It is something that comes from beneath the earth. So I can dance the same
in front of 5 or 5,000 people. The important thing for me is that when I dance I feel a “silence” where I can be with myself and can see myself and do things that come from my soul.
Has it ever happened that after a show and besides the applause you weren’t satisfied with yourself?
From very young up to now I never feel satisfied because I never feel that I have danced very well.
You are hosted here in Greece by the Solea Flamenco School and more specifically by Mr. Helen Giannopoulou. How and when did the collaboration with her start and whendid you meet?
We met for the first time at a festival in Seville. I did a dance seminar there so we met. The way Helen “sees” things matches with my own. And I also like the relationship that she has with the students of the school and therefore we have many in common.
Nevertheless is there a chance that two equally good dancers would not fit on stage?
It can happen. But if their emotions for Flamenco fit then there will be no problem. Usually Flamenco is one. There is no modern and non-modern Flamenco and when both dancers feel exactly the same when dancing there is no problem and they can comfortably dance together.
The second part of the interview continued after the end of the show in the dressing rooms of the Athens Concert Hall.
José Maya, two shows just finished here in the Concert Hall and of course I could not miss coming to see you both nights. What I want you to tell me first and foremost is what you think about your experience here in Athens.
JM: It was a very pleasant experience because all people here behaved with much respect and love towards me and I am sure that many people in Greece understand the importance of Flamenco and this can be seen in their applause at the righttime.
Obviously you pass the messages very nicely through dancing and that’s why people understand.
I try very much to express what I feel at that moment and my guide for that is my instinct.
Now I would like you to tell me something very important. Would you cooperate with Helen Giannopoulou again?
With too much pleasure. She has a lot of emotion and passion which is exactly what connects us. I had a very pleasant time with her and hopefully someday we will work together again. And why not at some point in the future not to have a coexistence of Greek and Spanish music like a joint cooperation between the two cultures.
This really is a great idea and I wish it will happen. We on our part as an online channel we thank you for your cooperation and the time you dedicated to us and very soon we expect you back to Greece and Athens.
Thank you too very much and all this was really very pleasant for me also.