15 January 2024
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

Peruvian-born Sandra Chamochumbi Castro is a member of the Limonada Dance Company, newly founded by Enrique Gasa Valga. In February, the dancer will be performing in the first edition of the Innsbruck Winter Dance Festivals in the dance piece "Lágrimas Negras ". In this interview, Chamochumbi Castro talks about her arrival in Innsbruck, her passion for dance and what about "Lágrimas Negras" particularly reminds her of her home country.

From Peru to Europe

You grew up in Lima, the capital of Peru, where you completed your dance training at the National School. Did you always want to be a dancer?

Sandra Chamochumbi Castro: "Yes, I wanted to be a dancer from the age of three. I've always loved dancing, at every opportunity, everywhere. I started professional training at the age of nine. Dancing is my life, getting better and better is what drives me."

You left Peru for Europe at the age of 18. What brought you to Berlin?

Chamochumbi Castro: "Basically, it's always important for dancers to be cosmopolitan and open to new things. In Peru, there aren't very many opportunities in the field of dance. My teachers therefore motivated me very early on to take part in international competitions. At the 'Tanzolymp' dance festival in Berlin in 2018, I came second in the 'Classical Dance Solo' category, which led to my acceptance into the Berlin State Ballet School. A year later, I transferred to the Berlin Dance Institute and completed my training. I then worked in various ensembles, including in Budapest. In the 2022/23 season, I became a permanent member of the Tiroler Landestheater dance company."

What made you decide to apply to Innsbruck?

Chamochumbi Castro: "I knew Enrique Gasa Valga's work from various festivals and watched excerpts of his dance pieces on the Internet. His style, his way of dancing immediately appealed to me. So I came to Innsbruck to audition. It was fantastic that I was accepted, because I immediately fell in love with this city."

"Dancing is my life"

Can you still remember your first impressions of Innsbruck?

Chamochumbi Castro: "Of course! When I close my eyes, I have it in front of me. When I arrived in Innsbruck the evening before the audition in March 2022, it was already dark and I went straight to my hotel on Rennweg. The next morning, I opened the curtains and looked out over the Nordkettethe mountains still covered in snow. It was magical, this city seemed like a fairy-tale city to me and I knew immediately that I wanted to stay here."

Is the feeling still there?

Chamochumbi Castro: "As a dancer, you go everywhere to dance, but there are places where you immediately feel at home. That's how I felt in Innsbruck. I fell in love with this city. The longer I live here, the more great things I discover. I now live in Mühlau and love going for walks in the forest and up the mountain. You can look out over the whole city from the top, which gives me peace and quiet."

New Company

Enrique Gasa Valga left the Tiroler Landestheater as director of the TanzCompany with the new directorship. Was it immediately clear to you that you would accept his offer to become part of his new company?

Chamochumbi Castro: "Yes, Enrique's choreographies correspond to what I want in dance, what I want to express. After working with him as a member of the ensemble at the Tiroler Landestheater, including in the plays 'Lorca', 'Maledetto Modigliani', 'The Great Gatsby', as well as in 'Evita' and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' on the Festungsbühne in Kufstein, it was clear to me that I wanted to continue working with him as a choreographer. I am delighted to be part of his new ensemble. The company is like a family to me and we all have a common goal."

Lágrimas Negras

The world premiere of "Lágrimas Negras" also opens the new Innsbruck Winter Dance Festival. What do you like about this piece?

Chamochumbi Castro: "I can't say what I like most about 'Lágrimas Negras '. I love everything about this piece, the theme, the music. I grew up with the songs of the Cuban Valdés family of musicians. I know the lyrics, the melodies by heart. lágrimas Negras' speaks to so many levels. It's about revolution, love, freedom, the struggle for a better life, universal themes that are told through events in Cuban history."

Do you miss your family, your home?

Chamochumbi Castro: "Sometimes, of course. But with 'Lágrimas Negras' I can come to terms with my homesickness. This dance piece, especially the music, refreshes so many memories. I often think about how my mother cooked and I danced, the smell in the kitchen, eating together - very beautiful and emotional moments that I can express in dance."

Innsbruck Winter Dance Festival

9. until February 18, 2024

Lágrimas Negras
Dance piece by Enrique Gasa Valga

In "Lágrimas Negras", Gasa Valga focuses on recent Cuban history and the Valdés family of musicians. The life story of Bebo Valdés (1918-2013), who had to flee Cuba after Fidel Castro seized power in 1959 and never returned, is exemplary in "Lágrimas Negras" for the fate of many Cuban families at that time. Last but not least, the dance piece also addresses the late fame of Bebo Valdés, whose recordings with the Spanish flamenco singer Diego el Cigala and son Chucho Valdés went down in music history.

You can find more exciting events in Innsbruck and the surrounding villages in the events calendar.

Photos, unless otherwise stated: © Susanne Gurschler

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