Isabel originally trained in Flamenco, folk/classical Spanish dance, Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Ballroom dancing. She has worked as a Dancer/Assistant Choreographer in several productions for the BBC, including Wives & Daughters, Madam Bovary and Daniel Deronda and has performed in various films, notably Shakespeare in Love, I Capture the Castle and Pride and Prejudice, in which she was also appointed Assistant Choreographer. Isabel's choreography credits include flamenco dance for BBC1's Strictly Dance Fever 2005 and 2006, Barber of Seville for Garsington Opera and Movement Director for The House of Bernarda de Alba at the Theatre Clwyd in Wales.
You recently worked as a Choreographer/Dance Coach and Flamenco Dance advisor in a film with Director Mike Leigh, tell us a bit about that experience. What did you most enjoy about it?
I was contacted by Mike Leigh’s production team as he had heard about my Flamenco dance teaching and choreography skills. He told me he wanted me to train an actress who, had no previous dance experience or any previous knowledge of Spanish dance-flamenco technique, to be a 'credible' Flamenco Teacher for a scene in his new film! Well, I was up for the challenge and decided that I would accept the offer to train a complete novice to not only learn flamenco dance, but also to be able to act as an assured, competent and expert Flamenco dance teacher.
What do you feel are the differences, if any, between choreographing for a film and choreographing for the stage?
I believe that they are both interesting in different ways, and also depend on the artistic team you are working with. Whilst choreographing in films it’s very exciting the elaboration process is much quicker and you have to be able to adapt and make slight adjustments as you go along to create a better or the best camera angle, lighting scene or choreographic moment. I personally think that the process of choreographing for the stage is much slower and allows you to ‘cook’ your compositions from all the different planes and angles, always bearing in mind that the spectators will finally and ultimately choose their favourite perspective.
Do you feel your knowledge of the history of Flamenco enriched you choreographic work, and if so in what way?
I think it is very important to be knowledgeable about the historical context of any work you undertake, and also to have a good understanding of the period and choreographic style of the piece you are creating. Without that depth of knowledge the steps and movements will look and feel superficial; and my objective is primarily to create a very genuine and authentic piece that is both credible and attractive from an audience point of view and for the dancers’ interpretation.
What made you want to become a choreographer?
I could say it has been a natural progression: I come from a very artistic background; my grandparents were actors, my father was a singer, and my mother was (and still is) a dance teacher/performer! I have always been surrounded by all the various choreographic elements and from an early age always felt very inspired by rhythm and music. Dance and movement is my medium and the dance floor is my natural habitat. On the other hand, I was fortunate enough to have had a very successful career as a dancer and assistant choreographer and this has given me the confidence, depth of experience and of course foundation to build my choreographic career upon.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to continue to grow as a choreographer. I have been commissioned to create an exclusive Classical Spanish Dance piece for the inaugural cruise of the brand new Cunard ocean liner the Queen Victoria, with 12 dancers of various nationalities. Also more TV and film choreography work are in the pipeline which together with the flamenco workshops I give at Bishopsgate Institute, the Ballet sessions at Birkbeck College and all the guest movement and dance coaching I do for stage productions here in London and around Europe are keeping me very busy!
For further information please visit Isabel Baquero / UK Choreographers Directory, or email email@example.com.