Cayetano Soto is a vibrant new voice in contemporary ballet with “an abundance of originality” according to Dance Europe.
Born in Spain, Soto studied in Barcelona and later The Hague before performing with IT Dansa in Barcelona and then Ballet Theater Munich. His work is in the repertoire of major companies around the world, including Royal Ballet of Flanders, Stuttgart Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Ballet Theater Munich, Augsburg Ballet, Introdans, BJM Danse, Companhia Nacional de Bailado in Lisboa, Tanz Theater Luzern and Balé da Cidade of Sao Paulo.
Cayetano chats with us about his new work and his first time working with Ballet BC.
Where do you get your inspiration for new work?
It depends on the moment in my life. For example: I look for music almost 24/7. I love the process of discovering new music and new composers, but I don´t spend much time searching for new ideas … I cannot work that way.
I work in a very photographic way, I need to visualize the ballet, and sometimes it comes in the most unexpected way … I could be eating or walking and some parts of the ballet just start to come to me in pictures to my head … this is the moment when creation starts for me … I just have to be very aware of the moment I am living, open the door to creativity and not live in the past or the future.
Do you come into the studio with a finished work or do you include the dancers in the process?
When I come to the studio for the first time, I have pictures of how the ballet should look, I have moments, steps even lights and costumes … in some companies I try to include the dancers in the process. Creation is for me one of the most magical experiences in the world and I love to involve the dancers by giving them a very strong line and direction, creating a channel where we can exchange ideas, movement and vision for the ballet.
For me, it is very important to push the dancers in a direction they have never been before … pushing their boundaries and developing their artistic needs and personal growth … in other words … I have to make sure they raise the bar and jump over it!
Do you have a philosophical approach to your work that you apply in your process or do you respond more to the music you’re working with? Or a combination?
I have a philosophical approach to my ballets … I use my interior life as inspiration for my work, but I don´t just lay my emotional baggage before the audience as therapy. This is art and I want everyone to be able to relate to it as I transform my inner psychological thoughts into ballets in the physical world. In this way I get to work through my own experience of the world while bringing the dancers into it, letting them share something deeply personal of themselves; it´s both subjective and universal.
How long have you been choreographing?
Since the day I was born … in my mother´s vision. I have been choreographing since I was a student … I never really wanted to be a dancer … I wanted to choreograph! The funny thing is that inside of myself I still today question myself as a choreographer.
What other projects are you working on?
This summer I will be at Jacob’s Pillow, after the Joyce Theater in New York with my creation Beautiful Mistake. I have commissions with Nürenberg Ballet, Wiesbaden Ballet and Gauthier Dance Company in Germany, Introdans in Holland and others in Switzerland, Brazil and Italy.
How would you describe your new piece for UN/A?
As I mentioned before I use my interior life for my ballets, sometimes audiences cannot see it, but for sure they are touched in a certain way. When one ballet is finished, it immediately brings me to the next one, like a chain.
In this way I can grow as a person and as a choreographer.
The first part of this ballet I see as an image of my life, a circle that is finishing and I am aware of it. As a person I am very afraid of death, but as an artist I know I have to die many times to be reborn with new impulses, energy and ideas. This for me is the second part of the ballet, pure energy opening a new chapter.
When life is changing you have very strong emotions. What immediately came to my mind is an oil rig in the ocean, alone and powerful, fighting with the waves .
In Isabel Coixet´s master piece La vida secreta de las Palabras, the inner voice says: “An oil rig is hit by twenty eight thousand waves a day, sometimes even more, and the waves are never the same.” This was a very important point in starting my creation.
What was it like working with Ballet BC for the first time?
So far it’s been just amazing. I am looking forward to being back in the studio with the talented dancers. It´s a beautiful place here, everyone is very generous. They know who they are and what they are fighting for. They are committed to creation and to Ballet BC! This group is one of a kind. It’s a pleasure seeing them work so hard with such maturity.
How do you like working in Vancouver versus other cities you have worked and choreographed in?
Each city is different and each city has his own magic. Vancouver is special in my opinion because of the very charming and welcoming people, I like its inner energy, especially because of the sea.
Watch behind-the-scenes footage with Cayetano and the company artists here.