“My relationship with the audience means everything to me. I think that this relationship fuels the artist’s soul”, Mercedes Ruiz

Flamenco is fast becoming one of the most popular dance forms, with the fire, intensity, emotion and drama. London is lucky to have one of the most renowned Flamenco dancers from Spain coming to Sadler’s Wells to showcase her new piece.

Mercedes Ruiz has created Déjame que te baile (Let Me Dance For You) as a ‘declaration of love to the audience.’ The Wonderful World of Dance goes to the heart of the dance of love with Mercedes Ruiz.

What does flamenco mean to you?

Flamenco is the artistic and cultural discipline that I feel united with, it means everything to me. Since I was born I have been surrounded by flamenco in Jerez, Spain and I started dancing professionally at the age of 7.

Can you describe how it feels to dance flamenco on stage?

On stage it is very variable depending on several things: my mood, how I feel the energy, the connection and how I interact with the artists that are with me on stage…

What inspired you to create your own dance company?

The main inspiration that pushed me to create my own company was the curiosity and necessity of expressing myself with freedom.

Flamenco Dancer Mercedes Ruiz
Flamenco Dancer Mercedes Ruiz

What is your process for creating new work?

Each time is different. It depends on the work that I aim to do. Sometimes I am inspired by the music that comes with the choreography. Other times, I work on the idea that I want to express, shaping it with the help of my stage director, Paco López.

As a dancer and choreographer, how important is your relationship with the audience?

My relationship with the audience means everything to me. I think that this relationship fuels the artist’s soul.

When creating new works, do you feel it is more important to create work the audience likes or create work that you want to create?

It is very difficult to dance when I don’t believe in what I am doing. If I don’t like it (meaning that I don’t feel it, I don’t believe in it), it’s very difficult when the audience likes it. I think the audience expects truth, and it only comes out when you firmly believe in what you do regardless whether you think that the audience is going to like it or not.

What does it mean to you to be part of Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival?

Being part of Sadler’s Wells is undoubtedly something that I have waited a long time for. For me it means a challenge for two reasons, because Sadler’s Wells is the dance temple for every dancer and secondly because the Flamenco Festival London is nowadays one of the main festivals of flamenco outside Spain, and is very important for the career of every flamenco artist.

Tell us about the show you’re bringing to London called ‘Let me dance for you’

As the tittle refers to, I want to be seen, I want that the audience to feel my dance. It is a show where the dialogue with the singers and musicians becomes the necessary impulse to create and express what I have inside. It is an inflection point in my career because after an inner search I am able to express with a deeper knowledge and freedom. That’s why I demand: Let me dance for you!

Flamenco Dancer Mercedes Ruiz
Flamenco Dancer Mercedes Ruiz

Who inspires you in the dance world?

I am inspired by many artists that have influenced me during my career, in their personalities and different ways to deal with it. Some of them are: Antonio Gades, Manolo Sanlucar, Carmen Amaya, Matilde Coral or Pastora Pavón.

What advice would you give to aspiring flamenco dancers?

My advice is “truth, hard work and patience”.

Book tickets for Mercedes Ruiz’s Déjame que te baile (Let Me Dance For You) on 21 Feb at Sadler’s Wells here.