ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble to put up contemporary adaptation of Carmen

New life breathed into a classic

ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble will be breathing new life into Carmen, the story of the beautiful rebellious gypsy, in a contemporary dance adaption that will be making its world premiere in Malta on February 16.

Jose Agudo, the London-based award-winning choreographer, is working with ŻfinMalta’s new artistic director Paolo Mangiola to revive the story of Carmen that was immortalised by Georges Bizet's lyric opera in 1875 and remains relevant to this day.

“Carmen will always be free… She is a gypsy, a Romany, a traveller, an untamed spirit, she is captivating and elusive, unfathomable and almost from another world. But despite all this she is earthy and grounded and fiercely alive,” Agudo said. Agudo, who is also an associate artist of Malta’s first national dance company, has set the production to an original music score by multi-percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger.

This production marks a particularly exciting moment for ŻfinMalta, because Carmen will kick start the dance ensemble’s first national tour to give audiences who would not normally frequent traditional theatres a taste of the beauty of contemporary dance.

“I love storytelling and the idea of using contemporary dance practices to engage with it, so Carmen was the perfect choice for our first national tour,” Mangiola said.

“After the success of Agudo's previous work Selah, which went down well with Maltese audiences, we felt this would be the next step for our company. We also wanted to support his vision on his last year of the mandate, as well as honour the last activity in the programme of former artistic director Mavin Khoo,” he added. Mangiola said he was inspired by Agudo’s contemporary approach to Carmen.

“We’re all familiar with the notion of freedom and love and I think it will resonate with the audience. As a firm believer that dance not only entertains but informs and pushes people to reflect, Carmen is probably more relevant than ever in today’s contemporary Malta.”

Carmen, played by Yasmin Priyatmoko Bohn, is a complex story about individuality and sexual freedom, love and pleasure, and, ultimately, about death and a destiny of a gypsy woman.

Agudo’s new dance work reexamines this rich tapestry of human motives and emotions. It aims to address higher-order issues, such as the conflict between conformity and freedom, the tension and aggression unleashed by narcissistic and obsessive human behaviour, the desire for self-disclosure and upholding the right to be free, and the belief that this journey of twists and turns we call life is valuable.

“Allowing the audience to experience something so universal through movement and beautiful dance is something unique and challenging that, in my opinion, deserves visibility,” Mangiola said.

Tickets are available from 


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