The Year of the Ham





On the 7th of February 2013, DeNada Dance Theatre premiered Young Man! at The Place, London, as part of Resolution!. The piece had been created during two intense weeks at the Dance Studio Leeds, and its creation was only possible thanks to a fundraiser organized by Can Ruines, the lovely, wacky house in which DeNada’s members lived, which opened its doors to local artists and performers and raised sufficient funds to produce the piece and take it to London.

The day before the show, DeNada crammed its set, dancers, choreographer, handyman and ham into a medium-sized Spanish Mercedes with a broken reverse function and started its drive from Leeds to London. In the back, leaning against the tabletop and acrobatically placed in between a leg of ham and rucksacks, choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra tweeted away, dancer Sabrina Ribes Bonet hummed the tune to her solo, and in the front, next to driver Abraham Alcántara, dancer Victoria Da Silva rolled cigarettes for them both whilst trying to get the GPS to work. A few miles ahead of them, eight loyal friends were on a National Express coach, also travelling to London to support the dancers. Once in London, they all met in the cheap Islington hostel where they shared a twelve-bunk room.

The performance at The Place went incredibly well (“They are the best dancers on the Resolution! stage” said Josephine Leask), albeit the near-mortal accident involving a dry throat and chunk of chorizo that almost choked Sabrina Ribes (who bravely soldiered through the piece). After London,Young Man! returned to Leeds and was much appreciated by the audience at Yorkshire Dance. A few more trips to London followed: at Sadler’s Well’s Mezzazine Foyer, prior to Eva Yerbabuena’s performance at the Flamenco Festival, diners were somewhat surprised by DeNada’s tale of ham and passion, which was very much enjoyed by the eager audience of Duckie at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Thanks to Carlos Pons Guerra’s appointment as Catapult Artist, the company secured the support from Spin Arts Management (producer Sarah Shead), the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Yorkshire Dance. The scheme, which offers artistic and production mentoring, as well as funds and creative space, allowed Pons Guerra to begin a mentoring relationship with choreographer Javier de Frutos, also thanks to DanceUK invaluable support and assistance, a relationship which he hopes to further in 2014. Shead’s expertise and the excellent partnerships formed through the scheme also secured DeNada its first Grants for the Arts, and the company began working on its new piece, O Maria.


A tale of ham and bondage, O Mariaincludes an apparition of a hairy Virgin Mary, performed by company apprentice Joao Maio, beautifully costumed by Tamar Sierra Sosa. The piece was previewed to a roaring-with-laughter audience at Yorkshire Dance, later developed and premiered to an equally delighted audience at the Riley Theatre, Leeds. “In the end, O Maria is funny, unusual, and opens up interesting debates about the power and nature of salvation,” thought Dance Europe, adding: “Hard-line Catholics may disagree.”

In between previewing and premiering O MariaYoung Man! travelled to Germany for the final of the No Ballet International Choreography Competition final. A double booking with Liverpool’s Homotopia Festival meant that DeNada welcomed Margheritta Elliot and Eve Stainton as the Liverpool cast of Young Man!, and the piece was simultaneously performed in two different countries. These trips were made possible by Arts Council England, Yorkshire Dance and our private sponsor El Bareto, possibly the best tapas bar in the UK, as well as by a group of very special company friends. The Germans appreciated the Spanish temperament of the piece and its sexy nature; Liverpool loved DeNada’s strong women and their toxic love affair- “A wild and exhausting piece that pushed the dance bounaries” commented the Liverpool Daily Post



DeNada Dance Theatre- Margherita Elliot and Eve Stainton at Liverpool’s Homotopia Festival

A new website ( and video trailer by Wayne Sables Project have gained DeNada an incredible amount of new followers, and the company is very grateful to all of them, and to the organizations that helped spread the word through their social media platforms. Thanks too go to the DeNada mums, back in Spain, who proudly tell all their friends at the supermarket and Facebook about what the company is up to- especially Mari Tolentino, Da Silva’s mother and number one fan. Workshops at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, as well as free company class during artistic residencies have also opened up the company’s kitschy and dramatic work to young dancers.

It has been an incredible year of development (for the last few performances, the company has travelled by train and airplane, and not contorted inside an old Mercedes!). As we embark on our second year of hammy adventures- developing O Maria, a new creation as part of Yorkshire Dance’s Juncture festival under guidance of Wendy Houston (working title Aurorax 0.5), perfoming Young Man! at the International Dance Festival Birmingham, our first trip to Spain for the Tetuan District Choreography Competition, Madrid, and more exciting events to be announced, all we can do is thank each and every supporter, without whom the company’s incredibly fortunate and hammy year would not have been possible.

Muchas gracias from DeNada Dance Theatre.

(DeNada would like to thank all its followers and friends, every journalist and publication that has attended any of our performances, our production team, and supporters, including: Arts Council England, DanceUK, Homotopia Festival Liverpool, DanceXchange, Yorkshire Dance, The Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Birmingham Pride, Spin Arts Management, El Bareto Leeds, Artists North, and The Dance Studio Leeds)