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Why Rocío Molina Will Only Perform Her Latest Work While She's Pregnant

"This type of creative work is not just about waiting for the duende to arrive, but rather a lot of work with fantastic people," says Rocío Molina of her process for Caída de Cielo, which is documented in the new film IMPULSO. Photo by Javier Fergo, Courtesy Jerez Festival

Flamenco dancer and choreographer Rocío Molina created her first full-length production, Entre paredes ("Between Walls"), at the age of 22. At 26, the prodigy received Spain's National Dance Prize, the most coveted dance award in Spain. Now 34, her rupture with tradition makes her no stranger to controversy. But it, and her fiercely personal and contemporary style, means that each new project is a fascinating voyage.

Molina is the subject of French filmmaker Emilio Belmonte's first feature length documentary, IMPULSO. The film, which makes its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York City's Film Forum on October 17, follows Molina for two years as she tours Europe presenting a series of improvised works. These improvisations ultimately inspired the creation of one of Molina's masterworks, Caída de Cielo ("Fallen from Heaven"), which premiered in 2016.

A trailer with English subtitles may be found here.

Molina is currently on tour in Spain with Grito Pelao, an ode to pregnancy, motherhood and femininity. We caught up with her to discuss the film, her impending maternity and the decision to create a work to be danced solely while she is pregnant.

IMPULSO is the first film made focusing specifically on you and your work. How was the experience?

It's been very beautiful, especially because Emilio Belmonte brought a lot of sensitivity to the project, not just because he's known how to handle the intimacy of creating a new work, but also because he shows the creative process honestly. It's wonderful that the viewer can see that this is a team effort, and how I create flamenco: by sitting down with my colleagues and doing research, trying different things, improvising, talking about it all and living together.

Molina in her Caída de Cielo. Photo by Javier Fergo, Courtesy Jerez Festival

After wrapping up this documentary and touring very successfully with Caída del Cielo for over a year, you embarked on an even more personal journey: becoming a mother. You are currently single and living a glorious moment in your career—why take time off now to have a child?

It was something I'd been dreaming of for five years. If I prioritize my dance over my personal life, everything loses its meaning, and I wouldn't feel inspired or motivated. So, I decided to have in vitro insemination through a sperm bank. I prepared myself with a lot of therapies, and I got pregnant on the first try.

Molina in her Caída de Cielo. Photo by Javier Fergo, Courtesy Jerez Festival

I understand that this pregnancy and a chance meeting with singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz were the inspiration for your latest and most ephemeral creation, Grito Pelao.

The show was born from the personal desire to be a mother and attempting to dance the process of becoming a mother. I casually met Sílvia on a plane. We admired each other very much but had never met in person. She invited me to her concert and asked me onstage to improvise. Something very powerful happened artistically. We felt that we just couldn't leave it at that. We began to work together, doing a lot of improvisation in the studio, her with her voice and I with my body. We began working before I was pregnant and not yet sure if I was going to be able to get pregnant, but later I started to develop my pregnancy body and that began transforming the project again.

If this is a show about becoming a mother that you’ve only danced while pregnant, will you be performing it after you’ve had your baby?

I will stop performing Grito Pelao in October because I will no longer be able to dance, as I'll be almost eight months pregnant. I've always liked the idea of the piece dying when I give birth to a new life, so I think that is ultimately what will happen. I can't talk about being pregnant if I no longer have the baby inside of me.

Molina in her Caída de Cielo. Photo by Javier Fergo, Courtesy Jerez Festival

So, what’s the plan for after the baby is born?

Once I give birth, I will spend four and a half months at home to enjoy the baby, and after that I go back on tour over the next year with Caída del cielo. So, I will have to bring her on tour with me.

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