Columns on fashion, culture and ideas

Art & Culture / Inner Chic

Blanca Li

Written by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni and illustrated by Robert Beck, this column focuses on life in Paris, pepped up by its chic insiders

Blanca Li
Blanca Li Illustration by Robert Beck

If in Paris this month, try to see a performance of Elektro Kif at La Cigale. Full of pep and performed by very young dancers (the oldest is 23) it’s directed by the Spanish dancer Blanca Li...

If in Paris this month, try to see a performance of Elektro Kif at La Cigale. Full of pep and performed by very young dancers (the oldest is 23) it’s directed by the Spanish dancer Blanca Li who’s also responsible for the choreography. In typical Blanca style, she was sitting in a public park minding her own business, when suddenly school kids arrived and began jerking their arms and legs up and down. They were rehearsing Elektro – a club dance – that she hadn’t heard of. “There was something so fresh about it,” she later said. “I knew that I was witnessing a new style of dance.” And she ‘knew’ that she had to do something about it – hence the production of Elektro Kif, two years later.

"Bianca was an edgy Reina of the night who ran the club/bar El Calentito and also did spellbounding flamenco on the side"

Blanca trained under Martha Graham in New York, and when I first saw her perform, I was reminded of her American mentor. A case of acute drama created from stark simplicity. Still, the circumstances were entirely different. It was 1992 and I was in Madrid for W magazine, covering the aftermath of La Movida. When interviewing plastic surgeons, jewellers and restaurant owners, Bianca was a breath of alternative air. Imagine a sculpted face, toned body armed with a brilliant smile? She was an edgy Reina of the night who ran the club/bar El Calentito and also did spellbounding flamenco on the side. The latter was highly illegal due to the venue’s problematic landlord. And no doubt the mixture of her talent, the hushed silence and the secrecy of the event furthered the magic. But that was twenty years ago. Now Bianca has her own Paris-based dance company. A few former productions include Nana et Lila; Macadam, Macadam; and Quel Cirque. What else is there to say but bravo Blanca?

Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni

Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.

Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. Also known as C.J. Rabbitt, he is the author and illustrator of several children's books, including The Tale of Rabbitt in Paradise, Un Lapin à Paris and the soon-to-be-published A Bunny in the Ballet.

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