Riveting Riffs Logo One Marisol Rozo - Madrid's Creative Wonder
Marisol Rozo Photo One

Marisol Rozo may very well be the most creatively gifted person that Riveting Riffs Magazine has interviewed and yet she is also one of the most modest about her own achievements. Marisol Rozo was born in Colombia and twenty-two years ago she arrived in Madrid, Spain with only her two suitcases. Her career, as a dancer and began at the age of fourteen and she later appeared as an actress on Colombian television. In the years that have passed since she moved to Spain, Marisol Rozo has become a well-respected dancer, choreographer, director, playwright, appeared in films and not many people realize she is also a noted author of books for both children and adults, although she admits almost somewhat shyly that not many people are aware that she is an author. She says it is almost too much to tell people about. She has performed in and directed numerous theatrical projects in several countries, including major European cities and in New York City, as well as in China.

While conversing and getting to know Marisol Rozo one becomes aware of three things, her passion for her creative endeavors, her ability to balance a family life with a very busy artistic schedule and her kind and generous heart. 

Marisol Rozo Photo ThreeAs for finding the time to do everything she laughs and says, “It is very difficult to be a mother, a couple, dance, and theater and to write, but when you are passionate about what you do and you love it, I think that time is your friend. When I talk about that I can’t understand how I made it (she laughs). It is better if I don’t think about it.”

“At this time I am working as an actress and director with the beautiful Spanish play Tratado de culinaria para ser felices (Editor’s note in Spanish complete titles are often not capitalized unlike in English). It is a text (script) by the Colombian writer Hector Abad Faciolince and I share the stage with two wonderful fellows, Jorge Furnadjiev who is a cellist and actor and dancer Fernando Trujillo,” she says, and then continues, “I am also on tour with one of my oldest works, which is over eighteen years already, Mis primeras cuatro estaciones (My First Four Seasons).”

Life began for Marisol Rozo far away from big theater stages and movie screens. It seems as though the arts were destined to inhabit Marisol Rozo’s soul from the very beginning, “In Cali where I was born it is impossible not to dance. It is a career from the cradle. Dance was my first form of expression. Dance entered my body from a very young age. My mother tells me that from the time I was about two or three years old I danced and I had a lot of rhythm. I practiced at home and I danced everywhere.  

The first time I remember dancing (for a performance) was in a school and it was a celebration of culture. They were looking for girls and boys who danced and they took me. It was the first time in my life that I danced in front of a big audience. It is an African dance from the Atlantic region of Colombia and it is called Mapalé. I didn’t know that my body could do something so wonderful and I was never happier. I remember that day exactly like it is today. It is very clear (she laughs lightly).  I was seven or eight (years old),” says Marisol Rozo.

“I began to work as a dancer when I was fourteen. One of my first experiences with dance was with my best friend Victor Hugo Perea and it was break dancing. Then I learned all of the ballet positions from a magazine that a friend of my mother gave to her.

My roots are in Cali. The people of Colombia are alive and we live day by day. Our lives are all of the time (lived) in the present. Maybe that is the reason why I began to dance when I was very young, because there is a need to know everything now. You need to learn now. You don’t have time to think maybe in the future.

A woman discovered me dancing in the streets of Cali and she asked me why I was not at her ballet school taking classes. I said my mother did not have the money to pay for ballet school. We made an exchange I taught her and her students modern dance and funk and she gave me free ballet lessons.

In our family there were four sisters and two brothers (and she makes the point all of them were involved in the arts). I began to take my career (in dance) seriously when I was fifteen.”

She also notes that Alfonso Ortiz and his theater school in Colombia played an important role in her life.

She was invited to audition for a major musical production in Bogota when she was twenty years old.

“It was amazing for me, because I never imagined that in my life. I thought in that moment I can live the life of a dancer. I started to write for myself about my experiences and things like poetry, but I never showed anyone what I wrote. When I discovered theater I thought someday I want to do that. When I came to Bogota with the musical I discovered theater and in Cali too, but not a lot,” she remembers.

As for when and why she decided to move to Spain she says, “I moved to Madrid when I was twenty-three, because I wanted to learn more. In Madrid I began to learn Marta Graham dance technique. There is one very good school in Madrid which teaches it Carmen Senra and they had an amazing Canadian teacher named Christine Tanguay, who now teaches with the royal conservatory in Madrid.

I came here to find this teacher, because I wanted to learn (this technique). I began to study at the school after I lived here for three years and I decided to stay here in Madrid. When I began here I started with her. Christine Tanguay taught more or less all of the dancers of my age here in Madrid.

When I came to Madrid on the very first day I thought this is my home. Madrid is my second home. To be in Madrid is to be in a place where everyone is part of you and you are a part of them. I arrived with my two suitcases and without any place to live and without any people (who knew me), but this place received me in a wonderful way. The people were very hospitable. Even if you come from another place, the people are kind and generous to you. To live in Madrid is to live well. If you come to Madrid alone, you don’t feel lonely. I love the friendship of the people here.”

As we previously noted, her roles as a writer, director, dancer and actress have taken Marisol Rozo outside of Spain as well.

“I have been fortunate to work a lot in Europe and to travel a lot. I worked with (Armenian violinist) Ara Malikian for twenty years as well. I have been able to work in Italy and France, as an actor and dancer. In New York I had the great joy of being able to direct. It was the first time that I was the writer and the director. It was in co-production with a little theater in Greenwich Village.

I worked with Loren Escandon a Colombian actress and dancer too and she was in the same theater. The experience was something that was very beautiful. It was beautiful to be in the United States, because they took the work seriously. I loved that experience.

Dance has something that is universal. You can dance anywhere in the world without having to give long explanations. (The story) is told in a more concrete way. If there is a difference (in language) maybe you have to explain something with words (with performances more dependent on language), but with the body we do not have to explain. For example when we were in Moscow, Russia with the play Montera that I directed and the actress Loren Escandon spoke in Spanish there were subtitles in Russian.

The work that I do is very physical and it is very present. I think this helps to more intimacy. It was the same in France. On that occasion I worked with a famous dance company from Colombia and there was some text. I think that unified the physicality with the words.

In 2008 at the XI Certamen nacional de Teatro para Directoras de Escena Madrid España Marisol Rozo was honored as a theater director, as she was named the director of the year for her work with the play Constructores de Imperios (The Builders of Empires, by Boris Vian. To understand the importance of that honor one only has to look at some of the past recipients, directors such as, Marta Carrasco, Ana Valles, Laila Ripoll, Marta Torres and Maria Ruíz.

“It was a wonderful experience and it gave me a lot of strength to continue my work. I was young and for me to receive that prize was a vote of confidence. It was like was telling me that I was going in the correct direction,” she says.

Early in her career Marisol Rozo also appeared in some films that were produced in Spain, Báilame el agua and Secret Agents.Marisol Rozo Photo Two

“It was a beautiful experience. It was very nice to be with recognized people for instance in Bailame el agua like Josetxo San Mateo and Pilar López de Ayala when they were very young. They are famous now.

The movie Secret Agents was in French and because I speak a little bit of French I did a scene with Monica Bellucci in which we had a conversation. The moment when you are (interacting) with (another actor) is the real experience, not the results. It was brief, but for me it was amazing.

I worked a lot in Colombia with TV movies and with series,” says Marisol Rozo, while adding she would like to do more film and television work in the future.

At this time Marisol Rozo has her own theater company and she is focused on creating her own projects.

Marisol Rozo also has gained a reputation as a very good teacher and she talks about those experiences, “I teach workshops and recently there was a workshop proposed by Veronica Mey Estudio Teatro (Veronica Mey Studio Theater). It is a new studio here, but it is a very, very good studio. They asked me to do that, because they are (familiar) with my work. The workshop is also the way that I work when I direct my productions. A lot of people have said to me, why don’t you teach? I want the performers to have an absolute knowledge of everything within the theater space. Maybe it is because I am an actress and a dancer, so for me it is very important to know the place where you perform. It makes you (aware) of all of the possibilities when you create.

Over the past year this became a workshop that colleagues invited me to share in and it has been growing. I don’t consider myself to be a teacher, because I do things in the way I have done throughout my career and then I share them. I think you have to share everything that you have. If I find something that I think I can share with the others to enrich the theater I have to do that.

They added another day to that workshop, because people were very interested in the classes.

Now I will give open classes that are already quite complete, but the study is opening a continuing education program starting in 2020 in which I am happy to participate. Information can be found at www.veronicameyestudio.com

Admitting that she is shy about talking about her literary writings she agreed to talk to us about this part of her life, “I am an actress and not many people know that I write. People around me know that I write things for theater, but as for literature not many people know that. Now in my forties it has become something that is very special and I was published in Europe (in a book) compilation of Colombian writers. I also write poetry. I am working on a novel. I am really, really shy about this. Something happens when you decide to say, yes I am a writer! Before I did not have the confidence to say, yes I am a writer. A lot of people know me as an actor, dancer and director and I thought if I am a writer too, that is a lot.  People say how is it that you do a lot of things and you do them well? I say, when I do something I do it with all of my heart.

I am having an emotional moment now, because when I talk to you about this it is with all of my heart and with sincerity. I never talk about this.”

Those last two sentences define who Marisol Rozo is, modest about her accomplishments, grateful for the opportunities presented to her throughout her life and passionate about what she creates.

The girl who once danced in the streets of Cali, Colombia and began to learn ballet from a magazine has never forgotten her roots, even as she graces the stages of Europe and beyond and watches her own creations produced, while taking time to pass on her knowledge and experience to others…yes in all of that spare time she has between being a mother and a wife. How she manages to do all of that we do not know, but we are happy that she does, because the world would be that much poorer without her. Please visit the website for Marisol Rozo here and of her theater company here.       Return to Our Front Page

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This interview by Joe Montague  published January 5th,2020 is protected by copyright © and is the property of Riveting Riffs Magazine All Rights Reserved.  All photos are the the property of Marisol Rozo unless otherwise noted and all  are protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved. This interview may not be reproduced in print or on the internet or through any other means without the written permission of Riveting Riffs Magazine, All Rights Reserved