TAPAC - The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Auckland

24/02/2020 - 26/02/2020

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

14/02/2020 - 15/02/2020

Production Details

“Not like you have seen before”

Hernandez & Tamayo Spanish Dance Theatre premiere their work EMERALD in Auckland, for the Summer at Q Theatre Pride and Fringe Festival, and at The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC). Unlike what you would expect from Flamenco dance, Hernandez & Tamayo draw a measured distance from the traditional spotted dresses and flying skirts. Always advancing forward and pioneering Spanish Dance Arts in Australia, their latest work is a signatory of their union, interweaving folkloric, ballet, contemporary and Flamenco dance, like never seen before in Australasia. Ballet trained, Spanish folkloric and contemporary dance artist Aitor Hernandez Sanzano breathes world-class experience and knowledge from the Ballet Nacional of Spain and has aligned with traditional Gypsy Flamenco artist Marina Tamayo who trained in Sacromonte, Granada to form a unique culturally rich contemporary dance Spanish team.

Exploring the intrinsic fight with the shadows of the past, Hernandez and Tamayo are performers who use their very different dance heritages to an advantage. There are strong elements of folk and classical ballet traditions, but these movement vocabularies are used explicitly to describe internal states. Intensity, passion and intricacy are woven exquisitely as they move through a series of encounters. Liquid arms and percussive responses describe shifts in status and rituals of leaving and returning and desiring and rejecting. With a simple change of cloth, relationships between generations shift and rivalries are made manifest.

“It is impossible to ignore how well these dancers perform the simplest shoulder shift and the most complex footwork. It is exciting to see this embodiment of their vulnerability” Lesley Graham, Australian Dance Review for MOVES Contemporary Dance Festival, Hobart.

See Emerald Flamenco Theatre at Q Theatre Loft during Summer at Q Festival and at TAPAC during Auckland Fringe.


QTHEATRE LOFT When: 14th -15th February 2020, 6.30pm (show duration 45 mins) Price: $39 – $59 Book at: https://www.qtheatre.co.nz/

TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland When: 24-26 February 2020, 9pm (show duration 45 mins) Price: $30-$35 Book at: www.tapac.org.nz

For media queries and further info contact Marina Tamayo hernandeztamayospanishdance@gmail.com or tel 0415384038 (Sydney, Australia)

Flamenco , Dance ,

45 mins

Dramatic, engaging cultural dance

Review by Nicole Wilkie 25th Feb 2020

Emerald presents a unique blend of dance styles, combining traditional Flamenco and Spanish styles influenced by a contemporary flair. As the audience takes their seats, we are presented with a two-metre high picture frame in the centre of the stage, surrounded by hanging garments on either side. Vivid green light floods in from the sides of the stage and the dancers emerge. Immediately I am struck by the performance quality of these artists – they are so emotive with their faces, making it easy to invest in the work. The dancers interact with the hanging fabric with child-like wonder on their faces, until eventually, they meet at the picture frame in an embrace. From this point, the tone of the work changes several times, reflecting the themes of experiencing trauma and using this to evolve and grow, as we all do in our lives. We see the stomping, staccato vibrancy of Flamenco punctuated with softness and static imagery.

Something I enjoy about this work is the rawness of it – the dancers change their costumes on-stage, swapping what they are wearing for the hanging garments several times throughout. As an audience member, removing the typical miraculous costume changes where dancers leave the stage and return looking completely different, makes me feel more connected to the performers as human beings. Being that there are only two dancers for the duration of the piece, a sense of intimacy is created, enhanced by the arrangement of the hanging clothing, which makes the space appear smaller. The dancers make use of their breath throughout and also engage in body percussion, adding realness.

The use of the picture frame throughout is clever – the dancers keep coming back to this central point, and watching them interact with each other inside the frame is like witnessing a chimerical painting coming to life. The delicate, preciseness of the arms and hands slips outside of the frame and retracts back in as the dancers rest and then shift again, lending to glorious postures and resplendent shapes.

I perceive the music and lighting in this work to be sporadic, as one moment we are treated to soft, Spanish style guitar complimenting tender movement in low lighting, and in the next breath, we are plunged into lurid red lighting and heavy bass beats. This certainly adds to the drama of the piece, particularly when combined with the fast, heavy footwork of the Flamenco. I find this drama much too theatrical and exaggerated for my taste, however, I recognise that this is likely a bias I carry from being primarily exposed to contemporary dance in Aotearoa, and I imagine that this kind of dramatisation is pertinent for these traditional Flamenco and Spanish styles.

All of the timing in the duet sections is incredibly accurate, Hernandez and Tamayo are consistently in perfect sync with each other – a feat difficult to achieve when tapping is involved, as the audience can hear any disparity in the footwork. They are both strong in their presence and wholly committed to the movement and telling their story. Hernandez conducts the stage with such tenacity that the eye is drawn to his every movement. Tamayo has a more delicate approach to her habitation of the space; however, this does not detract from her ability to engage the audience in her dance.

Emerald is a cultural dance experience perhaps unlike any that has been shown in New Zealand before. It is engaging and exciting, and there is no doubt that Hernandez and Tamayo are skilled dance artists and storytellers.


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