ESENCIA del FLAMENCO
Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington
31/01/2012 - 05/02/2012
Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company presents
ESENCIA del FLAMENCO
featuring The Cry of Spain
Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company returns to Circa Two 31 January to 5 February 2012 with a powerful new show Esencia del Flamenco (Essence of Flamenco), featuring the virtuoso flamenco guitarist and singer duo Paul Bosauder and Cristina Lopez Gomez from Barcelona. For Wellington’s much-acclaimed flamenco group to be collaborating with and performing on equal terms with professional international artists indeed attests to the quality of dance and musicianship existing locally.
Esencia del Flamenco, as the title promises, captures the essence of flamenco – the haunting song (cante), the intense expression of human emotions and the mesmeric rhythms of guitarists, dancers and percussionists. In the first half of the show, the evocative dance drama The Cry of Spain uses all of these elements to depict the anguish of the Spanish Civil War. The second half showcases Paul and Cristina as they perform on their own and with the company, elaborating on the electrifying synergy that exists between flamenco singers, musicians and dancers.
This is the first time Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company has performed in Wellington with a professional singer. Flamenco singing is one of those rare talents that defies imitation; it seems to live in the gypsy blood and is generally learnt by osmosis or from a lifetime’s apprenticeship. Born in Tarragona, Cristina became interested in flamenco cante at a young age. She went on to perform extensively in Granada and Barcelona and continues to study her art as she completes an honours degree in performing arts, specialising in cante flamenco at the Escuela Superior de Musica de Catalunya (Barcelona).
Also completing his honours degree in performing arts at this university, Paul is working as a flamenco guitarist in Barcelona. Of Lebanese origin and raised in New Zealand, his professional career as a musician has seen him tour and perform in Spain, France, Greece, Lebanon, UK, France, US and New Zealand.
Previous sell-out successes of Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company include Desde Sevilla (1998), Un Dos y Trés (1999), Un Dos Trés y Cuatro (2000), Viva Flamenco (2000), Flamenco the Fire of Spain (2000), Flamenco Fiesta with Antonia Vargas (2000), The House of Bernarda Alba (2001), Encuentros Flamencos (2002), Flamenco Mosaic (2004), The Cry of Spain (2006), Espíritu Flamenco (2009), Flamenco Puro (2010) and Fiesta Flamenca (2010).
DATES: 31 January to 5 February 2012
VENUE: Circa Two, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
BOOKINGS: Circa Phone – (04) 801 7992 Website – http://www.circa.co.nz/
CONTACTS: Jill Tanner-Lloyd 021 423 779 Helene Garland 021 366 030
MORE INF. http://wellingtonflamenco.co.nz/
Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company:
Dancers: Jill Tanner-Lloyd, Helene Garland, Kathryn Taylor, Stephanie Howard and Pilar Villamor Musicians: Raymond Biggs, Alan Burden
Guest musical artists: Paul Bosauder (Toque) and Cristina Lopez Gomez (Cante)
Narration: David Weller
The dance of music and the music of dance
Review by Lyne Pringle 01st Feb 2012
Stalwart, Jill Tanner-Lloyd, continues her deep passionate love affair with the flamenco form and Spanish culture by presenting Esencia del Flamenco. Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company has imported allies from overseas to strengthen the performance; guitarist and singer duo Paul Bosauder (Toque) and Cristina Lopez Gomez (Cante) from Barcelona.
The Spanish language cascades all around as the audience waits; a testament to the following and the important role that this company has for the Spanish community in Wellington.
There are protocols around performance that remind me of Pacific Island culture where performers are offered encouragement from the audience and there is a flow of participation.
Consisting of two contrasting halves the show is heartfelt, elegant and well presented.
The Cry of Spain is an intense ‘dance drama’ depicting the Spanish civil war the musicians and dancers interweave to explore the themes of ‘conflict’, ‘the fall of Madrid’, ‘surrender’ and ‘beyond war’.
Choreographer Tanner-Lloyd contemporizes the Flamenco form for the purposes of the story. The women of the company portray strident soldiers then battling and grieving women. There is an affective duet between Helen Garland and Kathryn Taylor with an exquisite white shawl used symbolically.
All the performers, Tanner-Lloyd, , Garland, Taylor, Stephanie Howard and Pilar Villamor dance with focussed commitment and once first night nerves have dissipated they will relax more into the unison sections.
There is variation in the focus for the dancers; intensity can be maintained whilst allowing eye contact with an audience. In the small space of Circa 2 the audience is right there. This variation detracts from the intricacies of the footwork and the messages in the choreography.
Whilst I appreciated the information imparted in the narration by David Weller – he needs to be more secure in his lines.
In striking black and red outfits the dancers pound out a fierce storm that evokes the cadences and rhythms of war, a cry from the heart, a struggle against fascism, crescendo and release. The choreography and concept challenges the dancers and they rise to it.
‘There is no victory in Civil War’: the poetry of Pablo Neruda evokes blood spilt on the fields.
There is the dance of music and the music of dance. It is wonderful to have these musicians in dialogue with the dance. Alan Burden and Raymond Biggs play percussion.
The voice of Cristina Lopez Gomez seems to carry the dry essence of the land – an ancient gypsy soul, a particular timbre in a tuneful wail. In the final dance of the first half there is a slow cluster of womenfolk dancing for hope, solidarity and camaraderie. Lovely choreography with hands on shoulders and circular patterning leads to a resolution with Gomez taking the stage to dance and offer resolution with her voice.
After interval the mood is lighter with Fiesta Flamenca as the musicians take centre stage. Resplendent in red, Gomez in fine rapport with Bosauder and ably supported by the percussionists performs Alegrias a flamenco palo or musical form, which has a rhythm consisting of 12 beats. This is very compelling and many in the audience join with the palmas (hand clapping). Malagueña follows, exquisitely rendered, magic falls into the space as the voice and tremendous guitar playing intermingle. In Bulerias and Flor de Estanbul there is a chance for the percussionists to shine.
A highlight of the performance is the duet between Jill Tanner-Lloyd and Cristina Lopez Gomez both moving beautifully in the space as the voice compels the dancer towards a delicious exploration of the form with beautiful backbends, forceful footwork and delicate arm gestures. There is also stillness and an infectious sensual joy.
Tangos is a great finale with the whole company in vibrant form, slightly raucous, slightly bawdy, the spirit of Flamenco enters us all as feet tap and sounds of approval fill the air.
After a beautiful encore the entire company dances off – a band of international gypsies united in their love of the art form. We reluctantly let them go.
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