Thursday, 16 February 2012

Flamenco Smitten..

I've had two very close encounters recently..they were of the Spanish gypsy variety and took my breath away. While it is very easy to fall in love with all things Spanish, there is something about Flamenco that completely blows you away.

During my recent trip Seville, my brother and I decided to check out a Flamenco performance. Don't go to the touristy ones, be careful about fakes or over-priced trite serenading as art etc etc. Both of us were a little half-hearted in our search for the authentic performance. But I guess, it was meant to be. We literally stumbled upon a little hole in the wall type place, that had special performances by serious art students.

And so we took our seats in a small, squarish room with minimal decoration and soft lighting. The performance began slowly, with a solo guitar performance, followed by vocal and a guitar duet.

Then the lady in black took to the stage, swirling her skirt, clapping her hands and tapping her feet that you began to realise the magic of the music and the dance form. And when the man and woman performed together, everyone in the room was enthralled. They moved so energetically, yet gracefully; in tune with the music, but really following their own beat at the same time.

Back in London, following up on my New Year's resolution of doing more things outside of work, that I came across a Flamenco dance festival in London, so I promptly decided to go.

So last night, I had a different kind of encounter - this wasn't a typical "quartet" type of performance like the one in Seville. This was a theatrical performance, an adaptation of a play, almost like ballet.

My seat was right at the edge of the stage, so I could see the expressions, the sweat on the male lead's hair as he flicked his hair. It also turned out, quite by accident really, that I picked a show by Antonio Gades, one of the most important Flamenco choreographers of all time!

Antonio Gades passed away in 2004, and this performance called "Fuenteovejuna" was being done for the first time since his death! The show was based on a play by noted playwright Lope de Vega and is based on real events in the 17th century.

The performance was simple, the dance was part Flamenco, part ballet and part folk. The really fluffy and dramatic skirts were missing. But the story was compelling, powerful and dramatic.

Overall, turned out to be an amazing evening and quite a historic performance as well. And I am hooked, of course..been thinking about enrolling myself in Flamenco lessons..that's what close encounters do to you!