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HomeOperaWorld-class 'Cerrando el círculo' opens GALA's Fuego Flamenco Pageant XVIII

World-class ‘Cerrando el círculo’ opens GALA’s Fuego Flamenco Pageant XVIII

GALA Hispanic Theatre presents an eighteenth season of its flamenco pageant in an expanded collection, together with three full-length applications over three weeks. Judging from its opening evening program, Cerrando el círculo, and an organization new to GALA’s lineup, that is going to be one wonderful celebration.

Director and Choreographer Antonio Granjero has carried out in just about each main dance venue and earlier than quite a few heads of state, together with Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II. He moved his firm from Madrid to Santa Fe in 2011, the place he runs a educating middle and makes his base there for worldwide collaborations. He has been referred to as the “Baryshnikov of Spanish Dance.”

Estefanía Ramírez, Trini de la Isla, Momi de Cádiz, Juan José Alba, Ángel Muñoz, and Antonio Granjero in ‘Cerrando el círculo.’ Picture by Delbis Cardona.

For Cerrando el círculo, Granjero returned to the roots of conventional flamenco in Andalusia. The ensemble of three dancers, two singers, and a guitarist take turns calling up a beloved repertoire, filling the stage at occasions with a lot sound and fury. Do I solely think about that there’s larger nostalgia, pathos, and urgency of their dancing and singing as we collect collectively at nighttime in a world made so precarious not too long ago by conflict, plagues, and insanity?

Don’t get me improper. There are many moments of sheer pleasure shared on stage and within the viewers. It’s a cross between watching a good jazz ensemble taking turns to improvise and a Black Church Sunday morning when individuals get “lit up” with the spirit and name out. This viewers is a part of the present and the olés carry on coming.

The primary quantity begins with singer Momi Cádiz in darkness then a taut circle of sunshine. His plaintive cries conjure the ensemble on stage. “El Trini” (Francisco Luis Trinidad Angel) joins him with deep throaty sounds. Then all take part a fast-paced celebratory Bulerías.

Within the Farruca that follows, we’re aware of a “dialog” in dance and music between Granjero and Juan José Alba, an excellent flamenco guitarist, and so they go at it, with such intentional listening and shifting between gradual then quick finger-plucking and syncopated footwork. I like the trademark somatic gesture of a flamenco dancer: Granjero has this barely cheeky flip of his wrist as if his hand is tossing over his shoulder the factor he simply carried out, “Not dangerous; it’s nothing.” Granjero is certainly signaling, “I’m simply warming up.

However then he reveals that this firm has a secret weapon. If Granjero is “the Baryshnikov…” then I’ll pen Angel Muñoz because the “Benedict Cumberbatch of flamenco dance-drama.” He stretches out an impossibly lengthy leg, his eyes observe the unfolding limb, daring us to observe his each extension, solely to snap focus with a head swivel and redirect our focus. Each elegant transfer appears to be motivated by a selected thought, a sense. Focus modifications are swift, exact, as befits mastery of flamenco approach. When he crosses in a diagonal, he eats up the stage. His palms and arms are fascinating, stuffed with power, by no means superfluous. Even the best way he tugs his swimsuit jacket is dramatically telling us one thing about his character. ¡Guapo!

Estefanía Ramírez in ‘Cerrando el círculo.’ Picture by Delbis Cardona.

Estefania Ramirez is definitely the queen of this present. She is each co-director of the corporate and a robust dancer. She “owned” the standard Soleá, gracing the emotional tone of the dance-theme of solitude along with her lovely port de bras and emotional expression. I did assume her first costume, a stunning champagne-colored affair with lengthy prepare, appeared nonetheless so cumbersome and stiff she appeared at occasions to be wading by heavy material. She later sprang to freedom with a fancy dress that allow her higher physique soar, whereas her kicky up to date footwear enabled her to clatter away with eye-stopping finesse. ¡La reina!

Granjero takes to the stage once more in dancing an Alegrías, that almost all energetic and, as its title suggests, joyful of types with its marked twelve-beat assaults. It begins slowly. He circles. He stops. A brand new punctuating sample. The dance builds. The person’s nimble footwork drives into the stage like a jackhammer. You assume he’s completed. However no, wave after wave, he punishes the ground after which all of a sudden delicately, his heels after which the ball of his foot show flawless approach – tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tattat-tattat-tattat — all with lightning velocity. Then that gesture once more, the arm bends on the elbow, and with a flick of the wrist, and over the shoulder, he throws all of it away. ¡que bonito!

The finale introduced us a conventional bulerías, the place the corporate types a semi-circle and everybody takes a flip to point out off in pure festive delight, whipped up appreciatively by the others with clapping and shouts. ¡olé!

That is world-class flamenco.

Ángel Muñoz, Trini de la Isla, Juan José Alba (seated), Momi de Cádiz, and Antonio Granjero in ‘Cerrando el círculo.’ Picture by Delbis Cardona.

Beginning November 4, choreographer and dancer Edwin Aparicio brings his DC-based firm to the stage in Flamenco Males, celebrating the masculine power of flamenco. Aparicio has curated your entire pageant that he based eighteen years in the past. It’s a present to our neighborhood along with his aim being “to show as many individuals and plenty of ages to flamenco as attainable.” He at all times brings internationally acknowledged stars of flamenco but additionally spotlights “native American dancers and corporations as a result of we’ve good American flamenco.” Final yr, Aparicio and troupe knocked my socks off along with his radical, autobiographic story of an El Salvadoran immigrant’s journey advised by flamenco. He caught the heart beat of the Hispanic multi-cultural Mount Nice neighborhood by the eyes of a teenage newcomer whereas remaining respectful of the good flamenco custom.

This yr he guarantees to current one thing perhaps much more radical by exploring the masculine power of flamenco. Flamenco Males performs November 4 to six and guarantees so as to add a critical contribution to our society’s present dialog, breaking down the obstacles between conventional female and masculine. In flamenco, the female type focuses on the higher physique whereas the male type careworn machismo footwork. Co-choreographer Sara Jíminez guarantees a shock in this system, pushing the envelope to have fun masculinity from a feminine perspective.

A 3rd occasion, November 10 to 13, provides depth and musical richness to the pageant with Alejandra, in a private tribute by guitarist José Almarcha to his mom.

The pageant continues by November 13 for 3 weeks’ viewing of various corporations performing plus kid-friendly interactive flamenco experiences.

Operating Time for Cerrando el círculo: 90 minutes with out intermission.

The 18th worldwide Fuego Flamenco Pageant will run for 2 extra weeks by November 13, 2022, on the GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Road NW, Washington, DC. Single tickets are $48 Thursday by Sunday; senior (65+), pupil, and navy tickets are $35. For extra data and to buy tickets, name 202-234-7174 or go to

COVID Security: Masks are obligatory. Proof of vaccination or latest adverse COVID-19 take a look at (taken inside 72 hours prior to point out time) is required for all patrons ages 5+.

Unique preview of GALA’s 18th worldwide Fuego Flamenco Pageant (characteristic interview with Abel López, GALA’s affiliate producing director, and Edwin Aparicio, pageant creator and curator, by Gwyneth Sholar, October 28, 2022)



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